Sep 4, 2009

Coup or soup ?

Okay..seems like I keep writing only about the recipes which turn out great. Its true for most parts. But not always. I mean what kind of a en experimentalist gets every experiment (after all, that is what I use the kitchen mostly for! EXPERIMENTS) perfect. And its unfair to keep it all under cover. So here are a few of the most outstanding I can remember in my four years of culinary experience.
1. Boiled egg:- Trying to ' boil' an egg in the microwave. This was in the common kitchen of the dorm i lived in.  Need I enumerate on the fiasco, mess and embarrassment that followed?
Quick fix:-Later R suggested a neat trick. Beat 2 eggs, 2 tsp of milk, pinch of salt and pepper in microwave safe     bowl and heat at high for ~ 1.5 mins. The 'thing' comes out fine you know. I use it often is place of scrambled eggs when I am too lazy for anything.
2. Making Rice  :- A perennial problem. I somehow could not get the ratio of water: rice correct. Till a good 2 months back. In trying to make rice in microwave, or the heater, I have burnt not only the rice  but have managed-- on more than one occasion-- to start the smoke alarm in the dorms and my later in my own apartment. Resulted in evacuation of the dorm on a frigid february evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Quick fix: Offered by a friend. Never heeded to, till recently. Take whatever the amount of rice you want and put it in a saucepan. Fill up the entire saucepan with water and place on high heat. After rice is done, strain the excess water. You know what, it has a health benefit. It has less calories.
3. Vegetable for lunch:- Okay this one is the most recent and in my opinion beats it all. I like to have an assortment for lightly boiled veggies for my lunch along with apples, oranges and a small sandwich. Its usually an assortment of beans, carrots, broccoli, etc. Last week I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try a 'new' combination. Eggplants, Celery and Broccoli. I hate Broccoli. I do not like Celery. And whoever has heard of boiled chinese eggplant. I could not eat it beyond two days. Was happy to throw it away yesterday.
Sorry no solution for this one. Except-- NEVER make it :)
But lets end on a short cheerful note. For most of my trials do turn up fine. Soup! With garlic.
Half a cup of red lentil. 
1.5 cups of water
Three whole cloves of garlic-- crushed. If you hate garlic you can always substitute with Thyme or Rosemary. 
A bunch of green onion 
A green bell pepper. You can also use red, orange, yellow-- an assortment of all or some. Its totally up to you.
1 tsp of corn/ vegetable oil
Cilantro, lime wedge, parsley for garnish.
Salt for seasoning.
This is really not a process. Its that simple.

Chop the green onion and the bell pepper. Soak the lentil in half a cup of water. Heat oil in a saucepan. When oil is hot add the mashed garlic in it. Saute till it gives off aroma. If you are using rosemary, thyme or any other herbs,  I would suggest skipping this step. Herb gives off very very strong flavor when sautéed in hot oil, which I don't like. But you know, you can go with it. Just make sure you are not burning the herbs. Terrible. Okay, once the garlic gives off the aroma, add the green onion and bel peppers. saute for a good 2 minutes. lower heat and add the water soaked lentil with the water and let it cook. ~ 5-6 minutes. If you are using herbs, this is when you add the herbs. Add the remaining water. Wait till it bubbles. Season with salt. Garnish with cilantro, lemon wedge , parley,--anything you like. I like Cilantro.
This is a personal favorite. Full of protein, veggies and so aromatic and refreshing.
Happy eating and healthy living

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