Monday, January 12, 2009

From the top shelf

My obsession with lentils started on Thursday night, when I took a curried apple and lentil salad to a potluck (recipe below). For the next few days, if I wasn’t making lentils, I was thinking about them.

Even today at the journalism department computer lab, I flicked a mashed lentil off my shirt. I’m not sure how it got there, but it likely has something to do with the bacon and lentil dish I ate for lunch. I know. Sorry. "No food in the lab". But I didn’t eat lunch in the lab. It was the lentil that followed me there.

My crush on lentils isn’t forever, but there are more recipes to try before I put them back on the top shelf with my other infrequent legumes and beans. My kitchen spotlight will fade away.

But before it fades, let me say this: Lentils are easy. Spend almost no money. Soak them for almost no time. Pay almost no attention to them while they simmer. Serve. Enjoy.

Apple Lentil Salad
Adapted from "Simply in Season", a collection of recipes from the Mennonite Central Committee.

1 cup of dry lentils, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
3 tart apples, cored and finely cubed
1/4 cup lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and curry and heat up until just bubbly. Drain the lentils and add them to the pan. Fry briefly, then add the water. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir once in a while, add water if needed, and drain any excess when the lentils are cooked. When the lentils are just cooled, add all other ingredients.

The salad can be eaten warm or cool, but I prefer it after it's been left in the fridge for a few hours.

This week

I received a copy of Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie—my guide to making you a better cook. He's lovely. He uses phrases like "bash up" for your rosemary, and "Serve! Eat!" for his Super squid linguini recipe. Yes, Super squid. And I think Jamie's just super.

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