Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 33 - Warm Lentils with Mushrooms and Brown Basmati Rice

It's dinner with Marcy again, and I found another veggie dish that I know will make her happy.

Warm Lentils with Mushrooms (p. 399)

I have to say, this doesn't seem like it should be that hard, but it's pretty labor-intensive. I was hanging out with my friend, Tracy Christensen, while I made this, and I felt like I was working pretty much the whole time. I could have saved a step or two by buying sliced cremini mushrooms, which I would have done, but they didn't have them at Whole Foods today.

The Le Puy lentils get cooked with all these delicious herbs and carrots and dried mushrooms, then the creminis get sautéed with minced garlic and shallot, and then you make a vinaigrette at the end to pour over it all. I like these baby French lentils. They're smaller than the soup variety, and they have a tighter, chewier texture, i.e. they don't break down in the same way that the other ones do.

The vinaigrette was a little nerve-wracking, as you're supposed to deglaze the pan with two tablespoons of red wine vinegar but not let it boil down. So you literally have 10 seconds to deglaze. Ha ha ha - not really possible, Martha. Once that vinegar hits the pan, it's practically vapor immediately.

The dish tastes great, but I have to say, to me it tasted overly salty. The salt amounts in this recipe are specific throughout, unlike the majority of recipes where it says "add salt to taste." I was surprised how generous the salt amounts were... Marcy, who is sensitive to salt taste, said it didn't register for her as high, but I think she was being generous because I love salt, and this was too much, even for me.

Want to hear something funny? I craved the flavor of lemon here. After a month of silently griping about there always being lemon in this, lemon in that, I think I've come to appreciate the brightness of the flavor. And it would have been just the right thing to complement the salt....

Jeff: A
Martha: B+
(for too much salt)

Brown Basmati Rice (p. 412)

This is the first grain that didn't cook up well according to Martha's instructions. I'm partly to blame, because I didn't check on the rice when I took it off the heat. I didn't want to spoil the steam effect by opening the pot, I just trusted that the timings were right. But now I realize that taking a peek is essential. When I opened the pot to serve the rice, it was sitting in a 1/4 inch of water. Boooo. I was able to grab a layer of cooked rice off the top and serve it, but it wasn't a magical Martha grain experience, as I've become accustomed to...

Jeff: B (for not checking)
Martha: A- (for questionable timings)

Until we eat again....

Marcy loves her lentils!

No comments:

Post a Comment