Lentil dreams

I will let my friend Mary Kate tell this story:

This is what happens when you try to make delicious Mediterranean food in a tiny town in the Midwest, with not the best selection of products. After not really cooking for a few months.

First, you see a beautiful recipe with lentils. Then you can’t find the lentils mentioned, and end up with the lentils you can find at the Kroger. You cook, starting to feel trepidation. The lentils do not look like the picture, but hey, there’s still a bunch of steps.

So you persevere. Then you take the eggplant out of the broiler, where they said to put it for an hour. It is glowing. This is not good. Still, you’re not eating the outside. You put in the last of the veg to bake. Luckily the eggplant’s insides look better than its outsides. A minor mishap has you put more red wine vinegar in the lentil mush rather than the eggplant, but you recover. You persevere.

The carrots. Will not. Cook. Note, this was supposed to take an hour and is now well on its way to two. You finally say, whatever! And decide they are done. You’d put the lentil/mush into the oven to keep it warm for a minute, but had just taken it out. A slew of expletives later, you realize you left the fork in them in the oven too. (Burn still hurts four hours later).

You assemble veggie’d mush, plop some eggplant on top, and finish with a dollop/pool of creme fraiche.

By some miracle the result is delicious, but clearly perfect for food gone wrong.

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Deconstructed Caesar salad

A fancy restaurant’s version of a Caesar salad. I think the anchovy saw the limp lettuce and just lost the will to live. How convenient that a brick-sized crouton was there to catch it.

(Thank you to Sarahbeth of the wonderful Yelibelly Chocolates — she politely ate this dish, but she’d like the record to note that she did not make it.)

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Vegan pizza tots

My friend Frances is a vegan and a passionate cook, but even in the lives of great cooks, some failure must come. For example, when a quinoa-and-olive-based recipe for pizza tots results in bland, tooth-breaking nuggets of horror.

“The baked quinoa was like eating sand,” says Frances, and adds, “did I mention that they look like the turds of a dehydrated terrier?”

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Veg dinner

It’s hard catering for large groups. Not only do you have to produce a lot of edible and hot food fast, but then there are people with special requests. You know, like vegetarians, that obscure sect. But this caterer figured out a way around their complicated needs. Instead of coming up with yet another entree, why not just boil some vegetables and drizzle balsamico on them? The drizzle makes fancy.

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Cauliflower Brains

My husband saw this and said: “It looks like the brains of some animal.”

The internet had said this would be good.

No really.

And the stuff I put on the cauliflower, it was genuinely tasty — a marinade of yoghurt and Indian spices and lime. I liked it so much I rolled some potato wedges in it too and put them in the oven. And that was not a bad idea.

But not only does this look a mess, it also makes no sense. The cauliflower is not really roasted. The marinade keeps it from roasting and getting all nutty and delicious. Instead, it’s… boiled. It’s boiled in the oven.

Roasted cauliflower is one of the best things on earth, I think. Boiled cauliflower is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

Here is another shot of this pointless dish. I made curry out of it the next day, and that was good.

crazy roasted cauliflower

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