Cooking without knowing what the hell one is doing can be wonderful. You just let your hands lead you. Oh, a tomato... oh, a bit of coriander... oh, a bit of spinach, are you sure hands? Yes, yes... And then you can be surprised at how good it actually tastes. I surprise myself every day. Caroline, I didn't know you were such a good cook, my nice self tells me, and I blush delighted. Now, the problem starts when you have guests. If it is only you, it doesn't matter if it happens to taste like turd. But with guests, you obviously don't want them to vomit or force them to smile in that frozen way. No, no, it's great. And you just know they are being nice. You just know they'd rather stab themselves with a razor than eat anymore of your food, but since they are your guests...
So, I was having a lunch guest coming, and I had gotten into my head that I had to do an eggplant dip and something with artichokes. I just didn't know what. That usually doesn't bother me. And it didn't today either, until I realized it was ten to one, and I only had ten more minutes to go. Suddenly I was stressed. And stress blocks creativity. And suddenly I had no idea what I was doing. The artichokes tasted horrid in the pan. The eggplant that had been grilled in the oven and then put in a mixer with grilled garlic and lemon juice and ground nuts and seeds, tasted absolutely horrific. Typical, the moment you try to actually cook (ie put things in the oven, or anything that takes more than 20 min.), everything goes to hell.
The bell rang. In the speed of lightning I ground some fennel and whole coriander and threw in the pan. I opened the door, and told my friend (My dear dear friend. Just kidding. Some fucker I know) to just go and by some feta cheese. No questions. Which he did. In my stress I managed to do an emergency avocado dip (works to everything) and poured the quinoa into the pan with the artichokes. When he came back, I threw some feta in the eggplant dip while conversing politely, one hand on the mixer.
Almost Disaster Artichoke, Quinoa, Eggplant, Avocado Thing
1 can of artichoke hearts
2 dl quinoa
a piece of leek
1 spoon of veggie stock
coriander, fennel, chili
a little parmesan
half a grilled garlic
ground nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds)
avocado, lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper
Grill the eggplant in the oven (200°, make sure you punch holes in the skin with a fork, brush them lightly with olive oil) for 30 min, with a whole garlic bulb. Cook the quinoa, about 20 min, let stand for 5 to soak. Fry the chopped garlic and onion, then add the leek, the artichokes and the tomatoes. Let fry for a while, then pour over freshly ground coriander and fennel, the vegan stock and a little turn with the chili mill. Add half a cup of water and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the quinoa and stir in some more stock if needed.
Take the eggplant out of the oven, peel it, and cut it into chunks. Place in mixer with a few cloves of the grilled garlic. Add half a lemon, salt, pepper, a little olive oil, half a pack of feta and the ground nuts.
Avocado dip as below.
Serve with some parmesan on top, a little black cumin and some black and white sesame seeds.