Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dahl win.

     So, one of my goals for this year was to experiment with dahl.  If by chance you don't know what dahl is, it's a popular Indian dish made of mashed lentils, spices, and other good stuff.  My Grandmom used to make really good split pea soup, and my mom makes really good split pea soup, but those things are unrelated.  Sort of.
     Actually, no.  It's this really good split pea soup that has always made me think that I probably, in fact, like split lentils.  I've never really worked with them, myself. But I've come across so many recipes for dahl in the past, and it's always looked really good to me, if only a couple of the usual ingredients know, not there.  I've got a good recipe for dahl with tomatoes, but I don't really  like cooked tomatoes. I also am not a huge fan of onions, or some of the spices recipes usually suggest.  So I figured I'd make up my own dahl.
     I wasn't aware that red split lentils cook EXTREMELY quickly, right into a nice, thick mush.  And I mean this in the nicest of ways, I assure you.  I actually cooked the peas in my rice cooker with some garlic.  Into the lovely orange mush I threw in cayenne, cumin (which I'm not a giant fan of, but thought it'd be appropriate), powdered ginger (not something I use often at all), sesame seeds, powdered cardamom and lots of lime juice.  I planned to add some coconut milk, but had forgotten to leave just a little in the can when I made my (also a goal) coconut rice pudding, and I didn't feel like opening a whole new can. 
     Long story short, this stuff was awesome.  Like..really good.  Even my boyfriend, who doesn't have the most cultural of palettes to say the least, went into the kitchen to grab his own bowl.  And, no surprise here, a smallish serving it was really nicely filling. Great success!

     The coconut rice pudding, on the other hand, not so much.  It wasn't bad by any means, but I sort of used brown basmati rice instead of jasmine short-grain, which made it a little too...toothsome. I hate that word, by the way.  I DID, however, throw in a jasmine tea bag while it was simmering, to fill the jasmine-y void in my psyche!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One of those days. But worse. Yay, tea.

     I'm having a really bad, crappy day.  One of those super-contemplative, "I really need to make some big changes but for now I just wanna mope and sniffle" days.  Things are less than ideal work-wise, I'm stressing about school in a big way, and on top of everything else, I got the biggest laptop cock-tease today. 
     It's the second time I've had to have the computer shipped away to Asus.  I finally got the call today, after weeks, that it was ready to pick up from the GeekSquad people.  Ten minutes after confirming by phone that the computer would ACTUALLY work (they replaced the motherboard this time), the boy calls me back to say that actually, no, I won't be getting it back yet.  They've found more problems, something about drivers and the mousepad.'s getting shipped away. AGAIN. Expedited, he said, but it will still probably be over a week.  If this happens one more time, I had better be receiving a new computer. 

     For now, I'm just trying to calm my nerves.  Tonight is free, and so it tomorrow, but I can't shake this stressyness.  My boyfriend being sweet to me, this YamaMotoYama Jasmine Tea, and some free time to get creative with these vegetables in the fridge are my only saving graces right now.  And perhaps Teen Mom 2. 
     On the subject of these veggies, maybe one of you can help me-
     I've got this eggplant, see, and I like roasting eggplant, a lot.  But I can never seem to get that perfect, browned, mushy consistency that I find at, say, Bertucci's.  Granted, I don't have a brick oven.  I've tried all sorts of ways.  Tried in foil, not in foil, grilled first, salted, not salted, lots of oil, not get the point.  I'm stumped. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ow- french onion soup and my eyes

     So it turns out, I think, that my eyes are even more sensitive than those of a normal human being when it comes to cutting up onions.  They do not, DO NOT like it.  Tonight I'm trying out a french onion soup recipe from one of my brilliant British vegetarian cookbooks, and this is a big deal, because I don't think I've ever actually made soup before.  I'm excited.  The onions are cookin' up right now, and I hope this shit's delicious!
     I think I might also try out a recipe tonight for this "creamy omelette" in a different BBVCB (my new abbreviation), because it's super-easy and has protein, and all that good stuff.  The thing is, I don't really like eggs.  I all.  I've more or less avoided them my entire life.  But lately I've been trying to forge a friendship with them for the sake of limited time in the morning, and my body's levels of protein and iron. We'll see.
     So, the coconut?  It was basically wasted on a fail-recipe. Let's just leave it at that.  And also, I think I was wrong, yet AGAIN, about my mystery root vegetable.  Boo.

     UPDATE: 4/1/11- Before I forget, the soup turned out pretty well.  I forgot to mention that I don't really even like onions, but the flavors came together nicely.  I threw in some croutons I made with Trader Joe's Quinoa Bread (try it!).  The omelette...not so much.  I think I'm just gonna stick to my occasional egg-for-iron routine, for now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainy day coconut conundrum

     Today is pretty blah.  No school, no work. And while this is greatly appreciated, and even though I should be doing homework, I'm feeling that boredom feeling where you know you're bored because you're not doing anything, but you don't actually FEEL like doing anything.  Usually, this would be when I cook up something crazy and ambitious and possibly hyper-healthy.  Problem is, I'm not freakin' hungry! What's that about..
     Also, I've got this coconut.  I bought it because it was 99 cents at H-mart.  It's just been sitting on the dining room table for a week waiting to be turned into something awesome, yet I've done nothing. Tonight should probably be the night for this coconut to try at glory.  I'm thinking about trying to put together some kind of rice pudding with it, but I'm really lazy right now, sooo...anyway..
     By the way, the falafel came out...well, like I told my Dad when he asked, "fal-AWFUL." Then I proceeded to laugh like a maniac.  I took way too much creative license with this pretty simple food, especially since it was my first time both cooking and eating it.  Lesson learned.  Example- I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand other than some dried mint, so I used spinach instead.  And I threw some chestnuts in the mix, among some other unlikely ingredients.  Plus I baked them.  Really, if they hadn't come out so dry, they would have been pretty alright. 

     I should mention that my laptop, finally, was sent back to Asus yesterday and hopefully it'll be back in with me within a couple of weeks, FIXED.  This means that I can post more often, post BETTER posts, and actually include more of my own photos.  This is very important. If anybody was wondering (which nobody was, because nobody reads this but me), that is the explanation for my stark lack of visuals.

     Good luck, coconut..

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Falafel virginity

     I think that today, I am breaking mine. 

     It's true, I've never actually had falafel. As a long-time [mostly] vegetarian and part-time vegan, this seems pretty strange to me.  But there you have it.  However, I've always really WANTED to try it, and it's always seemed simple enough to make.  The only problem is that I'm not too big on frying stuff.  Sooo..I'm gonna bake it.  And omit some ingredients, either because I don't have them or because I don't like them.

     I bought some pita rounds at Trader Joe's yesterday with the intention [and craving] to eat them with babaganouj, buuut seeing as how they had no eggplants in stock, they will now be dedicated to some falafel-y adventures.