Sunday, December 2, 2018

Cooking with Frau Doktor Doctor

When Dear Husband and Frau Doktor Doctor tied the knot more than a decade ago, they agreed to share the cooking duties 50/50. Neither having the energy to create a new meal from scratch every night, they developed the habit of cooking one large batch per week each and then enjoying the leftovers. Then cancer and intern year happened, and one or the other of them took over 100% of the kitchen duties. This weekend FrDrDr decided to (re)apply herself in the kitchen preparing one old dish and one new one: lentil loaf and carrot souffle, with a side of fresh spinach. What followed was predictably unpredictable, a comedy of errors. (See also Halloween 2017 and, especially, Canadian meat pie.) You can follow along in ten eleven easy steps!

1. While writing your shopping list, discover that you can no longer find the blog post with your lentil loaf recipe. Search the internet for it in vain. Discover another copy in your college cookbook.

2. Back from the grocery store, pull up a movie to watch. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-quart dish.

3. Wash, peel, and chop the 2lbs of carrots narrower than the recipe suggests. Boil for three times as long as recommended to finally soften them. Realize the oven doesn't need to be on yet; turn it off.

4. Meanwhile, pour 1 cup milk, grate 3/4 cup cheese, mince 1/3 cup onion, and measure 1 cup of bread crumbs instead of saltine crackers, which you haven't kept in the house since the time you had gastroenteritis and discovered an entire box infested with stored product pests.

5. Also in the meanwhile, realize you should start boiling 1 cup of lentils so that the dishes will come out of the oven at the same time. Turn on oven again.

6. Strain the carrots and puree in a little food processor a little at a time. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the mixture. Laugh when the recipe reminds you to "whisk" the milk into the puree. Realize belatedly that if you had included even a tablespoon of the boiling water, the carrots might have at least started out smooth.

7. Add cheese, onion, some salt, 1/4 teaspoon mixed Turkish spice (no cayenne), and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Give up on the whisk entirely when you get to the part about whisking three frothy eggs into the batch. A spoon does the trick nicely. Pop in oven to bake for 45 minutes until it just starts to pull away from the sides of the dish.

8. Meanwhile, dish out some of the lentils to be mashed. Mix with 1 cup oats, 1 egg, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup BBQ sauce, and some onion. Forget the celery in the jar of water in the fridge that you promised yourself you would use up.

9. Pat into buttered loaf pan and top with a stripe of ketchup. Wonder that the loaf looks so small. Pop into oven. Only 30 minutes until dinner!

10. While cleaning up the kitchen, discover the rest of the lentils still in the pot on the stove. Mash them, pull out the pan so you can mix them in with the rest of the as-yet unset loaf, and apply another stripe of ketchup.

11. Two hours and one feature-length movie later, remove both dishes from the oven and enjoy!

Despite increasing the sauce, the lentil loaf is STILL too dry to stick together; I may start pureeing some of the beans to encourage more cohesion. Both DH and I liked the carrot souffle, although it could have used a little kick--maybe I'll add red pepper flakes to the next batch. When the directions say one hour cook time, they must mean AFTER everything has been chopped and measured. Nevertheless, we decided this recipe is a keeper to pull out every once in a while--or when romaine lettuce has been exiled for yet another health scare.

Editor's Note: If you liked these recipes, you might also enjoy this easy party recipe or this versatile main dish

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