Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Matchy-Matchy Meal

I grew up watching lots of Food Network (way back when it called the "TV Food Network"), and if there's one thing I learned, it's that meals should have "gorgeous color." When I was home alone in the summer, I'd concoct crazy meals in my mama's kitchen with way too much spice. And I'd say to my pretend audience, "Just look how the color of these green beans pops against the yellow corn." Sometimes, when I'm alone, I still pretend like I'm on a cooking show when I'm prepping meals (yes, I just admitted that). And I still brag about the lovely colors in my saute pan.

I also know that one's plate should contain lots of colors for the full nutritional spectrum (beta carotene, flavanoids, and all that mess). But tonight's two dishes violated that rule. My entree and my side veggie turned out almost the exact same color. I didn't even think about that when planning this very orange and tan meal.

My main dish were these Chickpeas with Carrots and Onion from The Natural Vegan Kitchen:

This is the sort of dish that doesn't need a recipe, but it has one magical ingredient that I wouldn't have thought to include without some direction from cookbook author/macrobiotic guru Christine Waltermyer — kombu! The flat, dark green sea veggie is simmered with the dry chickpeas, carrots, and onion, and after it sits a spell, the juice gets all thick from the gelatin-like effect of the kombu. Not like Jello-thick, though. More like cornstarch-thick, but without the gravy-like consistency.

My other orange and tan dish was this serving of Steamed Sweet Potato Melt, also from The Natural Vegan Kitchen:

It might look similar to melted cheese, but that gooey stuff on top is actually melted mochi! If you've never had mochi and love chewy food, this stuff is a must-try. It's a pressed rice cake that melts when heated and puffs up when baked in the oven. It's super chewy and delicious.

I must say though, this sweet tater dish may be one of the weirdest things I've ever cooked. Delicious, but weird. The potatoes are steamed in orange juice and then topped with a tahini-dill sauce and melted mochi. Strange as hell, right? But I think that's why I was drawn to it. I'm always attracted to dishes with weird-ass flavor profiles.

Anyway, I'm sure I got plenty of beta carotene from this meal, considering all that orange. Despite it's color-sameness, the two dishes complemented one another quite well.

Do you strive to get as many colors onto your plate as possible? Or do you also secretly have pretend cooking shows in your kitchen (I know I'm not the only one!)?


Keri - I Eat Trees said...

I have a very exclusive cooking show held in my kitchen... My viewership is only 2 (fluffy felines), but they're pretty die-hard fans. They never miss an episode. ;)

Lori said...

Not gonna lie, I definitely sometimes have am imaginary audience, too XD

Mihl said...

Seriously Bianca, you shoud DO a cooking show! I bet it would be awesome!

LittleSpoon said...

I TOTALLY have cooking shows in my kitchen!!! I talk to the cat as my live studio audience, and go to commercial when I have to pee.

I'm glad I'm not the only one.



PS: That meal looks really yummy!!

Helen said...

Bianca, you are NOT the only one! I'm obsessed with color, especially when it comes to food. I just love the way colorful vegetables pop on a white plate. And ever since I was little, I have talked out loud to an imaginary audience (ok, maybe more when I was little, but I still do it from time to time if I'm the only one home). haha!

Abby Bean said...

I'm so glad you've tried recipes from The Natural Vegan Kitchen that I've yet to; I've been thrilled with everything I've made thus far. I've had the pleasure of taking cooking classes with Christine & she's wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Haha, you're right, that mochi dish is totally bizarre, but I still think it sounds delicious! :)

Kelly said...

True story: My sister once filmed me making a smoothie as if I were on a cooking show, except I pretended I was a Harry Potter character who was being punished by being forced to cook without magic. It was... special.

I totally agree with Mihl - you should have a cooking show! It'd be rad!

Debra said...

Looks great.. A cooking show is a great idea..
Blessings, Debra
Raw Vegan Diet

Jessica said...

Hey, cookbook first, cooking show second!

Tender Branson said...

Maybe you are just practicing for your future gig. I can honestly say I have never done that but maybe I will try now that I know there are others out there that do it.

Jesse said...

The dish does seem oddly delicious!! So you have cooking shows in your kitchen also? It totally makes the cooking go by faster!

Sara MM said...

Hell yes- I get way more excited about eating my food if it's vibrant & well-presented! I seem to convince myself that it tastes better that way, haha.

& guilty on the fake cookery show thing... Who says we can't pretend though, eh?! Makes cooking a little more interesting x