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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

During my three-plus weeks on a plant-based diet, Iíve learned some new things about cooking, and some of them have nothing to do with the diet itself, but instead come from (a) reading directions that are just the slightest bit vague, and (2) having to interpret them.

Hereís an example. When youíre cutting down a recipe that claims to serve six (I donít know six people who would show up to eat my cooking, especially lately), itís fine to cut the basic ingredients in half (three is enough), but when youíre making the sauce (if thereís sauce), donít cut anything, especially the liquids. If you do, you donít get half the sauce. You get sauce with half the flavor.

The reason I didnít learn this before, I think, is that I always shied away from complicated recipes. If it had more than five ingredients, I thought twice. If it had more than seven or eight, I turned the page. Now, because Iíve been trying to follow the menu plan in the book as closely as possible during the trial period, Iíve been branching out and trying more new things. So: Iíve learned.

Iíve also learned how to pronounce ďquinoa.Ē It says it right there on the label: Say ďKEEN-wah.Ē Although, when it was a clue on Jeopardy earlier this week, Alex Trebek pronounced it that way and also gave the pronunciation Iíve been using, in my previous ignorance: ďkwi-NO-ah.Ē However you say it, I just hope it keeps as well as cooked rice, because it cooks up big and fluffy and there was an awful lot left over when I made it tonight. Iím sure itíll be fine. Itís the holy grain of the Incan warriors, you know. (Thatís straight from the book.)

29 April 2009

Dappled morning shadows on the fence.

Quinoa cooks way up in volume, and kale cooks way down. Thereís something else Iím working on: learning to love dark greens, which are a major part of the diet because of their nutrient value. Apparently theyíre natureís perfect food (and not beer, as I previously believed). I think I could like kale. Iíd never had it before tonight, and it has a very rich flavor and texture that I could get used to.

Iíll have to remember to use less water the next time I cook kale, though. The recipe said a quarter cup, and a quarter cup would have been enough. I used more and had to boil away the excess, which probably also boiled away some of the flavor. Oh, well. Live and learn, I suppose.

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Giants 9, Dodgers 4. I wonder if the other pitchers get jealous. The Giants always struggle scoring runs, yet tonight they put up seven in seven innings for Tim Lincecum, the reigning Cy Young winner who has been all but untouchable since his first two starts of the season. All Lincecum did was shut the Dodgers out through seven. The offense came mostly from what the Giants call their ďground game,Ē singles through the infield and situational hitting, but they also got two big blows, a two-run triple in the first and a leadoff home run in the seventh, from Bengie Molina. Lincecum weakened in the eighth, and before it was over the Dodgers and Giants had traded run-scoring innings against each otherís bullpens, but it was the Giants who nailed down the game and the series.

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