Friday, March 25, 2011

creative cooking part 2

Alternate title: When Bulgur = Brown Rice and Bake = Saute.

I'm glad I'm comfortable enough in my cooking skin now to deviate from the tyranny of the recipe.  I'm normally a pretty By-the-Book kinda gal, mainly because I figure if someone took the time to write it down, I should probably at least try it their way.  However, if I insisted on cooking "by the book" this week, we would have been SoL for at least three dinners...out of six, that's pretty significant.

Tonight I made the only think left on the menu (there is one more "slot" but it says "Go Out or Improv." Considering how much I've already improv-ed this week, I'm leaning toward a date...).

Curried Bulgur Casserole with Chickpeas from The Complete Vegan Cookbook is something I've made twice before, both times to mixed results.  I try to learn from my "mistakes" and I had to do some things differently this time because of ingredient issues, so the first change I made was that I cooked up some brown rice in place of the bulgur, since I used the bulgur for this recipe two nights ago.  It actually came out pretty nicely, with a slightly more substantial texture than that which was achieved by the bulgur the first two times.

The second thing I did differently was to simply cook the whole "casserole" stovetop, rather than baking it for 20 minutes.  This was due to a few things - for one, I fear baking brown rice.  It just doesn't go well for me, and I was having so much success boiling it, I didn't want to ruin things.  Also, it seemed like an unnecessary step that would only prolong the dinner-making process.  It's a good thing to keep in mind for make-ahead dinner, but if you're putting it together fresh, there's really not much reason to bake it as far as I'm concerned.

Finally, I remembered in my review of the other two times I made this that I was disappointed in the flavor - despite the prominent presence of my favorite curry powder and despite smelling delightful, when I tasted this about minute before it was finished cooking, I was astonished at how little taste there was.  The recipe judiciously calls for a very small amount of salt - 1/4 tsp.  In my world, that is far too little and I'm sure Mister would agree.  I have decided that the correct amount is closer to a full teaspoon and it will remain there until salt becomes an issue for Mister or me.

Tomorrow will either be super boring or really fun, so hopefully you'll check back to see what dinner ends up being - I'm not completely sure yet myself!

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