Saturday, March 12, 2011

wonders never cease

A couple of weeks ago when Mister and I did our speed-shopping at Essene, he misunderstood that I wanted him to fetch brown rice and basmati rice and returned with Brown Basmati rice.  Tonight was the first night I needed to open that bag and use it and it was an interesting experience.  Although brown basmati takes as long, possibly longer to cook than long-grain brown rice, it smells so much better.  I'm not sure of the price difference, but this might be a worthwhile switch for the future, because the only thing I hate more than the huge and unnecessary amount of trouble I have cooking brown rice is how bad it smells.

In fact, the brown basmati rice smelled so good while it was simmering that Mister, who previously was not sure he was hungry but "go ahead and start cooking anyway, I'll probably be hungry by the time it's done," shuffled into the kitchen and decided he was so seduced by the scent that he couldn't wait for dinner to cook, he had to eat a sandwich because he was so hungry now.

I hate it when he does that.  It really drives me crazy when he eats something I consider substantial right before we have dinner.  I keep forgetting the Food Math Mister laid out for me about a week ago:
I figured out that I eat about three times as much as you and twice as fast, so I'll always eat more and be finished first.

With that in mind, I tried to think of his pickle-n-mustard sandwich as an appetizer.  Clearly, it was, since he scarfed down two healthy helpings of dinner as well as half the olives I set out.  What was this magical dinner?

Greek-Style Rice Pilaf from The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook.  I had some serious misgivings about this dish while it was cooking and I will accept at least half the blame for that.  The recipe comes from the Fast, Fast Foods chapter of the book and the largest ingredient is 3 cups of cold, cooked rice.  Although I intended all week to make rice after dinner so that I would have it ready, I failed to do so.  As the weekend approached, I decided as long as I would have the time, I would prefer to cook the rice and then add it to the dish so it was fresh.  I think I underestimated the importance of the rice being precooked and cold.

Because I used freshly boiled rice, it was far more gelatinous that I would have preferred and I started to worry that it was going to resemble something too close to risotto for Mister.  Since you already know the end of the story, you know I needn't have worried, but it really started to look smushy and creamy.

It came out just fine and with just the perfect amount of lemon.  The lemon was extremely willing to give up its juice and because I felt the lemon flavor was way too strong in the chickpea patties I made the other night, I worried it would be overwhelming in this dish as well.  Apparently, I worry way too much - it completely enhanced the vinegary flavor of the artichoke hearts while the sweet green peas played the perfect foil by adding a touch of sugar.  I think the peas also brought out the mellow sweetness of the marjoram I subbed for oregano because I really wish I didn't have to cook with dried oregano ever and I can't wait until the herb garden from my mother blooms so I have fresh oregano.  Maybe then I can stop hating it.

When I put our dinner on the table, someone had taken up Mister's chair as though he was waiting for me to serve him at the table.

He's so good at scowling.  You'd never know how spoiled he is, with his china food and water bowls and leopard print appointed Kitty Cave.

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