Last week, my new cookbook finally arrived. Until this point, I had been entertaining myself by trying to learn how to cook brown rice (I refuse to break down and buy a rice cooker until I can cook it in a pot) and futzing around with ad-hoc creations made with beans, lentils and tofu drenched in sesame oil and soy sauce. (Rule of thumb--everything is tasty when drenched in sesame oil and soy sauce. Even tofu). Anyway, cookbook was here so it was time to start working my way through it.
Just to clarify, though my friend did present this as a Julie and Julia type of thing, given that this cookbook contains over 1300 recipes, and since I have a rather time intensive job, and since there is a limit to just how much I can eat, it is reasonable to assume that I will not be really working my way through it. I'm aiming for a bunch of recipes. As of now, I have officially tried one recipe and it is yummy. The various editorial comments--the ones that don't really sound like they would normally appear in a cookbook? Mine.
I halved most of the ingredients below because I only wanted three portions as opposed to the 4-6 is supposed to produce.
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 medium green peppers, cut in strips
2 tsp minced fresh hot chili pepper or ¼ tsp cayenne (optional—but if you leave it out you are either a total loser, a non-enlightened Ashkenazi or some combination thereof)
4 cups canned tomato pulp or drained stewed tomatoes (I used four chopped, fresh tomatoes; I would have used eight for the full recipe—and ½ cup water)
1 pound carrots, cut into thick coins (I didn’t halve this item. I like my carrots. For that matter, I didn't halve the chili pepper either.)
½ tsp salt (I used more and I added random amounts of cumin and turmeric. And perhaps some dried garlic. It’s hard to say. It’s all a blur.)
3-5 cups cooked grain
Heat oil in a 3 quart pot. And sauté onion and peppers until limp or until the onion is starting to burn and need to add the other ingredients even though the peppers aren’t limp yet so that you don’t have to steel wool the damn pot again. Whichever comes first.
Add tomato, carrots and salt (and other spices) bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
If sauce is too liquid, remove cover and boil gently to thicken or remove from heat and stir in 2 to 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast (doesn’t exist here in Israel) as needed, to thicken.
Serve over grain.
They suggested serving a bean accompaniment and a side of yogurt, or alternatively, adding beans to the dish. I went with the latter and added ½ cup white beans and served over (only half fuzzy) ½ cup brown rice. Since I was pretty generous with the chili pepper, after I heated my portion up for lunch, I mixed in a very heaping spoon (about 60 grams) of 5% soft white cheese (g’vina levana). Yum!
As noted above, I halved all of the ingredients apart from the carrots. If I were to make it again, but the full recipe, I would double the carrots. Also, I didn’t need to add the ½ cup water; the chopped tomatoes had enough moisture. Still came out very well.