Desert Driving

I graduated with my bachelors degree in December of 1990. After a driving trip from Columbus, Ohio, to my home in Redondo Beach, California, with my then girlfriend (who is now The Ranting Wife), I set about finding a job. It took me almost three months to find something.

In a previous post, I mentioned how I became friends in high school with Richard, who was quite a bit older than I was but we shared some similar hobbies. In the January after my graduation, Richard, his foster nephew Steve and I decided to go camping in California’s high desert. While there was only three of us, we decided to take both of Richard’s vehicles, an Isuzu Trooper and Suzuki Samurai in order to carry gear.

We set out early one Saturday morning and made our way into the desert. We stopped at the edge of a dry lake bed and decided to have a little fun. I donned an old army helmet and got behind the wheel of the Samurai and Richard was drove the Trooper. We both took off at top speed across the dried mud surface. Communicating with CB radios (Richard was a CB enthusiast and this was before cell phones) we sped across , turned and kept driving (staying on the dried bed). Working the little Samurai up to 80MPH, I blazed a dirt trail. Richard was 100′ behind me and to the side when I saw the ravine coming up quick. It was really nothing more than a small ditch about 2′ across, but I instantly knew there was no way to stop or tun in time.

I hit the ditch at full speed, but as I was going so fast, the front tire almost made the gap. The tires hit the edge and the entire vehicle hopped up into the air and both sets of wheels landed on the other side of the ditch. My head whipped back and the helmet hit the padded roll bar of the vehicle. I quickly stopped the car and just sat there. Richard, having seen the hop, stopped in time and made his way around the ditch. I am sure the suspension was never quite the same, but all Richard could do (once he found out I was OK) was to laugh and laugh.

Mushroom and Spinach Korma

Photo Aug 20, 5 21 27 PM - Featured Size

No ditching this ditch, it’s a keeper!

Photo Aug 20, 4 36 57 PM

My occasional vegetarian meal really has to be tasty for me to make it. This one was.

Photo Aug 20, 4 44 42 PM

Use the food processor to puree the sauce.

Photo Aug 20, 4 55 23 PM

Soften the onions.

Photo Aug 20, 5 03 52 PM

Add the sauce.

Photo Aug 20, 5 13 20 PM

And the shrooms.

Photo Aug 20, 5 19 03 PM

I don’t use coconut milk much, but it works here.

Photo Aug 20, 5 21 19 PM

Creamy, rich and deep flavors.

Mushroom and Spinach Korma

Cook Time: 0 hours 40 minutes | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy


1 1/4 cups basmati rice
1 medium red onion (1/2 roughly chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced)
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby spinach (about 8 cups)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup light coconut milk
Chopped fresh cilantro, for topping


Cook the rice as the label directs. Meanwhile, combine the chopped onion, ginger, tomato, cumin, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 more minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the same pan; add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring, until very thick, about 6 minutes.

Return the mushroom mixture to the pan. Add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a simmer and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the spinach and chickpeas and cook 2 more minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, season with salt and top with cilantro. Serve with the rice.

Per serving: Calories 439; Fat 11 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 580 mg; Carbohydrate 75 g; Fiber 9 g; Protein 14 g


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Indian, kosher, Lunch3, Main Dish 3, Recipes, vegan, Vegetable4, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

2 Comments on “Desert Driving”

  1. December 22, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    What a great story. I’ve been so busy that I barely get a chance to read all my emails but for some reason I took the time to read this one. The recipe also looks delicious so I’m ‘pinning’ this one for future reference. Merry Christmas to you and your ‘ranting’ wife. Carol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: