Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dorky dilemmas, tofu firsts and the rice that had potential.

     What with the rain, school work and job-related stresses among other things, the past few days have been less than enthralling, to say the least.  Let me just vent a little, just a bit.  Distant Worlds, the elaborate concert world-tour featuring music from the Final Fantasy series is a magical, MAGICAL thing, and it's seriously been a life dream of mine to see it.  Well, it's coming to the Meyerhoff Symphony hall here in Baltimore, which is a VERY big deal.  Only problem is that it just HAS to be July 30th, which is the Saturday of Otakon.  If you know me, you know that this is both the best and worst thing that could possibly happen. 
     It's good because it ties perfectly into 'kon, ESPECIALLY if I bust out the Aerith Gainsborough cosplay again (yes, I am that type of loser).  But Saturday night is one of the best parts of the entire convention.  Yes, I would probably only miss about five hours of the weekend if I attended Distant Worlds (the Meyerhoff is only about a mile away from the convention center), but that could potentially be a very important few hours.  I really don't think I can pass up this opportunity, though.  I'm pretty sure I can make it work.  It would be TORTURE knowing that show was going on so close with me not at it, especially under the nerdy circumstances.  Hmm..

     So, there's my nerdy problem.  Back to food.  Let me first just share with you a few of my favorite things, and some of the things helping to keep me sane these days:
Trader Joe's jasmine green tea in my favorite giant mug (which just so happens to depict the logo of my favorite roller coaster in the world).  On my favorite bed-side table..thing.  Oh, and some Alba Botanica moisturizer in the background. There you have it.

     Anyway, a few nights ago I went ahead and put together some more impromptu dahl.  It was pretty good, and it looked like this:
Aaaand a rather unclear depiction of what went into it (the cilantro was mostly for a little bit of color variation, as it obviously added no flavor whatsoever.
And some toasted almonds, crushed up with some mint, sesame seeds and black peppercorns-
Despite using the coconut milk, the dahl actually came out somewhat drier than when I've skipped it.  Weird. 

     I can't remember what day this was, but this sandwich was friggin' good.  I tried, for the first time, both smoked tofu (SoyBoy) and Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 bread, which comes frozen and is rather pricey, probably the reason I haven't yet tried it.  I got the sesame variety, and it's really tasty.  I might have to start grabbing this stuff more often.  Anyway, in between two toasted pieces of the yummy bread went some of the tofu (grilled), avocado, fresh dill and some goddess dressing, which I skimped on so much that it was more or less undetectable.  I've been craving the sandwich ever since. 
The tofu is hiding somewhat, but yeah. 

     And I guess that brings us to yesterday.  There's a recipe in my "I Heart Trader Joe's" cookbook for Mushroom Hazelnut Rice that I'd wanted to try since I got it for Christmas.  There's no photo in the book, but I had this imagine in my head of this fluffy, not-too-wet, bright bowl of rice with beautiful bits of earthy mushrooms and hazelnuts, all brightened up with lemon zest.  These, you see, are the ingredients.  It sounded and looked irresistible in my hungry imagination. 
     Well, I finally got to Wegmans (where I could buy a small amount of hazelnuts and white rice just for this recipe without breaking the bank, because, ya know, those things are so expensive, right?), and thus got around to trying out this dreamy recipe. 
     My first mistake might have been cooking the white rice (I always cook with brown, but chose white for the bright color) in mushroom broth, which I'd never used before. (
), and while its taste was earthy and nice, it gave the bright, long-grain rice a sort of sad and grayish color.  Boo.  My next mistake may or may night have been using the rice cooker, which I suspect made it a bit too gummy and not at all fluffy.  I was sad.  And then I didn't have an entire lemon to zest (or, rather, I didn't wanna steal the zest from and ruin a whole new lemon when I already had a perfectly good...half), so the flavor wasn't quite bright enough.  In the end, I think the mushrooms and hazelnuts, all nicely sauteed, would have been a little more satisfying without the tasty yet depressing-looking rice.  Next time, I'll use a less dark, cloudy broth and cook the rice differently, probably.
I had the finished product with some grilled white eggplant (also a first for me).  Interestingly, last night might have actually been the first time I've EVER put so much lemon juice on something that I didn't even want to eat it, but to be fair to my lemon-juice-obsession, I don't think the eggplant had much potential with or without it.  The highlight of the meal, though, was definitely the awesome little salad I made with some a summery-tasting tomato, avocado, dill, garlic and some sheeps' milk feta I found for cheapz at Whole Foods.  Almost an oxymoron, I know.  It was delicious, though.
     So, that's that.  Until next time!  I don't mind comments, by the way : )

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