Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nabothian cysts: secretly a disease of banthas

Seriously, doesn't "Nabothian cyst" sound like something out of a hallowed sci fi 'verse*? This unit has been replete with bizarre terminology, from hobnail nuclei to H. ducreyi to borborygmus. Unfortunately, working myself up to study for the exam we have on said material has been shockingly difficult. Maybe it's the fact that this parade of exams feels like an endless stint in the spice mines of Kessel; maybe it's the fact that this material is just not my favorite. I've just been biding my time until the end of our reproductive unit brings an end to this rather unpleasant spell of what I think I'll term passive dysphoria.

Hey, you know what I haven't had in awhile? My rock and my island, lentils with rice. I played around with Mark Bittman's instructions for stuck-pot rice and lentils with caramelized onions, spicing them with minced chili pepper, ginger, cloves and coriander and accompanying them with side dishes of garlicky broccoli and of notes on ovarian cancer. Mmm, cancer.

I don't have a small pot with a lid that fits (in fact, I only have one small pot, and it has no lid), so I Macguyvered one.

After the rice begins to smell toasty, you have to wait five minutes to eat it. So I waited...

...and waited...

...and finally dug in! Look at that brown, crispy rice-and-lentil crust. It'll cure what ails you.

Theme and variations on Mark Bittman's stuck-pot rice and lentils
1 cup lentils
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
other spices, whatever you like

Caramelize the onion in half the oil, with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Stir in the lentils and return the water to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil, then lower the heat to a vigorous simmer and cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Drain. (The other option is to cook the rice and lentils separately and add them to the pot in layers, starting with the rice. Decrease the yogurt to 1/4 cup and mix it with the rice only.) In the meantime, mix the yogurt, lime juice, salt, pepper, and other spices. Toss the rice and lentils in the yogurt mixture. Put the rest of the oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add half the rice, pressing down in the pan with a fork. Add the onions, Add the rest of the rice and press down. Sprinkle it all with 1/3 cup water. Wrap a clean towel around the lid of the pot, being careful to gather the corners away from the stove, and cover the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. When you hear sizzling, turn the heat to very low. Cook until the rice smells toasty but  not burned; this should take 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and the cloth and upend the pot. If the rice comes out intact, awesome. If not, reassemble the crust. Garnish, or don't, and enjoy, because this is delicious.

*It's actually a mucinoid cyst of the cervix.

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