Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve dinner

We decided to make the Persian layered pilafs from Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen for dinner yesterday. The idea is that you make three different rice pilafs, one with beets, one with carrots, and one with onions (to which we added some cooked beluga lentils), and layer them. Your adoring husband, mother, or other guests ooh and aah as they take slices of this spectacular tower of rice. You can eat the layers separately or mix them together. The problem is the layering (and my hubris). Our first idea was to press each layer into a small ramekin and then turn them out onto a plate, one on top of the other. Jon tried to do this. Much to my surprise, the second layer was perfect. I snapped a picture, just in case.
And it was a good thing, because the third layer ended up like this.
Then I, in my hubris, decided that it would be better to layer them all in a large ramekin and turn them out onto a plate all at once. I pressed the rice into the ramekin really tightly, found a big plate, and turned it over. As I slid the ramekin off, I told Jon to get the camera quick. He snapped the first picture mere seconds before the second one.
I tried in vain to scoop up the pink layer as it fell, but it was useless. Then the other side started crumbling. I whisked away the precarious tower of rice and took it back to the stove where it wouldn't continue to get the table dirty. Then I went back and gathered as much rice from the table as possible. My plate ended up looking kind of like Rainbow Brite vomited on it.
(Sorry so blurry. It looked clear on the camera screen.)
After eating, I did my best to separate the rice back into three pilafs. They stacked much better like this.

I think next time I do this, we will put the pilafs into ramekins to shape but have them sitting next to each other on the plate rather than trying to stack them. We think it might make a nice base to some cooked bok choy, or a simple piece of chicken or fish (if we ate that). I have hope for this, but I don't think it's ready for prime time yet.

Tonight we're having friends over for dinner. Jon is making his delicious mac and cheese and kale, our friends are bringing a salad, and for dessert we're having leftover cranberry upside-down cake my mom made for us when we were in Dallas earlier this week.

I leave you with a Christmas miracle.

We had been having a dickens of a time finding a good avocado. The ones that felt right tended to be black and hard inside. Then Jon found this. With hummus, sprouts, and veggies, it made an epic sandwich. Merry Christmas!

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