I think our parents invented the phrase “cluged (“cloo-j-ed”) together.” As in– “I had some stale graham crackers and leftover pumpkin so I cluged together a makeshift pumpkin pie….” Or “Uh oh…it’s Halloween at 5 o’clock–here, take this boa and beret–ta da! a cluged together fashionista!” (this is Ilanna, by the way…I think I wore a boa every year and called myself different characters for about ten consecutive Halloweens growing up…)
I had no idea about the origin, and used the phrase all the time growing up–people seemed to get the meaning (hurray for context clues)–but the first time I went to write it down I paused, totally stumped. No one seemed to have any idea how to spell it, even the parents, who did not admit to inventing this word. I think its a mistaken Yiddish-ism, adapted from some relative, but then twisted to fit their meaning somewhere early in marriage.
Regardless, this meal is the definition of cluged together. Perhaps its made of halves and quarters of ingredients I had abandoned in the fridge after other projects, but it is delicious enough to purchase the ingredients specifically for!
Usually when the fridge starts to resemble a forgotten vegetable graveyard, my go-to idea is a stir fry (with an egg on top for protein). Very creative, I know. Today, though, I couldn’t stomach cauliflower + egg (ew), so I riffed on the flavor combination I had originally bought the cauliflower for, but hadn’t worked in the first iteration.
Cauliflower lends itself brilliantly to Indian spices, and this dish is no exception. Although the black beans are not traditional, they similarly absorb the spices, and the tomato acts to glue the whole thing together. It’s spiced without being spicy, warming without being heavy. And who doesn’t like a lunch they can eat with a side of pita chips?!
So, family inventions? Any words or phrases you used growing up without knowing their true origin?
Indian-spiced Cauliflower and Black Beans
serves 1 very hungry person or 2 more dainty eaters
vegan, gluten free
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- half of a cauliflower, broken into florets with hands
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup black beans (about half a can)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup prepared tomato sauce
- healthy handful of pita chips (I love Stacy’s Italian Harvest) (optional)
Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add spices and cauliflower and mix until the cauliflower is gently coated (about a minute). Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover. Simmer at medium-low until the cauliflower is soft and the water’s evaporated, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add beans, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and increase heat to medium high. Heat, uncovered and mixing frequently, for an additional 2-3 minutes, until beans are heated through.
Serve with pita chips.
I’ll be seeing you two later tonight…