vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

Posts tagged lentils

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The Best Cookbook

I’ve been holding out on you guys for weeks: I’ve made the middle eastern lentils from Diana Henry’s Pure Simple Cooking* at least once a week for the past month and haven’t told you about it.

I will!

But in the meantime, I think you should buy Henry’s cookbook. It’s not one of those door-stopper tomes that purports to have every recipe ever. It’s relatively short, and is organized in a totally insane way with a basically useless index, and has pretty photos. Most importantly, the recipes are really, really great: straightforward, relatively easy, and interesting. I’ve written about her Greek Baked Chicken in Yogurt and Warm Chicken, Roasted Pepper, Chickpea, and Preserved Lemon Salad (the latter of which reminds me of the terrible and still-unexplained swollen arm incident of a few years ago). So many of the recipes are good and unfussy.

Unfussy counts for a lot for me these days. But so does delicious.

* This link goes to my wonderful local bookstore, Longfellow Books. No referral, I just really like the bookstore.

Filed under lentils who knew they were so delicious?

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pbs-food:

Lentils with Roasted Beets and Carrots recipe | Kitchen Vignettes | PBS Food

I was inspired by PBS-Food’s incredibly beautiful lentil with roasted beets and carrots recipe.

In my variation, I made a curry mayo with eggs instead of the egg-free version (I seem to be unable to avoid a raw egg opportunity if it comes my way). I skipped the carrot tops since I didn’t have them and steamed the vegetables instead of roasting them (so I could make extra to puree for Bear).

Lentils with Beets and Carrots

Carefully wash a bunch of beets and carrots. I cut my carrots up so they were in little sticks about the size of my pinkie. I plunked a silicone steamer basket into a relatively large pot, added an inch of water, and layered the beets on the bottom and the carrots on top. The carrots cook faster, so you can fish them out when they’re done and leave the beets to finish cooking. The carrots might take 15 minutes? I’m not positive. The beets can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on their size. They’re done when you can pierce them easily with a fork. Once they’re done you can peel the beets with your hands— the skins should come off easily. Cut up the beets.

While the beets and carrots are cooking, cook your lentils. I used french green/de puy lentils, which hold their shape really nicely and are delicious. You can cook them in water or in chicken broth. It’s kind of a waste of chicken broth, but also tasty. Do with that what you will. Anyway, bring your lentils and water/broth to a boil, toss in some salt, and simmer for 20- 40 minutes until tender. Drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil if they’re done before everything else.

Once you’ve got the vegetables and lentils going, make your mayonnaise. I made this mayonnaise recipe and dumped a bunch of curry powder in. So good!

Top the lentils with vegetables. Add crumbled feta or chevre if you have it and fresh herbs. Drizzle with curry mayonnaise.

It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

Filed under dinner lentils mayonnaise raw egg opportunities

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Dinner

A funny thing happens when I’m traveling (especially for work): I start to ache for home-cooked food, and yet when I get home, I feel like I have to learn to cook dinner all over again. And I’m not talking about learning to cut up onions, I’m talking about getting over the enormous hump of inertia. It’s just so haaaaaaaaaaard.

I feel the same way about waking up in the morning when I’m getting back from a work trip: oh SERIOUSLY? I have to do this again? I JUST GOT USED TO PACIFIC TIME.*

I finally decided last night that I couldn’t justify eating out again, so I made salmon with lentils and mustard-herb butter. It’s a marvelous recipe, in that you cook two otherwise healthy ingredients in an ungodly amount of butter and then top them with more butter.

Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

For mustard-herb butter

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon (I used a mix of parsley and fennel seeds, since I didn’t have tarragon. I’ve made it with the tarragon, and it’s very good.)
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For lentils

  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only) (I had only one gigantic leek)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For salmon

  • 4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the butter:

The recipe tells you to stir together the ingredients with a bit of salt and pepper, which is ridiculous. Those ingredients are not going to stir together. I mash them together with the back of my fork, or chop them together, depending on how cold the butter is. Set aside.

For the lentils:

Chop the leeks (wash them really well!) and cook them in butter over medium-low heat a non-stick skillet large enough to eventually hold the salmon.

Meanwhile, bring the lentils, water, and nearly a teaspoon of salt to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and drain.

Return the lentils to their pot, along with the leeks, and 3 tablespoons of the compound butter. Cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and lentils are heated through. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and salt & pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

For the salmon:

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat butter over medium heat in the skillet you used for the leeks. Wait until the foaming subsides, then add the salmon. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes per side, until just cooked through. I like to err on the side of undercooked for salmon, so I take it off the heat when the middle is still just losing that raw texture but still quite red.

Serve the salmon on top of the lentils and top the whole shebang with more compound butter. Save any leftover butter to use on lentils, or chicken, or steamed vegetables.

* Inevitably it is the last day of a trip that my body finally adjusts to pacific time, after days of waking up at 4:00 am and wandering the streets for a breakfast place that’s open before 6.

Poster encouraging healthy eating habits from the Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Between 1941 and 1943.

Filed under dinner lentils inertia