Journal of the Plague Year 2020: Improvisational Tikka Masala Thing

I forgot to mention that Sheet-Pan Potatoes of the Apocalypse are really good. It’s my first recipe — if you can call it that — and they were great the first day, even better the second.

The monsoons have started, so I’m going to keep rolling with the cooking. Here’s what I’m making now:

Improvisational Tikka Masala Thing

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Wash and trim the following vegetables, and cut them into pieces, accepting that size and doneness will vary, and that’s okay:

4-6 smallish Golden Yukon potatoes

A double-handful of Brussels sprouts

One large yellow onion, cut into eighths

3-4 parsnips, an oft-overlooked but excellent root

Dump these into a Pyrex bowl. Pour olive oil over them, wondering if perhaps you should use an oil with a more neutral flavor. Probably. Whatever.

Add an inch or so of fresh ginger, finely diced. Don’t peel it. That’s for pussies. Don’t peel the potatoes, either. Your mom said the nutrients are in the peel. This is farm wisdom, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Mix everything, and grind some pink sea salt onto it. Add cumin seeds and cardamom pods. You might want to peel the cardamom first. I didn’t.

Spread the mixed vegetables in a single layer on a sheet pan, and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Stir, then douse the whole thing in Tikka Masala sauce from a jar. I used Maya Kaimal brand, from my beloved food co-op.

Bake for another 15 minutes. Take it out and check the potatoes and parsnips. If they’re still not tender, stir, add some more sauce, and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Check again. If some items are still crisp, cut them a lot smaller next time. Bake until everything is tender and caramelized, or until you can’t stand it anymore.

tikka masala sheet-pan veggies
The fresh ginger is the best part.

Serve on a hand-painted plate that you bought at the swap meet on the Tohono O’dham reservation.

Think that you’ll almost certainly visit Paris someday, though perhaps not for several years. Maybe when you’re 60.

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