As I mentioned yesterday, I made the Red Lentil Dal from the Happy Herbivore cookbook for my roommate and other friend last night. I made it almost identical to the recipe, except instead of using dry red lentils, I used organic canned lentils I had leftover.
Other than some minor issues (our stove is not even, so for the first step where you cook the onions and garlic in water until they’re translucent, it took a while because the water kept pooling in one small corner of the pan) and that it seemed to take a long time for the water/liquid to cook out, I thought it came out really well! In fact, the only complaint we had was that Kelly, my roommate, had not cooked the rice long enough so it was a little crunchy. Luckily, I was not in charge of rice-cooking, so my vegan dish was not blamed for the “crunchy rice.”
I really, really liked the recipe. I’m not a huge fan of Indian food, but after making this dal, I was actually super impressed by how quick, easy, and tasty this dish was. I accidentally forgot to put in the garam masala at the end, which was a bummer, but I definitely would make this dish again. Our other friend who joined us for dinner also liked the dish, and whereas I thought it was a little hot, he thought it was spot on. Unfortunately, Kelly, who had never tried Indian food before (yeah, she lives under a rock), did not like her bowl of dal and rice and ended up throwing it out. I don’t think it was the fault of the dal itself, just that she simply doesn’t like the taste of Indian food.
In sum, 2/3 thought the Red Lentil Dal from Happy Herbivore was really good and tasty. I think I would improve it by adding the garam masala (duh) and actually having either quinoa or maybe naan bread on the side, perhaps with some hummus. It was a great, tasty dish, but I think I would add an appetizer like hummus and naan to make it more authentic. I discovered that you can use canned lentils just fine, just be prepared for it taking a little bit longer for all your liquid to cook out.
I didn’t get any pictures of this dish, but I think that is because it wasn’t very pretty to look at. Also, Kelly and I were running late because Mr. Comcast Installer was running super late, so by the time Kelly and I got back from Ikea, we barely had enough time to cook the dal and rice before our friend arrived.
On to the next best thing in the world…
BANANA BREAD!!! I made banana bread from, again, the Happy Herbivore cookbook. The recipe called from either 4-5 ripe/brown bananas. We had 5 really brown bananas, and I briefly considered only putting in 4 and “saving” the last banana, but then I wised up and remembered no one was eating those bananas because they looked GROSS, so I put all 5 in.
The first part of the recipe called for creaming the sugars and bananas in a bowl until “smooth.” That was kind of a hack job… Lindsay from Happy Herbivore recommends in the book to use a spatula if you don’t have a food processor, which is what I did… until Kelly’s cheap Target spatula started to crack because I was pushing down on it so hard. I switched to using my Williams Sonoma spoon, which was able to withstand more pressure, but still wasn’t getting the job done.
At this point, I was really frustrated… so after a couple minutes of hacking away at the bananas, the mixture finally started to get soupy enough that I just put the whole thing in Kelly’s blender and blended it til it was smooth and creamy. Sheesh, I really need a food processor that works (hint, hint, Mom
In the end, the banana bread came out super yum!
Kelly really liked the banana bread. Right after it came out of the oven, she scarfed down four pieces while I took my time, only eating one in the first hour. I, of course, really liked the banana bread. Although I was talking to Blake, the bf, and I decided when I make this recipe again, I want to find some sort of caramel-y glaze to add to the top of it. That’s not to say it’s dry, but I would just like to make it a little more fatty. Happy Herbivore is a low-fat cookbook! Also, I would add nuts the next time around, because I love me some nuts! Mmm.. nuts…
Anyway, after eating some banana bread, Kelly and I got down to business… the business of putting together Ikea crap. The day before, we had gone to Ikea and got two nighstands for me, a chair (also for me), and drapes for Kelly’s window. Much like the shoe rack, putting together my wood nightstands was a total cluster****… at first. After a couple minutes of cursing, Kelly finally joined me on the floor and helped me hold the nightstand pieces together while we both worked at screwing the nails in. It was a tough go, and we both were cursing a LOT by the end, but we got it done!
There are two of those suckers! Heck yeah! The chair itself was thankfully VERY easy to put together– the chair was already made, so all we had to do was screw in the legs and we were done. Hooray!
I can’t say we did so well putting up the drapes… I bought all my drape accoutrements at Target (not the drapes themselves, I had leftover drapes from my Mom that are classy and fabulous), and Kelly bought hers from both Target and Ikea. The problem? Our wall is plaster/brick, and it is incredibly hard to get any type of nail into the wall.
Long story short, we went to Home Depot and were helped by a lovely man named Steve. When we got home, all of our charm and charisma flew out the window as Kelly and I beat and screamed at both the drapes and the nails in the wall. It was, again, a cluster****. Currently, Kelly is doing halfsies at holding her drapes up: part of her drapes are being held up by a Target hook (the plastic kind) and the other side of the drapes are being held up by a screw in the wall.
My drapes are on both sides held up by screws, but they look like this:
Yes, the walls talk. And no, I did not screw in the bottom screw. It was too hard.
So far, so good. Neither of our drapes have fallen down to murder us yet… hooray! Let’s see if I survive tonight though!