Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lentils. Yes, Lentils.

Hands up people:  who plans their meals a whole day in advance?  So as not to repeat a certain foodstuff, or to overload on another? Oh yeah.  Me neither.

Yesterday morning I had steel cut oats for breakfast - the kids had already eaten & gone by the time they were cooked, so I could've had a portion for four if I wanted.  For lunch I made lentil salad for a friend of mine, to balance out the crusts of grilled cheese that we were 'cleaning up' after the kids. For dinner my mother in law cooked a dish that was Torbjorn's childhood favorite - lentil stew on brown rice, topped with peanuts and raisins.  (What this says about my husband?  Whole 'nother post.)

Let's just say my system is feeling remarkably.... clean today.  But the point of this long and detailed report of my overly-fibrous diet is to say I'd do it all over again, I love the lentil so much. The salad yesterday was made with the tiny pitch-black "caviar lentils" I'd found at Trader Joes,  and their texture was perfect alongside exquisitely ripe avocado slices, some arugula leaves, and a sprinkling of goats cheese on top.

A salad - why not.  Let's pretend that snow isn't on the forecast for Friday.  Let's pretend that the freezing  rain that'll probably arrive instead won't knock all the beautiful cherry blossoms off the tree, and let's imagine the spring really is on its way and the days of huge salads in plain white bowls, eaten while bathing in the afternoon sun on your front porch are right around the corner.

Let's pretend I didn't just cross a new threshold into middle age by telling you about the fiber in my diet.

Crunchy Lentil Salad
from Jeanne Lemlin's Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

1 C lentils, picked over and rinsed (do not use mushy red lentils or big green ones. Use Puy lentils, or those caviar ones I mentioned.)
5 C water
1 bay leaf
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 carrot, minced
1/4 C finely diced red onion
2 T minced fresh parsley
1/4 C fruity olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove (pressed or minced)
1/4 t dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh minced, my preference)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste.

In medium saucepan, combine lentils, water, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still crunchy.  Stir occasionally.  Pour into a colander and discard the bay leaf.  Drain the lentils very well, and let them sit 5 minutes or so to be certain all teh water has drained out.

Place lentils in serving bowl and gently stir in the celery, carrot, onion and parsley.

Mix together the olive oil lemon juice garlic, thyme cumin salt and pepper.  Pour onto the lentil mixture, and carefully toss.  Serve at room temperature.


Emily@remodelingthislife said...

You can write about fiber all you want - I am always entertained.

And going to try this.

Are you vegetarian? (I am.)

The Empress said...

Oh, me and my lentils.

Being Colombian, a wonderful breakfast we used to have was rice and lentils.

Like a delish oatmeal.

What a way to start the day.

Varda said...

Love this!

With all this talk of lentils, you have reminded me that in my 20's one of my favorite things to make (and eat!) was lentil soup. I made it thick, so it was more of a stew.

It was perfect for cleaning out the vegetable bin of all the odds & ends: the single beet, broccoli turning yellow, celery gone a bit too soft or carrots a tad dry. Things not quite fresh enough to serve but not dead enough to throw away yet.

Hmmm, now to see if I have any lentils laying about...

Kristy said...

I think it sounds fabulous and fibrous. Love it!

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