lentil salad

Recent conversation with the boy.

Boy: Why don’t you blog about anything tasty anymore?
Me: What are you talking about? I blog about what I eat.
Boy: Yeah but none of that is tasty.
Me: It’s tasty to me.
Boy: No it’s not tasty. And we’ve grilled out and done tons of food in the smoker. Why don’t you blog about that? None of this rabbit food crap. I wanna see something interesting on the blog.
Me: Dude, i eat healthily during the day, so I blog about that stuff.
Boy: Dude, don’t call me dude.

So just for that, Oh Boy, you’re getting a blog post about lentil salad. This is me sticking my tongue out at you. NYAH.

Yes, I am mentally 12.

So moral of the story is, I’m trying to eat less meat and more vedge and grains. I’m home all the time these days - am currently in between jobs if you must know, although the new one starts Monday and fortunately it’s going to be an exclusively working from home deal. During the day, I’m trying to eat better than I used to. As I explained in the last food-related post, I thought I’d been doing okay on the ol’ MyPyramid thing, but turns out my evaluation wasn’t all that fabulous. Sort of a wakeup call, if you will.

A recent clean up of the pantry, brought on by an ant superhighway which forged it’s path across the closet floor, permitted me to evaluate just what we have in there. I found all kinds of things I didn’t know were hiding in there, including various things waaaaaaaaaay past their expiration date. But I also found some red lentils I think I’d bought from one of those big bins at Whole Foods. So I figured I’d do something with lentils for lunch one day this week.

See, I don’t know much about lentils, other than the kind you can get in a package from the grocery store which I usually stew up in the winter. I figured all lentils were alike, except some came in pretty colors. So while adapting the lentil salad recipe from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, I just unthinkingly poured in some of those red lentils… only to check on it five minutes later to discover a big pile of coral mush. Turns out these here red lentils are great for thickening up stews and soups (thanks for the tip, Patty), but not so great if you want them to retain their shape and texture. Go figure.

So I started over with the regular ol’ run of the mill lentils you can find anywhere, and ran with that.

Since I’m spending the majority of my days outside lately (in fact, I’m sitting out back in a bikini typing this while watching the NASCAR.com live webcast news conference, where they just finished interviewing Tony Stewart – I can multitask with the best of them), I like to eat things that can sit out at room temperature without affecting the flavor too much. This salad falls into that. If you like lentils, that is.

Lentil Salad, for two as a side or one if you’re super hungry - Adapted from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

½ cup regular Joe Shmo lentils
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (you’ll probably need more)
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, both white and green parts, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley
3 tablespoons cilantro
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 to 3 tablespoons feta, crumbled
Handful or two of arugula leaves

1. In a deep saucepan, add the lentils with enough water to cover by 3 inches. You can add chicken stock or veggie stock if you’d like instead of water, or do a mix of stock and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until done but not mushy (start checking them at the 15 minute mark – it could take up to 30 minutes depending on your lentils). Drain and toss into a mixing bowl with the vinegar and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Stir the lentils again; then add the olive oil, scallions, parsley, cilantro, cumin seed. Mix together. Taste; add more vinegar or cumin if you think it needs it.

3. To plate: add a couple of handfuls of arugula (or other green if you want) to a shallow serving bowl and top with the lentil mixture. Sprinkle the feta on top.

This would go really well with some grilled lamb chops or grilled shrimp, if you were to serve it with meat, which I didn’t. I ate the whole thing in one sitting for lunch, along with a glass of wine. Or maybe that was two glasses of wine – ah, who’s counting. I’m in between jobs; I can afford to have wine with lunch.


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