Monday, March 21, 2011

captain multi-tasking

If Catherine Zeta-Jones can be Commander of the British Empire, I can be some kind of home-making superhero, can't I?  I feel quite accomplished even if I didn't get everything on my [always excessive] to-do list done.  My secret?  Slow-simmered food.

I slept a little later than I had planned, but once I had two cups of Chocolate Cappuccino coffee in me, I was in and out of the shower and painting my face in preparation for my exciting trips to Essene and CVS.  After loading up on apples and razors (yes, I know I'm early/late for Halloween, but Easter is on its way), I headed home and got to work on my first two projects.

I've never had Muhammara before but I've heard of it and thought it was fascinating.  It kind of looks like red pepper hummus but it's all hopped up with spiciness.  Today, I tested a recipe for UV2, despite my hatred for onions.

Honestly, although the red peppers and onions look very pretty together, this image made my blood run cold.  When I read the recipe, it called for one small onion, so I thought, "How bad can it be? I can handle one little onion."  I didn't realize how big onions got when you diced them - all of a sudden, my little bitty onion was all over the place.

Anyway, part of the charming parts of the recipe and one of the reasons I made it today is that the longer it cooks, the better it is, or so Dynise said in her introduction to the recipe.  While the peppers and onion were sauteing, I was unpacking one of the last boxes and setting up my bathroom.

After about 40 minutes, the onions were finally that magical state of translucent that I've always heard of but never seen since I don't commonly cook onions.  It was pretty neat to see, actually.  Meanwhile, I was industriously emptying a box full of makeup and bandaids and sunscreen and cottonballs and figuring out how to put together the puzzle of my strangely shaped and possibly smaller bathroom.

one of the most esoteric and fabulous ingredients in my cupboard: pomegranate molasses

After letting the peppers and onions swim together in boiling oil for about an hour, I poured the melange into my food processor and covered it with walnuts and pomegranate molasses and a few other things (you need to buy this book!).  I was really looking forward to seeing how a dip that didn't involve beans or anything else I could see holding it together was going to look.

It came out looking exactly like it was supposed to - kind of like red pepper hummus, or maybe Martha's sweet potato hummus, and it didn't taste all too different.  I look at it as a slightly healthier and much spicier hummus.  It had a definite kick to it, thanks to one of the things I sauteed with the peppers and onion being more red pepper flakes than I've ever used in a recipe. 

It was a great accompaniment to our dinner: Bulgur and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale and Olives from The Complete Vegan Cookbook.  When I was at Whole Foods, I was pleased to find red kale, which is a fun color - dark, hunter green with wine-red edges and veins.  I make this dish as often as I remember to because I absolutely love it and the flavors in it, so the way I introduce a little variety is by using different kinds of kale - the first time, I just used regular ol' kale 'cause I didn't know any better (and plain ol' kale is delicious).  The last time I made it, I used lacinto (dinosaur) kale because it's easier to chop, being all not-curly and whatnot.  Also, I think the red kale was a fun addition to the deep purple kalamatas and the creamy red lentils and beige bulgur.  I wish this cookbook had more recipes I enjoyed making, but honestly, this recipe alone is worth the price of the book.

Well, time to clean up and get ready for bed so I can dream of all the fun that awaits me tomorrow through Friday...

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