If at first you don’t succeed…

by Sarah on April 26, 2010 · 1 comment

When I said all of that about “No excuses, no explanations,” channeling the esteemed Julia Child, I meant it, and I do, in fact believe it 100% of the time…

….for other people.

For me, I can get away with the mantra maybe 80% of the time, which, if you knew me as a child, is a loooooooong way from the tears-streaming-down-my-face, up-until-all-hours-of-the-night because the project’s “just not right,” 12-year old I was, but my perfectionism is innate, it is in my blood…and this transfers over into the need to create perfectly crafted and flawlessly presented meals when I’m cooking for other people, which, now, let’s face it…is ALL THE TIME (via blog world…)

I know you are saying, “it’s just a blog, we don’t care that much,” but I do…

Perhaps that’s why I’ve been holding off on sharing this next recipe attempt with you, although it fits in perfectly to cap off my “Veg Head” Week. Considering I woke up last night with a brainstorm of how to improve it this evening, prior to telling you about it, just goes to show you how important it can be for me to “get things right” (at least, as I said, 80% of the time…that other 20% you can eat slop for all I care…which, come to think of it, is a brilliant restaurant concept created by my stepmother……but I digress).

So, in an addendum to my previous “no excuses, no explanations” posting, of whose theme I still do believe (after all, a little creativity can mask any imperfection…in life, or in the kitchen), I would like to add Smart Kitchen Rule #10: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. [And then you can give up. :)]

“What is this recipe?” you ask?

Masala Meatless Muffin Loaves!

What in the….?

Just go with me…

So, I had found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens March 2010 issue for Nutty Meatless Loaf, that basically took red lentils, rice, and added garam masala and mango chutney to create an intriguing (at least to me) veggie “meat”loaf.*

*I will forever mentally put air quotes around “meat” when speaking of veggie loafs such as this, due to a hilarious scene from The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz…which if you haven’t read, go get it now. (Well, start with The Spellman Files and go from there.)

I loved the idea of this flavor combo, but didn’t like the idea of all the (to me) unneccessary sugar that would be added with the commercially prepared chutney. [I also didn’t have any on hand, but had everything else….so that was a factor.] I reasoned that I could add the masala and mango flavors anyway, and still come up with something great, because, well, that’s what I do. 😉

I boiled up some red lentils…

…and diced up a whole lot of veggies…and mango (which I conveniently already had, and the first “surprise” ingredient):

…as well as some golden raisins (“surprise” ingredient #2):

The original recipe also called for rice…and, well, I had a ton of that left on hand from the massive rice explosion that had occurred in my kitchen.

And, due to some strange association I have with Indian food and green peas (perhaps due to my reading at one time that Indian Butter Chicken is normally served with them? I don’t know where it comes from really, as I have never been to an Indian restaurant, have never eaten real Indian food that I know of, and certainly have never actually been to India)…decided to add some of those to the mix as well! (We can call this “surprise” ingredient #3.)

I, of course, also made sure I had plenty of Garam Masala (so scent-erific and tasty, too!) ready to go.

Sauteed up all of the veggies at once with a heavy dose of the aforementioned spice blend (fragrant to the Maxx—and yes, I do mean the favorite hangout of Bayside High alumn Zack Morris and his gang of deliquents in side ponytails and MC Hammer pants).

Then I combined everything into a bowl…

and added some cilantro!

Then, I surveyed my baking options….loaf or muffins? loaf or muffins?

Obviously I went with the whimsical choice.

Baked them for about 45 minutes at 375…but I was so confused…because they just weren’t holding together or baking like I had thought.

Then I remembered that I had forgotten (is that an oxymoron? or irony?) the crucial binding ingredient….eggs!

I swear, this photo was not taken after the fact…I had them out of the fridge, ready to go…

I did get the muffin loaves out of their baking sheet…they held together relatively well, and certainly tasted amazing, but in my attempts to get them to hold I had cooked them a little crispier than I would have liked, and it just didn’t match my vision.

Hence, my waking up last night convinced I needed to try again today.

So I did.

Tonight, I remade them in a “half-batch” with the same ingredients, except I upped the lentils and took out the rice all together.

I had to use frozen mango instead (but finally was able to bust open my super Trader Joe’s stash of the best frozen mango in the world)…

…and of course, this time I didn’t forget the egg. :)

They held together SO much better…but, truth be told, I’m still not sure this recipe is perfected. I kind of missed the rice, and perhaps next time more mango….

This recipe includes the rice, as I think I prefer having the texture of it.

Masala Meatless Muffin Loaves
(Makes 12)

1 c. red lentils, cooked
1/2 c. brown rice, cooked

1/2 c. finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 c. finely diced celery
1/2 c. finely diced carrot
1/2 c. finely diced mushroom
1 c. finely diced onion
1/4 c. golden raisins, chopped
1/4 c. mango, diced
1/2 cup green peas

3 Tbsp. Garam Masala, separated
1 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

2 eggs

1. Sautee all vegetables together with 2 Tbsp. Garam Masala until they are tender (about 5-10 minutes).
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine lentils, rice, and veggies, as well as the additional tablespoon of Garam Masala, garlic powder, and cilantro.
3. Beat in 2 eggs.
4. Bake in muffin tins for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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{ 1 comment }

Molly April 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

you used golden raisins because i am your favorite golden. dont lie.

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