Hi everyone. Before I get on with my ramblings, there were some interesting topics raised by some readers that I wanted to discuss. One asked about substituting ground pepper versus red pepper flakes:
“Alma, I made these (peanut) noodles. They came up so yummy but quite spicy. I’m wondering whether that’s because I substituted 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper for 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes. What do you think? And do you think that was a good substitution? “
It is very important to know how old your spices are-the older they are, the less potent. You also need to know how potent they are even if they are fresh since different brands and kinds of pepper vary in heat. Finally, always start with a minimal amount if you do not like spicy food. You can always add more later but you can’t take away! I , personally, LOVE heavy spice so am a little more careless with the red pepper. I would imagine that your substitution would have been O.K. but it depends on all the factors I just mentioned.
There was another good point made by another reader regarding packaging and the environment:
“One thing to remember in taking short-cuts (like precut veggies, etc) is to keep an eye an additional, wasteful packaging. Those carrots that have no packaging when purchased as a fresh bunch, suddenly grow a styrofoam tray and plastic wrap when purchased precut.”
I had a fabulous protein filled dhal (lentil puree) at our friend, Julius’, house yesterday. Dhal is eaten a lot in Indian cooking and is very healthy. He gave me the recipe and I made it as soon as I got home-I’m compulsive! 2 out of 4 kids liked it as well as the adults so I believe it is definitely worthwhile to pass on. You can serve dhal as a side dish, a dip or with rice as a complete meal with some vegetables. It is so healthy and easy to make. I hope you like it. Thanks, Julius…
P.S. Check out my cool new slideshow of photos on the home page www.takebackthekitchen.com
1 1/2 cups tiny pink lentils (you can also use tiny yellow lentils, too)
3/4 tsp ground turmeric spice
1 1/2 -2 tsp salt
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1-2 TBS canola oil
Boil the lentils until tender and drain -should not take very long since they are small.
sautee up the minced garlic in 1-2 TBS canola oil.
In a food processor or hand held blender, puree lentils, turmeric, salt and garlic until smooth. Adjust spices if need be and enjoy!