When The Husband’s Away The Lentils Will Play Curry

Curry has many meanings, but my fave definition, “sauce”, was shared by a cookbook writer years ago. He also offered a strategy for a quick lentil curry that at least two of us love. My daughter and I have eaten this dish straight from the pan, and although I’m not sure I adhere to all of the cultural particulars, this is the basic outline. Fast, vegan, dairy and gluten free. Feel free to vary by taste. When the lentils are cooked, it takes less than 30 minutes.

1 dry cup green lentils, cooked according to package instructions

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chapped

1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped (don’t touch your eyes)

Two handfuls cherry tomatoes, any color, halved

1/2 cup of broth or water

Handful of cilantro, chopped

Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (if you have it, I didn’t)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 pinches cayenne

1/2 a lime

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium heat. Cook onion for 8-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic, jalapeño and spices with half the salt at first. Cook for a couple of minutes to get the spices going. Add as many tomatoes as you like for a few minutes, stirring on occasion. The skins may wrinkle, 2-3 minutes. Combine the lentils and give it a good whirl to combine everything.

If anything sticks at any time, lower heat. Add enough liquid to make some sauce but not a lentil drink. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes.

Give it a taste, adjust spices. Stir in cilantro and squeeze the lime before servicing.

Enjoy,

B

Meat free and Monday Pudding

I'm not advocating for weeknight dessert after reading the latest in the NYT's from noted food and health doctor Robert Lustig regarding sugar consumption. BUT as a treat, this “Best-Ever Vanilla Pudding” from Better Homes and Gardens works just fine. Hands down it eclipses powdered pudding!

A couple of notes, the first step can take a bit, at least 15 minutes by my watch. But don't rush milk that's thickening, or adding eggs to hot liquid. You'd regret it.

Also the only true way to have completely lump free pudding would be to strain it. I didn't and it was fine, but a table topic nonetheless (ingrates :).

I may try the recipe again with 1/4 cup less of sugar. It's a little sweet and I suspect it would come together anyway.

And think about a dash of cinnamon – couldn't hurt and supposedly great for cardiovascular health. So that's something.

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

3 cups half-and-half or whole milk

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

In medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Add dairy and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add 1 cup hot liquid to egg yolks while stirring, then whisk egg mixture into pot. Bring to gentle boil and reduce heat. Cook 2 more minutes. Take off heat, adding butter, vanilla and salt.

Pour into 6 bowls, let stand 45 minutes, serve or chill.

Whip cream and/or berries optional. Or think about mini chips in that bad boy!

Eat – B

 

Meat Free Monday Pasta

In an effort to save $ I planned to use half a head of Napa cabbage shredded with pasta, cheese, and leftover cream. Plus I was parsimoniously planning to turn stale bread into crusty crumbs. But that plan bit the dust as I unfurled leaf after mildewed cabbage leaf. Gross.

That left the cauliflower. While a fan of roasted veg, I couldn't bear it again. Thus “the way better than I have any right to expect it to be meat free Monday pasta” was born. And I still got to make crusty crumbs!

Ingredients

At least 4 inches baguette or some other loaf, ground in food processor

4 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/2 head large, or a whole head of small cauliflower, cut into florets

12 ounces pasta of choice

1/4 cup cream (frankly 1/2 is better)

1/3 cup Italian cheese of choice

5 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Nub of butter (optional and not needed if using 1/2 cup cream!)

Start pasta water with a big sprinkle of salt. When water boils, add pasta. Add cauliflower when there's about 4 minutes left of cooking time. Before draining save 3/4 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile heat large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add a teaspoon-ish chopped garlic. When it smells good (:30) add the crumbs, sprinkle with salt and stir occasionally until crunchy. Put in separate bowl and wipe skillet.

As pasta finishes cooking, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet over medium heat, plus remaining garlic. When it smells good (:30) add drained pasta and cauliflower. Toss. Adding at least 1/2 cup cooking liquid – it will keep pasta and garlic from sticking to the pan. Plus it gets absorbed. Add cream and cheese. Stir. Top with crusty crumbs.

Eat – B

BTW – It really only takes 20 minutes despite the lengthy instruction.

BBTW – why over share ingredients. My non cheese lover couldn't tell you what was in the dish.