Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's never enough...never enough...never enough

So, more about food it is!

Mr K referred to tonight's dinner as "800% make again" - a far cry from the typical enthusiastic "pretty okay" lesser recipes have garnered me. (Before you get to thinking I'm a horrendous cook you should probably know that Mr K actually considers "pretty okay" to be praise of the highest kind...)

So I started with a recipe a friend sent me earlier this week. In the copy below, I noted my first set of changes in italicized type:

Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mujadarrah)

PREP TIME 10 Min
COOK TIME 40 Min
READY IN 50 Min
SERVINGS


6 tablespoons olive oil (I used closer to three and it was more than enough)
1 large white onion, sliced into rings (One and a half small Swiss onions...)
1 1/3 cups uncooked green lentils
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup plain yogurt (optional) (absolutely not optional despite what the original recipe said...)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, and cook about 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from heat, and set aside.
2. Place lentils in a medium saucepan with enough lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes.
3. Stir rice and enough water to cover into the saucepan with the lentils. Season with salt and pepper. Cover saucepan, and continue to simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until rice and lentils are tender.
4. Mix half the onions into the lentil mixture. Top with yogurt or sour cream and remaining onions to serve.


I thought this was a great starting point and I'm sure it would be delicious with no changes made, but I'm just terrible at leaving well enough alone. At step three, I added a pinch of saffron to the pot at the same time I added the rice for just a bit of flavor and color (the color failed to show but the flavor was nice and light). To the yogurt sauce, I added cumin and salt and pepper. I also doubled the amount of yogurt as we're yogurt fiends here.

As the lentils were cooking, I marinated a chicken breast in the other half of the plain yogurt with a bit of za'atar and a little lemon juice. Once the lentils and rice were nearly done, I turned my attention to the rest of the plate. I chopped half a cucumber to be stirred into the lentils and rice because I love a touch of cold veggie stirred into otherwise hot foods. I'm also a huge fan of the combination of yogurt and cucumber. When the lentils and rice had ten minutes left, I chopped up the chicken and sauteed it in the pan I used earlier for the onion (using the leftover onion-frying-oil).

Once everything was done, I plated it up and finished it off with sliced apple in an effort to get a bit more fruit and veggie into us. The sweetness and crispness of the apple turned out to be a really nice contrast to the rest of our dinner.

Now we're pleasantly full and I'm trying to decide if I feel like going to bed early or if I have the energy to do a little painting.

3 comments:

Ars said...

It was super-delicious!

Orionmoon said...

Yummers!

Jen said...

"Before you get to thinking I'm a horrendous cook..."

You're kidding, right? :-)