Saturday, April 2, 2011

stinky simmers

I love cooking food that stinks up my whole house.  I truly do.  One of my mothers-in-law (I have two; my husband's an alien) told me that all she needs for her kitchen to be perfect is a flawless oven hood - which she hasn't found yet.  She doesn't seem to have anything against the scent of food while it's cooking, although she does frequently have a pot of mulling spices on a back burner when we dine there, but she can't stand smelling the food after she's eaten it.

I love her, but I think that's a little weird.

Right now, if I take a nice deep sniff of my home, I can still smell the winey-leeky-lemony goodness that characterized our dinner: Wheatberry "Paella" with Chickpeas and Leeks, courtesy of

Isn't it pretty?  Can't you smell the savoriness through your screen?  It's what you can't see, though, that I think really pushed this over the edge from tasty to really-darn-good: Turkish Bay Leaves.  I always underestimate their ability to enhance a dish, but they lend this unmistakable smokiness, some kind of tangible earthiness to the dish.

The leeks smelled so good while sauteing that Mister came into the kitchen, sniffing at the air like a bloodhound (or Angst when he thinks he wants my breakfast).  I gave him a slice of roasted red pepper and sent him back to his room :)  By the way - if you ever have a recipe that calls for exactly 2 roasted red peppers and you don't feel like roasting them yourself, find Mt Olive Roasted Peppers - a 12 oz jar has two whole peppers, roasted to perfection and mostly seed-free.  Helpful Hints from Natalie (that's my imaginary by-line in VegNews).  You're welcome.

Isa admits in the recipe that the wheatberries, being all pre-steamed and whatnot, wouldn't soak up alllll the liquid, leaving it a little "saucy" to use her word.  Soupy would be my word, but it might be my fault the wheatberries didn't soak up more broth, since I steamed them about 25% longer than the recipe said to.  Although it makes for a very food-magazine-friendly photo, I was a little worried about how Mister would feel.  He's not a big fan of "sauce" lingering at the bottom of his bowl.

Also, as we sat down to eat, he seemed a little too focused on tasting the food.  Mister is a very fast eater, so whenever he takes his time, I become paranoid that he doesn't like dinner.  I thought I saw him eating around the wheatberries, which I thought might happen - I wasn't sure if they would qualify as "squishy wheat."  If they did, he didn't tell me, and I took it a positive that he followed me to the stove for a second helping.

He did drain off the "sauce," though.

No comments:

Post a Comment