Have I mentioned how much I like a good leftover? I’m not joking. Today I am looking at the 3rd and final act for the batch of Spicy Raw Tomato Sauce that I made the other day. I’m thinking of using it as a soup base, though the idea of adding a bit of this workhorse into some white bean puree for a spicy white bean dip is weighing on my mind.
Since we have a snow storm on the way I am declaring the soup idea the winner! Having a pot of soup on hand is a good thing when snow is a-comin! In the event that we need to get all frontier minded and hunker down, I know that I can reheat soup in the cast iron pot on the wood stove (and I swear it will taste 10 times better coming out of that pot than anything else!)
2.5 cups Raw Spicy Tomato Sauce
12 cups water
2 cups brown rice (not cooked)
1/2 cup brown lentils (not cooked)
2 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp broth powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Add all ingredients into at least a 4 quart stockpot (you want to have enough room to stir without sloshing!) Simmer over medium heat for one hour or until the rice and lentils are cooked. Easy peasy!
The rice takes on a golden tint from the turmeric in the tomato sauce. There is still a hint of ginger while the rest of the spices and the onion make just a nice savory vegetable soup base. Add in’s could be anything from carrots and celery to more tomato or leftover beans. Think minestrone, think vegetable soup. If you have meat eaters, you could add in leftover chicken for a lightly spiced chicken vegetable soup. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste, try a bit more broth powder or salt and pepper. Top each bowl with minced cilantro or a swirl of coconut milk if you want to get fancy.
The beauty of cooking this way is that we waste very little. I like to call cooking it by the seat of your pants. In the same way that aviators are said to “fly by the seat of their pants” aka without a flight plan, instruments, radio, etc., so can we cook! We can be culinary renegades, working without the guidance of a cookbook, leaving Food TV behind! I cook this way all the time, and, only occasionally do I have something crash and burn.
It just so happens that I had something bite the dust last night. I love rice paper wrappers and have tried to use them in a few different ways… so far, the only successful way I’ve found is to rehydrate them and use them as fresh wrappers for raw spring rolls. I sure want them to be able to do more though… yes, I do! So, the little experiment that I did last night involved rice paper wrappers and steam. I now know that those two things don’t mix, but it took a solid try to figure out because nobody tells you these things… well, I’m telling you now, but no one told me!
Anyway, the sad story is that I made a handful of these fresh rolls in a sort of dumpling style and purse style and in the traditional roll. I prepped my steamer basket and had my shallow water at a low boil. The perfect steam environment was within my grasp! A little oil on the steamer to prevent sticking (so I thought) and away I went.
The lid shut on the steming pan, I began to smell the little goodies. My children even commented how nice things were smelling in the kitchen. We were all getting a bit excited and, truth be told, you could have caught any one of us wiping a little drool from the corner of our mouths as we salivated like hungry wolves near the fragrant pan. A few minutes passed and I removed the lid…. and along with it came a few of the rolls because the rice paper stuck like glue to the lid… and I thought I could rescue the few that were still laying there in tact… so I got the tongs and went right in there with confidence… until I found the plump shiny parcels completely and totally glued to the steamer basket. It was a steamer basket casket and it was a sad sad sight.
I share this with you because it’s important to validate that trying and experimenting is worthwhile even when you fail. Without the failures we can’t find our way to the successes. For me, the key is not taking anything too seriously in the kitchen.