Friday, August 15, 2008


Six weeks down, two to go. Fourteen more days of too much work and not enough sleep. (Mostly, I blame the sleep deprivation on work, but sometimes it's my own choice. I'm not sleeping at all tonight because I have to go to work at 4AM tomorrow. I'd rather go to bed super-early tomorrow and sleep for a long time than sleep only a few hours tonight.)

I've not been cooking much either but I have made a few things.

Marinated Tomato Salad
OK, so this really shouldn't count as cooking -- no heat involved, and it's way simple. Regardless...
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

balsamic vinegar to taste -- I think I used about 5 tsp

red wine vinegar to taste -- I used about 1/2 tsp

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour but preferably overnight. This is a very versatile recipe: you can add thinly sliced green onion, or strips of fresh basil or cilantro (ideally right before serving). This salad can be served with slices of toasted baguette -- call it bruschetta :) -- or mixed with pasta and olives. Or you can substitute mozzarella cheese for the chickpeas. Or use the tomato salad as a topping for grilled tofu. (If you do that, leave out the chickpeas...unless you're trying to prove that vegetarians do get enough protein.) It makes a good filling for omelettes, mixed with sauteed spinach, onions, and mushrooms.

Yellow Split Pea Soup
Also not a lot of work, but this one does involve the stove.

2 T oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 cup dried yellow split peas

4 cups water

1 large onion, minced

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pot, and add the cumin and mustard seeds. Add dried peas and toast for about 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, then add chopped veggies. Cover and cook about 40 minutes until peas are tender, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

An Attempt at Real Cooking
With measuring and stuff. This is my totally bastardized version of Nupur's Rajma Parathas (keep scrolling, you'll find it). First and foremost, I realized -- about halfway through the process -- that my rolling pin is in my parents' basement. So much for thin and pretty parathas...mine were about 1/4" thick. They were like a cross between corn tortillas and pita bread, and were fabulous on the first day but don't store well. The recipe didn't have quantities, so I did my best. (I think I was pretty close too, I'm making progress!)

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (can substitute canned beans -- rinse and drain well)

3/4 tsp salt (do not use if using canned beans)

3/4 tsp coriander

1 1/4 tsp powdered cumin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 cups atta (Indian whole wheat flour)

Put everything except atta into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour bean puree into a bowl and add atta. Mix well to form a stiff dough. Knead for 3 minutes, then cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes. Divide into 12 portions, roll as thin as you would like/are able (mine were pancakes about 4 inches in diameter), and fry in a shallow layer of oil until golden.

I'd definitely like to try these again once I have a rolling pin :) And that's it for your monthly edition of Bek Cooks! (PS I really am very tired and am writing from memory. If something looks wrong, it probably is...leave a comment and I'll fix it...)