The kitchen is a magical place. Simple ingredients are transformed with a little heat and a little love into tasty sustenance for our bodies and souls. However, last night’s dinner was supposed to be a recipe from Padma Lakshi for Sausage, Rice and Lentils and, as you can imagine, it took a lot more magic to transform those ingredients into eggs, broccoli and sausage. By the way, I’m sure some of you are paying attention and are about to question the sausage. Never fear. Where I had once made the recipe with regular sausage, this time I had purchased vegetarian sausage to substitute. I’ve been trying a variety of fake meat, liking some better than others. Across the board, I have found the biggest issue has been in the texture of the fake meat. For a dish like this the texture was less important and the flavor profile was similar enough to regular sausage to be acceptable.
Back to the magic. Or not so magical happenings in my kitchen. Since Monday night, when Joe discovered the water from the kitchen sink pouring through the basement ceiling tiles, the water for my nice big sink has been turned off while we waited to find a plumber who needed a job. We also turned off the dishwasher since we were unsure of the source of the leak. I’ve been working in the little 2″ square prep sink on the island, washing vegetables, dishes and pots and pans. As you might imagine, I’ve been looking for all possible kitchen shortcuts including using the microwave as much as possible because bowls are easier to wash than pots, and using smaller dishes for dinner which fit better in the 2″ sink.
Back to the magic, ahem. I had planned to cook this lovely recipe from Padma and began to pull out the ingredients. When I planned this night’s dinner there was no memo warning me about the kitchen mess. I pulled out the recipe, and then began to pull out all of the ingredients. I even started cooking the rice, all the while I was feeling panick-y that the dish would be beyond my capabilities.
The rice was started and Louisa, who was working on homework in the kitchen, wasn’t very impressed as I told her the dinner plan. And then, there was one more ingredient I needed to pull out from the pantry… The lentils. I searched high and low but discovered that my once abundant supply had vanished without my realizing it. I do love lentils.
Then I really began to panic. In the chaos of my kitchen, with all of the items from under the sink all over the counters; and all of the other ingredients just waiting to be prepped; and the prospect of all the hand washing in a 2″ sink; I couldn’t think. Louisa tried to comfort me that it would all be fine and we could have the dish without the lentils… Without the rice… Without the slimy onions (her word, not mine)… Without the diced green peppers. In fact, waffles would be just fine to accompany the fake sausage.
At that point, even waffles were more than I could face. So, I proceeded to steam some broccoli in the microwave; sliced up some cheddar because I didn’t want to hand wash the grater; and pre-cooked the sausage in the microwave too. And while I had a few prep bowls and dishes to hand wash, there was only one frying pan. And to accompany this egg scramble I pulled a loaf of Italian bread from the freezer and warmed it in my oven.
Abracadabra. Lentils became eggs and major cleanup disappeared. Does anybody want some rice?