|Monday, November 26th, 2001|
11:41p - Sunday Dinner, November 25
Anne was coming to dinner last night, which made us happy, but also challenged us. Anne is unable to eat sugar, wheat, and milk, and she prefers vegetarian. This puts big challenges on our meal planning. When she was in town, we had a compromise that when she came to dinner, it was sufficient for one item on the menu to be something she could eat. But since she's now out of town and visiting only rarely, we try to make meals for which she can eat everything.
A logical candidate was a vegetarian chili, but I feel we've made that several times recently. From flipping through cookbooks, I came up with the idea of red beans and rice. The recipe that inspired me was made in the slow-cooker, and I dawdled too late for it to be an option. But I found a faster recipe (with sausage, though) in the Joy of Cooking.
I feared that it might not be enough food, so I added hash browns to the mental menu.
For dessert, I got a recipe for "Berries with Custard Sauce" from a healthy-eating cookbook that used applesauce instead of cream and sugar. Berries turned out to be very expensive, so I bought a pineapple to cut up instead.
It was a real disappointment in almost every way. I think it was one of the worst Sunday dinners I can remember us making. (And most of y'all know how much pride I take in our cooking, and how much it disappoints me when our efforts don't turn out well.)
The flavor of the red beans was nice, but the texture was not what I had in mind. The beans seemed undercooked to me; they were not very tender. The meat from the smoked ham hocks was also very tough and chewy. And though I'd wanted something with the consistency of porridge, these beans had the consistency of a soup.
For the rice, we tried our wedding gift rice cooker for the first time. The rice came out quite al dente. And despite my using the amount of rice specified in the recipe, the rice-to-beans ratio was badly off. This would have been a big problem if people had wanted seconds.
Even the hash browns seemed underdone.
Dessert was not a success either. It turned out that the applesauce contained sugar, and Anne can't eat pineapple anymore either. We were somewhat dubious abou tthe sauce anyway, so Lori made a pan of brownies.
After dinner, we talked lots, and played a game I had seen on the web involving alternating drawings and captions in a sort of Telephone-like game. It was tres amusing. Here's the web site where I learned about it: http://www.uwm.edu/~mrjoe/epyc/ (I am not enamored of either their name or their examples.)
Red Beans and Rice
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