This week I tried two recipes from Power Foods, a snack and a main dish. One was successful, and one was dangerous.
First, the snack, titled Crunchy Split Pea Bites. Oh, they were crunchy, all right. This involved soaking one and a half cups of green split peas in three cups of water for four hours. At that point you drain and dry them. Since I was not about to polish each pea individually, I just spread them out onto a paper towel to dry. Actually, two paper towels, because that is a ton of peas, in case you didn’t realize. They took forever to dry; by the next morning they were still damp, but I was already over the whole thing so I decided to finish them off so I could take them to work as a snack.
Half a batch of the peas were sautéed in a mixture of canola oil and sesame oil until they got browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Then they were drained on paper towels and sprinkled with salt. They were ok–they didn’t have much flavor, so The Husband ground up some herbs de Provence on his, which he thought helped somewhat. The biggest problem was that some of the peas were still as hard as they were before soaking, and we were afraid we’d break a tooth on one. I threw out both the cooked half, and the uncooked half. Luckily, peas are inexpensive, so it’s not like we ruined an expensive duck breast (Martha!).
I was cautiously optimistic that the Brown Rice with Tofu, Dried Mushrooms and Baby Spinach would be good because it appeared to have a lot of seasoning, and we liked most of the Asian-inspired foods in Dinner at Home.
The recipe was pretty easy–cook 1.5 cups of brown rice (the recipe called for short grain, but I used long and it was fine) in 2.75 cups of water with a half ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms, 1 T ginger, 4 minced garlic cloves, a crumbled dried red chile, and salt. When done (50 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and toss in a half package of drained and diced extra-firm, drained tofu, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. At the end of the fifteen minutes, you are supposed to be able to toss in 3 ounces of baby spinach and have them wilt in three minutes. This didn’t happen, because the pan was no longer hot enough. I had to put it back on low heat and leave it until the spinach wilted, which also meant the rice started to stick. After the spinach finally wilted, I mixed in several chopped scallions, cilantro (I used dried, since we didn’t have any fresh), 2 T + 1t of tamari soy sauce (low-sodium), 1.5 T of rice vinegar, and 1 t of sesame oil.
This had quite a nice flavor. The Husband added more garlic to his, but I thought it was super garlicky. In fact, later that night I could not get the garlic and scallion taste out of my mouth, even with vigorous teeth brushing. So, maybe this is not a good dish to take to your book club or on a date, but it’s otherwise recommendable.
Split Peas: D Both bland and too many inedible bits
Rice Bowl: A-