From top: Curry Spiced Lentil Salad With Coconut, Lentil Cookies, Sweet 'n' Sour Lentil Stew With Poached Kumquats
In less than two weeks' time, I served uncommonly sweet lentils three ways... four if you want to count the Pineapple Crisp (I don't, given that it was a quick fix for Lentil Cookies gone awry). And the kicker is, I didn't realize I'd done it until this morning as I was reading back over my posts. Great inspiration if you happen to be as short on funds as I am, huh? Who needs three different sources of protein to keep meals interesting?
I pondered the phenomenon and came up with the following advice for repeating a culinary theme several times within a short duration.
1) If two ingredients pair commonly, such as lentils and rice, banish one of them for at least two out of three dishes.
2) Consider that you have a wide range of different courses to work with... appetizer, entree, dessert... One doesn't often put lentils in cookies, but hey, it worked (kinda).
3) Think different times of day. For example, I had my salad for lunch and my stew for dinner.
4) Alter your serving temperatures. The central ingredient should be flexible enough to eat hot, chilled, or at room temp.
5) Attempt different textures in each dish. Lentils are easy to mask, transitioning stealthily from a crunchy salad to a chewy cookie to a smooth stew; but you can even do this with a not-so-subtle ingredient like pork. Serve it grilled one night; braised, shredded, and wrapped in tortillas the next.
Have you ever repeated a culinary theme subconsciously? If so, what kept said theme so fresh?
Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.