Progress and (im)perfection

6 Jan

I woke up with allergy nonsense today: itchy dry eyes, burning throat, the snufflies, and the sleepies. Blech. It’s just about 9:30 in the morning here, and I’m already on my fourth hot beverage of the day (one cup of black tea with honey followed by two mugs of miso soup and now a cup of DeTox tea). They are helping somewhat, but I’m in still in that yucky days that accompanies the sickies. If anyone has good, natural allergy remedies, please let me know. I’m using my neti pot, gargling with salt water, drinking hot liquids and cold water, and putting raw local honey in my tea.

Anyway, despite being sick on top of the awkwardness of settling back into my routine, I’ve been working hard this week to made progress on both sets of goals I mapped out. Here’s how it’s gone so far:

January:

  • 1. a. Cook dinner at home three days a week every week in January. So far, I’ve cooked dinner twice (see details below) and plan to do so again tonight! I’m proud of myself. I love cooking, but the long days make having the energy difficult. Still, the rewards are worth it.
  • That’s it so far, but I have plans for the others.

This Week (things I’ve been putting off):

  • 2. Do more yoga. The night I wrote that post, I went home and did one of my favorite 20-minute podcasts from Yoga Download! It felt incredible. My arms are still a little sore from it today, which is a good thing.

Not a ton of progress, but not bad either for only a couple of days.

Now back to that cooking thang. I can’t tell you how excited we are to have our stuff in our new apartment. Not that it’s all (or even mostly) unpacked yet, but we’re working on it. Slowly.

One thing I was happy to be reunited with was my rice cooker. Not that cooking rice on the stovetop is terribly burdensome, but I like being able to ignore the little cooker and have it not take up real estate on my cooking area. Well, we decided to do a simple, cheap stir fry of mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, onion, broccoli and tofu over brown rice on Tuesday night. My rice cooker is very unsophisticated (it doesn’t have any settings other than cook and warm, so nothing special for different kinds of rice or grains), which means I have to guesstimate how much water to use when I cook up brown rice. Apparently I was rusty. The result was a total disaster. The rice was all waterlogged, and then I stupidly thought to add more rice to soak up the rest. I don’t recommend it. I would have taken a picture, but it was really, really gross. Instead, I had to send Mr. X to the Chinese place up the road to get some precooked rice. Dinner was saved, thankfully, but the rice was one exciting kitchen failure.

The next night, I planned to make my Gnocchi with Arrabbiata Sauce, but X ended up getting booked for a show that filmed later, so he didn’t get home until after 9. I knew better than to make myself wait that long, and when he said they were feeding him dinner on set, I decided to make something I haven’t in a very long time: farinata. Also called socca, it’s kind of a chickpea flour “pizza,” though I use that term loosely. Maybe “pancake” would be more accurate. Anyway, I used to make it all the time in my previous life but haven’t attempted it in over a year. It’s crazy-easy, though, and requires few ingredients, so I gave it a whirl. The result:

Seriously the best one I’ve ever made! Somehow my cheap-o IKEA frying pan has a perfect nonstick coating that made removing the usually sticky result so easy I couldn’t believe it. The spices were spot-on, too, and I devoured every bite after my yoga session. Here are the basics of making farinata:

Basic Farinata

  • 2/3 cup garbanzo flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Spices to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the garbanzo flour and salt (I use Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo/fava flour combination because it’s tasty and also the only kind I’ve ever found in a store) with about 1/4 cup of water until it forms a paste. Slowly add the rest of the water, stirring vigorously with a fork until all the lumps are gone. Cover the bowl with a towel (or whatever) and let it hang out on the counter for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Stir the batter from the bottom and add any spices you want. I like to go Italian with mine and this time threw in dried oregano, nutritional yeast, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Now heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a 12-inch frying pan (make sure it’s oven safe!) over medium or medium-high heat. When warm, pour in the batter. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil. Let it cook for about four minutes or until it’s set. It’s a little like eggs in texture, if that helps, and you don’t want any runniness.

Now stick it under the broiler for about four minutes or until light brown spots begin to appear. Cut into triangles, like a pizza, and serve. Makes enough for one hungry person or two as part of a larger meal.

You can really add any kind of herbs and spices you want to the batter, but I pretty much always use this combination. A generic Italian seasoning is great in place of the oregano, and I suspect herbes de Provence would be great, too.

So while my rice cooking was a total, unequivocal disaster, the next night I managed to make the best farinata of my life. Go figure.

Have you had any major kitchen mishaps or successes lately?

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One Response to “Progress and (im)perfection”

  1. southernpurplevegan January 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Yes I had a mishap with baking spaghetti squah it was overcooked and undercooked at the same time. I wasn’t sure what I did wrong.

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