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  • Rita Date

Memory for Recipes

My laptop is connected to a larger monitor in my bedroom upstairs. I usually plan at least part of my meals from various web sites I subscribe to or search. The recipes look simple, especially the stir-frys…a few pods of garlic, cut up veggies, and some sauces and voila the healthy dish is ready. The fresh vegetables are a great side dish, with meat added and served with rice you have a complete meal.I have to confess my laziness. I do not have a printer attached to my laptop and did not think it necessary to lug down(it is actually quite light) my ultra slim laptop to the kitchen. On second thought this was not laziness, this was feeling that this recipe is easy and I will remember it.The end result was an overdone mediocre stir fry. Yes, my memory failed me and my over confidence took over, after all stir-frys are simple.

There are many dishes I can cook without recipes but when there is a new dish I am trying it depends on the length of the recipe which determines whether I will print out the recipe or take the effort to bring my laptop downstairs. And the length is many times determined by the ingredient list. Stir-frys rarely have elaborate ingredient lists so I thought I could recall all the ingredients.

Mistake Number One: I did not even bother reading the Directions part of the recipe. My dish was a simple vegetarian stir fry with cashews. Which ingredients go in first and when the sauce should be added are all vital components to the dish. Substitutions are common in stir-frys; for example if there is no broccoli, add cauliflower. In this case I knew I had no snow peas and going to Koregaon Park to get them was out of the question so mushroom was the substitute. I used a Maggie chicken cube instead of chicken broth. I forgot the onion; I guess I did not want to start the cooking with the same Indian base of onion and garlic.

Mistake Number Two: Do not leave the stove unattended Sometimes I think it is easy so I do not pay attention to the stove and try and finish another task in the kitchen. When cooking…cook. I have also learned this the difficult way. After making the dish a few times then some liberty can be taken.

Mistake Number Three: Read the Directions thoroughly I tossed in the garlic in the oil and then added cashews…mistake as the cashews became too soft. Then I added peppers, some leftover chicken and mushrooms. I remembered the parsley to be added and then the salt and pepper. I was not going to add the Mediterranean dressing…I thought my method would be better. Well, the dish was not bad however it was not something my family would like to me to make again.

LESSON LEARNT: The first time I try a new recipe, no matter how easy, I have to learn to follow the directions perfectly. I somehow think I can improvise and make it better. This has been the case at times but the first time a recipe is tried it should be followed meticulously. I was just forgetful, instead of looking up the recipe on the net once again; I thought I had it in memory. I totally forgot that you are supposed to simmer the vegetables first and thought everything has to be tossed in a pan…wishful thinking.

I made this recipe again the correct way and it was a delight. Cook and learn.

Vegetable Stir-Fry with Cashews…from Ingredients: • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth • 1 cup each red and yellow bell peppers, sliced 1/2-inch thick • 1 cup onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick • 1 cup snow peas • 1/4 cup cashews • Mediterranean Dressing: • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil • 2 tsp lemon juice • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 1. Chop or press garlic, slice onions, and let them sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties. 2. Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet over medium heat. 3. When broth is steaming, add bell peppers and onions, cover and sauté for 5 minutes. 4. Add snow peas and sauté covered for 2 minutes. 5. Transfer vegetable mixture to a serving bowl and toss with cashews and dressing ingredients.

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