New legume experiment, take 1: split peas.

May 11, 2009

Nothing to report from tonight, because we had taco salads and there was absolutely nothing remarkable about it. I was going to try to replicate this cilantro-lime vinaigrette that I like at Texas Star, but after going through the trouble of finding all of the pieces to the mini food-processor and cleaning each one lovingly, I threw the cilantro in there and started the process of processing only to remember that, oh yeah, the reason the pieces are all over the kitchen is that it doesn’t work.

So, ultimately, that was a bust. But the cilantro added a nice kick to the salad, anyway.

Last night, I had an event at work that started at 9pm. Which, as we all know, is my usual bedtime. So, I had to figure something out for dinner that 1) involved some of the beans I just bought because we don’t have room for them in the kitchen and 2) would hold me over much longer than usual. Enter Indian lemon rice and roasted curry cauliflower.

lemon rice and roasted cauliflower

and it was all yellow

We had a chili cookoff at work a few weeks or months ago, and one of the dishes that was entered in the contest was this awesome rice with yellow split peas and turmeric and peanuts. I picked up some split peas on a whim on Saturday, so I decided to go for it. It turned out well, though it wasn’t nearly as delicious as the original, so there’s some tweaking that needs to be done. I did some research and sort of based this on this recipe, but mostly I used it as inspiration because I lacked a number of the ingredients and had to make do. Although I’m thinking maybe it was the mustard seed that was missing.

Lemon Rice

ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup dried yellow split peas (channa dal), rinsed and picked over for stones and gross bits
  • 1/4 cup of peanuts or cashews (peanuts are cheaper, but, obviously, they’ve been implicated in a number of disgusting salmonella incidents, so, take your pick)
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 1/4 t curry powder

instructions:

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. I used Lundberg Farms California Brown Basmati, which is probably the best brown rice I’ve ever had. Against all odds, it has flavor.
  2. Cook split peas at a low simmer with at least three times as much water for 45 minutes. Drain.
  3. When rice is done, chop peanuts or cashews and toast them in a dry pan over medium heat. When they’re fragrant, stir them into the rice.
  4. Add oil to the pan and crank up the heat to medium-high. Add the split peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until they get crispy. Don’t stir too often or they’ll get mushy. After about five minutes in the pan, add the spices and continue to cook until everything has a nice crust.
  5. Combine rice and split peas. Stir a few times, but again, not too much. Because then the rice gets sticky.
  6. Add about 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Stir again. Remove from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.

I think I’m going to try the mustard seeds next time. I remember the one I tried having little seeds in it. I guess I could ask the person who made it, but where’s the challenge in that?


Easter soup

April 12, 2009

Um. So. Yeah. Let’s just call last week my spring break from blogging. Because, honestly, I can’t remember if I cooked anything. There was the whole Carolina winning the national championship thing, and that called for pizza, and then I had a really stressful week, which triggered my fatigue, which called for going out to eat a few times, and then we had to do laundry, and we went to see Adventureland, and then yesterday was Saturday and so I obviously had to lie around and read and eat pizza.

Enough excuses. The good news is that I actually cooked tonight, and I even made up the recipe.

curried vegetable and lentil soup

curried vegetable and lentil soup

I came up with this in a state of semi-consciousness as I was waking up from a nap. I had a ton of vegetables to use up, and some curry paste in the cupboard, so I came up with this.

Indgredients:

  • Glug of olive or other vegetable oi
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T mild curry paste
  • 2 1/2 cups water, separated
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 head worth of cauliflower florets (thumbnail-sized)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 4 oz frozen cut spinach

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Toss in onion and carrot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add 1 1/2 T mild curry paste (I used Patak’s) and 2 cups of water, broth, and can of tomatoes. Heat through, about 2 minutes
  4. Rinse lentils and add to the pot. Crank up the heat to medium-high until the whole thing comes to a low boil. Cover and reduce heat to a hard simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover and add 1/2 cup water, green beans, and spinach. Let the pot get back to a simmer and then stir in cauliflower. Cover and cook over medium-low for about 10 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more curry paste if needed.

I think it probably made 6 or 7 small bowls worth of soup. I had 2. They were delicious.

I also found this picture in the camera, proving that I did cook at one point last week.

barley salad with roasted cauliflower and asparagus

barley salad with roasted cauliflower and asparagus

I threw this together after the gym on Friday night. I just roasted the veggies at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, shaking once. While the veggies were roasting, I cooked some quick barley, and then when everything was done, I made a red wine vinaigrette, and then tossed everything together. I liked it, but I guess it was a little bland for Matt’s taste. I think what he said was, “Maybe there’s so much flavor, that my brain is registering it as no flavor.” Shaky logic, there.


I like to make curry.

March 22, 2009

In Seattle, it seemed like half of the restaurants I went to had some kind of vegetable curry on the menu. Something else always won out when it came time to order, but I’ve been thinking about curry since then.

After a very glamorous day of doing things like grocery shopping and taxes and not cleaning the bathroom, I decided to make my curry dream a reality. I turned to my favorite recipe source – Heidi Swanson. I had almost everything for this curry, so I went for it.

cashew-less cashew curry

cashew-less cashew curry with brown basmati rice

The only cashews I have on hand have been in the refrigerator for over a year and apparently nuts go bad so I wasn’t willing to take that risk. I just subbed in a bunch of extra tofu, cauliflower, and green beans.

This was so easy, and while I thought it lacked some depth, Matt said it had good flavor and good heat, so who am I to judge? Although, to be fair, he’s under the influence of cold medicine and this movie, so I’m not sure he’s to be trusted.

On that note, I think it’s time for me to hit publish and exit the living room. Sun Ra is really starting to freak me out.


Why do I do this?

February 13, 2009

I guess I accidentally took the week off blogging, too. I was busy, and tired, and boring, but here’s some food:

pasta with cauliflower

pasta with cauliflower

Okay, so, the main problem with forgetting to post to your cooking blog is that you forget the details of the cooking. I’m fairly sure that what I did here was to cook a bunch of cauliflower in boiling water and then throw it into a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Then I cooked some penne and threw it in there as well, with some crushed red pepper and maybe some vegetable broth? And then a bunch of parm and some breadcrumbs went on top and I broiled it for a few minutes. Broiling may have been ill-advised, as the breadcrumbs got a little too crispy. Or, burned. I still plan to do this again next time I have random leftover vegetables and a half a box of pasta lying around. So, you know, tomorrow.

And then there was some stir fry with peanut sauce (peanut butter, soy sauce, a splash of rice vinegar, crushed red pepper, and a little hot water to thin it, all in varying proportions that I can in no way recreate because I honestly have no idea).

brown rice and broccoli/red pepper/carrot/tofu stir fry

brown rice and broccoli/red pepper/carrot/tofu stir fry

Next time I’ll try to measure the sauce ingredients, because this one was good.

And that brings us to today, where I ruined my appetite eating brownies and trail mix and ended up making this soup at 9:00 because I felt like I needed something to eat that had a color and some nutrients.

collard green, potato, and black-eyed pea stew

collard green, potato, and black-eyed pea stew

This was from my newest issue of Clean Eating, and it was awesome. This is why I like magazines. I don’t know that I ever would have thought to put these foods together and make a soup out of them.

Also, magazines are shiny.

The only issue I really ran into was with the collards I bought. Apparently “organic” also means “totally sucky” because these were the best I could find, but they still required some seriously careful inspection and butchering to slice out the gross parts. So, while the recipe called for 8 cups of chopped collards, I probably ended up with about 2. But at least I’ll live to tell about it rather, you know?

Also, Matt has made me several cupcake bowls over the course of the week – bowls of vanilla ice cream with cupcakes on top.

You want one now, don’t you?


Oops

February 5, 2009

I forgot to blog again. Sorry. I’ve been so preoccupied with getting sick (college towns are gross and germy) and then having to deal with the fact that my hair has crossed that incredibly fine line between just long enough and too long, and now it keeps getting stuck under the shoulder strap of my work bag and it’s just so annoying and I have to yank it from under the strap and it’s painful and time-consuming, etc.

Clearly, it is past my bedtime. But you know what I’m talking about with the hair thing, right?

Last night we had this soup, which I credit with my full recovery from whatever illness I picked up.

soup, salad, crackers

soup, salad, crackers

This made a lot of soup. A lot. I even took some to work for lunch today, which was A HORRIBLE MISTAKE as it semi-exploded in the microwave and I had to clean it up and then I burned the better part of my mouth, throat, and esophagus eating it. And then my spoon broke, but I was short on time and I was shoveling couscous soup in my mouth with the broken bowl of my spoon and… I should have had a peanut butter sandwich.

After work, we went shopping for dishes to round out our wedding registry set, courtesy of my awesome aunt who both shares and supports my dish habit (thanks again!).

While we were at the mall, I may or may not have also ruined my appetite shoving as many Trolli Strawberry Puffs in my mouth at one time as I could. Luckily, I have a lot of training in this kind of thing, so I soldiered on and made this tasty frittata with our leftover broccoli.

broccoli & cheddar frittata

broccoli & cheddar frittata

I was going to post the recipe, but, let’s face it: I’ve already stopped making sense. It’s pretty easy. I’ll try to post it another time.

But not tomorrow, because I’m going out.


P(r)esto

December 3, 2008

I was planning to do some yoga after work, but I was so hungry that it was just out of the question. I cut through the initial pain with a ginger snap, but it just didn’t take. So, I decided to just go ahead and cook. I planned to make pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto from Eat, Drink, and be Vegan, but apparently I tossed out some of the ingredients during the great mouse cleaning of November 2008. Sad.

Never fear, though, because I had the presence of mind to buy some regular old jarred pesto, so I built my dinner around that. I’ve actually never bought jarred pesto before, and it may be bad that I tried it out, because I basically could have eaten it with a spoon. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Instead, I made this:

img_18011

I just cooked some rotini and some frozen broccoli and cauliflower in a big pot for about 15 minutes, then drained and added a few tablespoons of pesto. I stirred it up, and there was dinner.

Another fifteen minute meal. I think it’s time for me to get my own show. For the record, I think I could have also made my own pesto while the pasta and veggies cooked and still made it in under the fifteen minute mark.


Curry up

November 1, 2008

Clever, right?

Tonight we had Cauliflower and Potato Curry from Vegetarian Times. Five stars for this one. I kept going back to the pot. Now I might explode.

The recipe was really easy, and I mostly stuck to it. I didn’t measure my cauliflower, because that seemed like nonsense, and I didn’t put in a cup of peas, because I hate peas.

I’m so excited to fall back. Seriously, it’s like someone is giving me a present. I need to grade, clean, do laundry, get groceries, and run tomorrow. But, hey, I’ll get to do it all on an extra hour of sleep.