It Was Bound to Happen

Tonight was like my personal kitchen Armageddon.  Really.

We’ve been out of town the last couple of days attending my high school reunion.  That means that pickings are slim in the pantry.  I figured that this would be a good time to try out the red lentils I bought a couple of weeks ago.  The green lentils have been a hit, I figured, so these might be a nice addition to our repertoire.

The recipe I chose was an Indian dal.  Having learned my lesson with the (almost non-existent) red pepper flakes with my galettes, I kept out any semblance of heat.  That kept the ingredient list pretty simple — butter, onions, garlic, tumeric, salt, red lentils, and water.  You finish it off with a little unsweetened coconut milk, some toasted mustard seeds and shallots, and there you go.  Dinner.

Not so much.  She-Who-Hums decided she wanted to cook something too.  I want to encourage cooking and eating with her, so I said yeah.  That was probably a mistake after a hectic day to start with, but it seemed simple — “fried” chicken.  In reality it was a baked, encrusted chicken breast.  I didn’t have to do much as I had her to most of it.  But its never that simple, because she had lots of questions.  Lots.  That’s not so good for the concentration.

That led to the first big problem.  I cooked the lentils until the became mush.  In my defense, I was following the recipe and had set my timer.  As it turns out, these things become liquid pretty fast and you’ve got to pay a lot of attention to them.  At that point, I had some rice cooking, was waiting for my sweet potato to cook and mash, and put She-Who-Hums food in the oven.  Everything was based on the timing of the lentils.  Well, I tasted lentils and they were terrible.  I couldn’t serve them, so in the trash they went and I started over.  I STARTED OVER!

I hurry up and get everything going again, vowing to check everything every minute or two.  Those lentils wouldn’t get me twice.  I take the sweet potatoes off the stove and mash them.  “Nice,” I thought, “things will be alright.”  Then I checked the basmatti rice.  It wasn’t burned, thank goodness but I had probably needed to turn the heat a few minutes earlier.  “Not a major disaster,” Mr. Brain prattled on.

TPE comes in and asks whats for dinner, and I tell her.  She notifies me that she hates sweet potatoes.  Now you’d think that I wouldn’t be surprised by this, given our last adventure with potatoes.  But I could’ve sworn that she told me she liked them recently.  Turns out, I fabricated that and it was all about She-Who-Hums.  Disaster number 2 or 3, depending on whether you’re counting the rice.  I am.

Anyway, I finally had a meal for everyone.  The dal looked beautiful, with a nice golden hue and a slightly sweet sauce.  I spooned it over the rice, put a plate down for TPE and myself.  She-Who-Hums sat down with her chicken (which turned out quite nice actually) and a plate that included jalapenos, pickles, olives, sweet potato, and rice with soy sauce (I know, right).  Finally, everything turned out great.

Then I looked at TPE.  Her expression said it all.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“There is a smoky taste,” she replied.

“Smoky?  Its just tumeric.”

It doesn’t really matter how the rest of the conversation went.  She decided to make herself a burrito.  To shorten the story a bit, her reaction to the burrito was very similar to the red pepper flakes.  That led to attempt number #3 to feed TPE:

I ate the final product (the dal and, incidentally, part of the burrito).  It was OK, but not outstanding.  So I put a little of She-Who-Hums left over jalapenos on it and…it was much, much better.  Talk about irony…the dinner I made for TPE wasn’t satisfying to me until she blew it off.

Anyway, after 4 disasters I decided to end the dinner in the only way that made sense.

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