Discernably Me!

I enjoy cooking

Alan and Sephanie have been inviting us over for OU away games this year. (They go to the home games.)  It’s always a food fest of some variety; burgers, dogs, chicken, brats, etc.  A few weeks ago, I made some chili colorado for our Sunday Supper group.  It was so easy and such a success that I thought that I would make some carne adobada this time.  I took out our crockpot, started it on high and added a tub of red chile paste.  I cubed up about five pounds of pork loin, rolled it in flour and browned it on two sides.  Arguably the hardest part was handling the hot pan and dumping the meat into the crockpot. Only disturb the pot when you have to, just enough to make sure that the meat isn’t sticking to the sides or burning on the bottom. After two or three hours of heavy simmering, it’s dinner.  Well, it would have been if it was Saturday, but I cooked it on Friday night and refrigerated it.  Fortunately, this is a dish that tastes even better the next day.  Everyone raved about it.  I enjoy cooking.

Sunday Supper was at our house, too.  I didn’t think that I was in the mood to cook.  David had told us that there were more Indian food items at the Value Foods Store than at Homeland or Wal-Mart.  So, I went shopping and found inspirations.  (I also picked up several heat-n-eat meals for Thea.)  They had some Indian sauces in jars that were perfect for vegetables.  We had some lentils at home that we had had since ’04.  All I needed to do was fill out the rest of the menu.  Green beans in curry sauce sounded good.  Braised carrots were easy to make and carrots were cheap.  Rice and dhal would fill that our nicely.  There were also some reduced-fat, whole-wheat Pillsbury biscuits sounded good.  And for an easy dessert, gingerbread cake mixes were on sale and they had a recipe for chewy ginger snaps from the mix.  This all sounded easy and not entirely time consuming.

The yellow dhal went into the crockpot (I’ve been using it quite a bit recently) and we had to guess on the water.  Our research showed that it should be about 3 to 1. So six cups of water went in with the two cups of dhal.  It’s one o’clock and it says it could take from 2 to four hours. It won’t hurt to keep them hot for an hour since dinner is a six. I still have a four-burner range and oven but I need to cook green beans in a pot last, make biscuits last to have them hot out of the oven and get carrots, rice and cookies done.  Cookies will have to be done now. The dough is a little stickier than I like to put my fingers in but it helps to hold sugar in the palm of my left hand and roll a pinch of dough with my right.  (I’ll take a few balls together and make a gingerbread cookie for Lia.)  Two-thirty, lots of time, I’ll get the carrots out of the way and reheat them just in time. (That’s what microwaves are for)  Slice the baby carrots in half where necessary; one package is about one pan’s worth.  Add butter to the medium-high skillet and let the carrots sizzle covered for about ten minutes, stirring once or twice.  When they have a good sear on one side, they’re done.  It’s a little after three but the dhal isn’t cooking right.  Too much water.  I’ll risk adding the remnant cup of green dhal that we’ve had since ’06.  There’s still time enough for it to cook through and absorb the excess water.

Richard’s come over for some video games.  While we play, Thea will take care of the rice.  Alton Brown has influenced our rice cooking.  He does his rice in the oven.  Mostly.  You still boil the water on the range, but after you add the rice to it, you put it in the oven at 375 for an hour or so.  No more burned bottoms or sticky messes; perfect every time (so far).  Richard and I have until about five fifteen to kill and destroy.

The green dhal has absorbed all the water that the yellow didn’t and we’ve even had to add about a half cup of vegetable broth.  I’ve spiced it with five spice and turmeric and white pepper and salt.  The rice is out of the oven, and the carrots are waiting to be reheated.  Time to make the green beans.  I just throw them frozen into the six quart pan with some butter and put a lid on it.  I let that go over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until the green beans are thawed and starting to cook.  Then I add the bottle of Bombay Curry Sauce and let it bubble for  awhile.  The dhal is done and turned off.  It will stay hot on its own.  I need to make the biscuits now.  The oven has been at 375 since we made the cookies and the biscuits are ready to bake out of the tube.  But I don’t want biscuits so much as some type of naan.  So, I’ll fake it by pulling and flattening the biscuits to about twice their normal diameter before cooking.  The green beans are not quite right.  I wanted a ready-made sauce and got soup.  More like a green bean stew.  Well, that’s why we always stock tomato paste in the cabinet.  Since the first ingredient in the sauce was tomato anyway, it won’t even change the flavor much. It does the trick. Time enough left to nuke the carrots, put the flat breads into a basket and get everything to the table.

The rest of the gang is here.  It’s dinner time.  I enjoy cooking.

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