Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Unmotivated Cook

I've noticed that after a weekend of intense cooking, I sometimes have trouble getting in the mood to cook dinner for a few nights after. I think its because I get caught up in projects that I didn't have time for while the massive cooking was going on. It also is linked to days where I don't get home until after 3pm and I have to immediately get involved in homework help.

I've always felt that if its 5pm and you've just begun to think about making dinner, you're in big trouble. Yet I've found myself in this position the last two nights. I've rebounded from it but it hasn't been easy. Today I'm taking no chances. I'm putting some red lentil soup into the slow cooker before I leave for work. I find if I have part of the meal cooked its easier for me to get motivated and fill in the blanks when I get home.

Last night I combined Sunday nights leftover split pea soup with Monday nights leftover pasta with sauce and the tomato juice leftover from Friday. I threw in a teaspoon of celery seed and wound up with a very delicious soup to go along with the veggie burgers that I made last night. Always test your combinations before dumping things together. I put a little bit of everything I'm considering combining on one spoon so I can taste and see if the flavors blend, or don't blend.

I used the veggie burger recipe from VwaV as a springboard. (I know I've said it before but this is an awesome recipe!) I had neither the time nor the ingredients to follow the recipe to the letter so instead I measured out the water, olive oil, tamari, mustard, spices (substituting garlic powder for the garlic and onion powder for the onion), and subbed ketchup for tomato paste. I whisked this together, added in the dried tvp and a few tablespoons of flaxseed meal. I microwaved it for 2 minutes, to get the tvp rehydrated. I used an ice cream scoop to shape these into equal sized balls which I pressed into burgers on a hot cast iron griddle.

I'm thinking about premixing the dry ingedients of these burgers together to decrease my kitchen time during the summer, or any other hectic time. My fear is that all the spices would wind up in the bottom of the container and you'd get some bland burgers and some overpowering burgers. Perhaps I'll do them in single batch containers.


Anonymous said...

For the burger premix, keep the mixed spices in a separate container with a piece of paper taped to it that says how much spice mix per cup of TVP. You could also probably mix the wet ingredients (other than fresh veggies) and do the same thing. All these two steps require is making up the recipe once and figuring out the proportions of mixed ingredients.

As I've told other people, efficiency is not a special skill; it's just born out of a desire to quit repeating the same boring steps over and over again! "There's got to be an easier way."

Rachael said...

all I can say is thank goddess for lentils, or i swear that i'd nver manage a nutritious and edible meal most nights, especially since i always forget to put beans into soak overnight anyway.

glad your sprouts are growing well...i just finished sprouting some mustard seeds and they grew in half the time it took only a month ago. on the other hand, the black-eyed peas are still barely sprouting. oh well, the results are worth the wait.

Katie said...

That is brilliant and very well said!

I always have lentils on hand for exactly that reason.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Katie. I'm working up the courage to start my own blog to share these kind of ideas...

Katie said...

You really should!