Jun 5, 2010

Top Chef, Morocco

Today I decided to engage in a culinary experiment. I can't say the results were amazing but they did meet my basic criteria for food: 1) edible and 2) nutritious. Here's my recipe, for anyone who needs a good laugh:

-1 scoop of large green lentils (about 2 1/2 cups?)
-every spice you can locate in your kitchen. 1 tablespoon of each (cumin, paprika, and about 4 other spices I couldn't identify because they were in mysterious unlabeled containers)
-5 cups of water
-1 potatoe
-1 one red onion
-about 10 saudi-style dates, with pits removed
-cooking oil of some kind

First, dice up the onion and put it in a pan on low heat with some oil. Cook until translucent and then put to the side for later.

Then put 5 cups of water in a large pot, along with all the spices you can find, and some salt. bring the water to a low boil, add the lentils, dates, and potatoes, cover, and put on mid-low heat.

After about 15-20 minutes, remove the dates and let them cool on a plate. Then get a knife and start to chop them up into smaller bits. Eventually the dates will transform from strandy bits into a glob of sticky, delicious mush. Add the dates back in and stir in the mush. I discovered the hard way that if the heat is too high, the lentils will begin to stick to the bottom!

Keep the pot a-simmerin' for another 20 minutes or so, checking periodically that you don't need more water and that the lentils aren't sticking. I aimed for a thick, soup-like consistency. Add the onions and then keep cooking until the lentils aren't tough (you can taste periodically to see).

Comments: I've never used green lentils before, and I was disappointed that they taste, well, green. Adding the dates was a great idea, but I don't think they complemented the potatoes. Next time I will choose either dates or potatoes, not both. I thought about adding tomato sauce, but concluded that this would only increase the flavor confusion.

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