What Else I’ve Been Making

I haven’t posted as much this past week as I’ve cooked, for a couple different reasons. I cooked another cabbage dal, and though it was really good, I’m not sure anyone else would see it as very different from the cabbage dal I put up recently. I made black beans & curtido and vegetarian chili again last week and over the weekend, both things I’ve already posted up here, and additionally, one night I made polenta (already posted) and grilled radicchio (not a hit with Michael or me), so that didn’t go up.

I tried to make a chickpea flour polenta the same night I made the traditional polenta (I figured I might need a backup on the chickpea polenta), and it took just forever to get thick – we’re talking an hour and a half here – and it didn’t taste like much when it got done. The ingredients were just chickpea flour, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper, so you can see why it might be a recipe that would take some perfecting of the balance of ingredients. It didn’t taste at all like the tender, toothsome, nutty, complex chickpea polenta I had at D’Asaro recently, but then, I haven’t even tried to broil it yet. I think it might be better to toast the chickpea flour ahead of time (you do that in some Indian recipes) to get a better flavor out of it when it’s done. Of course, heating it destroys some of its thickening power, too, so there’s that to account for in deciding the proportions. At any rate, my finished product looked too wet even when it was completely thickened to tolerate slicing and broiling. It’s still in the fridge, though, so I can give it a shot – and if worst comes to worst, I throw away about a pound of chickpea flour. Cheap. We’re not talking truffles here.

The same night I made the polenta and chickpea polenta and grilled radicchio, I made a little chickpea salad (previously prepared chickpeas, garlic, spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper, no big deal) and some roasted carrots. Actually, I forgot about the carrots. I put them back in the oven because they needed a few more minutes, then turned the oven off a little while later, thinking they’d finish cooking with the residual heat, and forgot all about them. I assumed Michael had put them away when he packed up the food later that night. So the next night I went to make some garlic bread (I was making a lentil-spinach salad to put on top of whole-wheat spaghetti – it was basically just cooked lentils with a pile of raw spinach tossed in to wilt, some salt and pepper and parsley – a totally low-key dinner) and some time after I had turned the oven to preheat at “Broil,” I came into the kitchen and smelled smoke. Yep. I flung the oven open and found inside a glass baking pan of pretty spectacularly carbonized carrots. Oh well. My wonderful husband didn’t even complain about scrubbing the pan. I think he soaked it at least overnight first.

Again, even good cooks smoke the carrots sometime.


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