Good Morning!

IMG_7132You know how it goes. Those two overripe bananas on your kitchen counter have been attracting fruit flies for days, so you either need to put the bananas in the freezer where they’ll take up space for a month or two before you finally just throw them away, or, you can bake banana bread.

Two things usually stop me from baking banana bread. The first is that cup of white sugar that most recipes call for. A cup of sugar just seems like too much for something that calls itself “bread.” The second is that I usually end up eating 75% of the loaf myself, which make that cup of sugar seem extra evil.

This time around, I felt a little better about eating most of the banana bread myself over the course of 3 days because I made Smitten Kitchen’s Crackly Banana Bread (with slight modification). Made with white whole wheat flour, coconut oil, a bit of maple syrup and a handful of crunchy millet it’s just as good as regular old banana bread. I don’t see any reason to ever go back.

I made one modification to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, cutting out the light brown sugar entirely and just using 1/3 cup maple syrup. The bread was still sweet enough for me. When it first comes out of the oven you might not think so, but wait a day. This banana bread tastes best on day 2 and 3, sweet and very moist. The millet is optional; I happened to have some in my pantry that I’ve been trying to use up, so I went for it. It adds a slight and appealing crunchiness to the bread.

The other reason I felt less guilty about having a slice of banana bread after every meal for 3 days is because banana bread isn’t the only thing I’ve got baking in the oven, if you know what I mean. And Mama is hungry.

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This abstract belly shot doesn’t really capture the full glory of my growing midsection, 28 weeks (or is it 27?) and counting. Second pregnancies are much different than the first ones, aren’t they? For starters, I keep losing track of how far along I am instead of obsessively tracking and charting every minute. I’m sitting in a cafe right now drinking a blend of decaf and caffeinated coffee, although for the first pregnancy I swore off caffeine entirely. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or because I’m chasing a 3 1/2 year old around or both, but my body just can’t make it through the day without at list a little hit of caffeine. Prenatal vitamins? I took them religiously during my first pregnancy. This time, I gave them up at week 8 when they were making my horrible nausea unbearable and never got back in the habit of taking them daily. Yoga? Ha! I have neither the time or the ability to twist my midsection, since this 2nd pregnancy belly is about the same size now, at the beginning of the third trimester, as it was the day I gave birth to O.

None of which means I’m any less in love with this little one. It’s not that I’m thinking less about this baby, it’s just that I’m more confident everything will be fine. Second children might get less undivided attention than the first born, but they also get the gift of less anxious, paranoid, nutso parents.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get out of this cafe. Three out of the four tables around me are talking about “the industry” and I can’t take it anymore….their latest project that was well received at film festivals, the set design that is completely wrong and doesn’t capture the mood, the script they’re working on bla bla bla bla. Sometimes I try to remember what people were talking about at coffee shops in Seattle when I overheard their conversations. Life, I guess?

The New Banana Bread

Ingredients

3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom (optional)
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons uncooked millet (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with fork. Whisk in egg, then oil,  syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom then stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then millet.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.

 

 

 

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A New Kind of Potato Salad

NY1

We recently returned from our yearly trip to New York, getting in on the last days of winter (snow!) and the first days of spring (blossoms!). We usually go in May when the city is really in bloom, but now that we’re slaves to the spring break schedule of O’s school, April it had to be.

NYspring

Statue

We go to visit family and friends, and as a lovely side get to soak up everything else that New York has to offer. Not so long ago, this involved spending a great deal of time in restaurants and bars and wandering through neighborhoods and shops and bookstores. Since O was born, we’ve spent a lot more time in parks, which isn’t too horrible once you let go of the idea that a trip to NY means long lunches that morph into cocktail hour.

Sorin and I did sneak into the city one afternoon alone, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, and spent a few hours wandering. Without planning it, we ended up on all our old streets, walking the same walk we’ve done a hundred times. First through the small quiet streets of the West Village, then a quick turn through Soho and a slower one through Nolita, where we stumbled onto our friend Clare’s new store,

ClareV

…and then on to Ed’s Lobster Bar for a bowl of mussels.

LobsterBar

We see and do a lot less in New York then we use to now that we have a toddler along for the ride, but really, we’ve seen it all before so there isn’t a frantic need to cover every inch of the city. Sometimes I bemoan the fact that our trips are always to same cities but there’s an upside, too. It’s nice visiting places away from home that feel like home in a whole different way.

As often happens, one of our most memorable meals was lunch with our friend Elizabeth, who cooks food that make you feel like you’re sitting on a roof deck in Tuscany or the south of France. We had an asparagus and ricotta tart and a lovely side of roasted potatoes and little cherry tomatoes that had burst open, begging you to soak up their juices with bread.

As soon as we got home, I made something similar for About.com and it’s a dish that’s going to be showing up on my table all summer long. Served at room temperature, this roasted potato salad is my new favorite version of traditional potato salad.

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Or, maybe this one is my favorite. Made with roasted potatoes, goat cheese, olive oil and dill it’s closer to traditional potato salad but without any mayo.
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I’m torn, really. They’re both so tasty. Leftovers of both are quite delicious tossed with greens for a quick salad at lunch.

Now, we’re back to spring in LA which means 90 degrees one day and 65 the next. Fewer blossoms, but more bright, bold colors. The aroma of jasmine is in the air. Whenever we return from New York, for the first few days our little corner of LA feels like a small town.  The view isn’t quite the same as the one Sorin shot of the skyline across the East River, but it’s not too bad, eh?

Echo Park

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Good Things

The best word to sum up March is “meh.” I didn’t post much here in March, because every time I sat down to write that’s pretty much the only word that came to mind.  I have never been a fan of March. Even when you don’t live in a gray climate, March still feels like an endless stretch of monotonous gray.

Even yesterday, with only 24 hours of March to get through I couldn’t quite shake the March blues. And so I forced myself to focus on good things.

Like finally get a clothesline hung after four years of good intentions. At last, we can take advantage of all this California sunshine.
clothesline

Also in our front garden, I expect great things from our little tomato and basil plants this spring and summer. We bought them from a neighbor who holds a tomato sale in her yard every year of heirloom tomato plants she’s grown from seed. It was so lovely and inspiring and so much better than buying from the dreaded Home Depot.

tomato_plant

Another good thing: discovering a new art/science project with Miss O. Some moms on Pinterest swore their kids were occupied for hours  with baking soda/vinegar art (who are these kids?).  I assume that while their children entertained themselves all afternoon the women ate bon bons and planned more glorious home art projects. O was occupied by this project just long enough for me to go pee and answer one email, but in our house that’s a victory. Plus, it’s easy to set up and she really loved it.

bakingsoda_art

Baking soda and colored vinegar art project for kids (best for those over 3 yrs). Spread out baking soda in a pan. Fill a few bowls with white vinegar colored with food coloring. Give them an eye dropper and watch the baking soda fizz and colors swirl.

More good things:

….a Sunday pancake breakfast with friends. Why are diner pancakes always better than homemade?
….our yearly trip to New York coming up soon
….Mad Men is starting again
…..O and I singing along with the Beattles to I am a Walrus on our way to preschool
…stumbling upon things like this in my house. I’m not sure what exactly is going on here, but at least now I know where my favorite orange scarf is.
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…and also, flipping through my recipe box instead of trolling the internet for recipes
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….and finding old recipes that I haven’t made in forever. Like this black bean and mango salad. If you’re still fighting some winter blues, this is just the salad to snap you out of it.

Black bean & mango salad

Black bean & mango salad

Black Bean and Mango Salad
Serve about 4

For the dressing, puree in a food processor or blender:

1 mango (or 1 cup of defrosted, frozen mango chunks from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
A dash of cayenne or hot sauce or a jalapeno pepper
Salt to taste

In a large bowl mix together:
1 or 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed. If I’m adding shrimp (1 pound) or salmon to the salad, I use 1 can of beans. If you’re skipping the seafood, use 2 cans.
2 avocados, chopped
2  handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Chopped cilantro

Add salt to taste. I let everyone add their own dressing to their own bowl.

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Coconut Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl

Coconut Brown Rice

Coconut Brown Rice for Breakfast

A few weeks ago, on practically the only in day in February when one or all of us didn’t have a horrible cold, Sorin and I played hooky and went on a day date.  Dropped the kid off at preschool,  went out for a late breakfast and saw a matinee.

If you haven’t gone on a date day, they’re pretty great.  After you have kids, playing hooky from work and your parental duties for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon on a random Wednesday feels incredibly indulgent and downright rebellious. Unlike real night dates, you don’t have to find a babysitter or dig into your retirement account to pay the sitter $60 for the evening and you’re not so exhausted that you kind of wish you could just put on your pajamas and go to bed.  I’m not saying that day dates should completely replace evening outings, but I’m all in favor of making the day date a semi-regular thing.

We ate at a sweet little restaurant I’ve wanted to go to for about a year. It’s tucked into one of the many random and rather ugly LA streets that at first glance doesn’t reveal anything special. But then you notice the little restaurant with a few small tables out front and a really stylish little home decor shop next door and another shop next to that and suddenly you realize you’ve stumbled onto a little strip of lovely amid all the ugly.

SQIRL started out as a girl making jam and eventually turned into a cafe. The place is so perfectly California that it’s a little embarrasing, but the food is so fresh and tasty you end up loving it instead of making fun of it. We all have someone in our life we could never take to this restaurant, a person who would look at a menu with choices like the “Kokuho Rose brown rice bowl with sorrel pesto, preserved Meyer lemon and lacto fermented hot sauce” or the “open face brioche toast with kale and tomatillo puree” and think, you’ve got to be kidding me.

I, on the other hand, could happily eat at SQIRL every week.

I was inspired to make my own super simple version of one of their brown rice bowls at home a few days later. Although I couldn’t eat brown rice for breakfast every day, it’s a welcome change from the usual breakfast grains and cereals. Simmered in coconut milk and topped with fresh berries and maple syrup it’s really quite delicious.

You could also make a regular batch of short grain brown rice using this perfect cooking method, and have it in the fridge all week to top with savory things like a poached egg or shaved parmigiano cheese or arugula and olive oil and prosciutto.

Coconut Brown Rice

1 cup soaked short grain brown rice (see below)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water (double this if you haven’t soaked your rice overnight)
A pinch of salt (less than 1/4 tsp.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Is presoaking brown rice really necessary? I have no idea. But I can’t lose any more of my life to time spent reading about it, so I figure  why not presoak it? It can’t hurt anything and it might help.

If you’d like to presoak your rice overnight, then cover it with water and add a spoonful of plain yogurt (optional). Let it sit out on the counter overnight.

Whether or not you presoak your rice, rinse it well before cooking.

Put all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook, covered, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but don’t expect it to be soft and mushy like white rice. Brown rice has a chewy texture. The rice will absorb most of the coconut milk while it cooks.

Presoaked rice will take about 30 minutes to cook. I haven’t tried this recipe with un-soaked rice but I’d guess you might have to double the cooking time.

This rice can be made ahead of time and reheated for the next few days. I add some extra milk and warm it in the microwave, then top with berries and a little maple syrup.

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Kosheri Dumplings

Kosheri Dumplings

Over the years I’ve compiled a mental list of foods (pad thai, almond milk, yogurt) that for me, are simply not worth making at home. No matter how many other bloggers swear how easy they are to make and how amazing the homemade results are, in my kitchen it’s just not happening. Maybe the results are mediocre, maybe the time and effort just aren’t worth it to me, or maybe I just can’t deal with another soggy pouch of almond pulp in my kitchen.

And then, there are recipes that completely win me over. Goodbye, frozen Trader Joe’s potstickers with the weird aftertaste. Hello, homemade dumplings.

kosheri potstickers

Homemade dumplings/potstickers are a little bit time consuming, but for me, totally worth the effort. After one batch, I’m obsessed with all the new combinations I can make. Swiss chard and mushrooms! Carrot, ground pork and cilantro! Spinach and cheese!

Dumplings, I’ve found, are the perfect vegetable delivery vehicle for kids. But really, who doesn’t like a dumpling? Serve them at your next party as finger food, make a big batch for dinner and freeze half for later, pack homemade dumplings in lunches or as a snack to take to the park.

Kosheri Dumplings
Makes 48 or more dumplings

This recipe proves that just about anything goes when it comes to dumpling filling. If you like pierogies, then you’ll love this starchy dumpling stuffed with an Egyptian inspired blend of rice, lentils, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little bit of Swiss chard.

Kosheri dumpling with sour cream

Kosheri dumpling with sour cream

Ingredients

3/4 cup green lentils
3/4 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves finely chopped and stems discarded (or saved for another meal)
1 package circular or square-shaped dumpling, wonton, or gyoza wrappers. Any size is fine but slightly larger ones (4.5-inch) are easier to fold
Sunflower oil for frying

Rinse the lentils and rice separately.

Place the lentils in pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked but still slightly firm. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Just before the butter starts to brown, add the rice, 1 1/2 cups water, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and place a thin towel over the pan. Put the lid back on over the towel and let the pan sit for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork.

While the lentils and rice are cooking, saute the Swiss chard in a drizzle of oil until the leaves are fully wilted but still bright green, 5 minutes. Lightly salt.

Combine the lentils, rice and Swiss chard. Add salt to taste.

Lightly flour a work surface (I use sweet rice flour, but regular flour would work fine). Set out your dumpling wrappers, a small bowl of water and a large sheet pan dusted with flour or covered with parchment paper.

Grab a dumpling wrapper, dip your finger in the bowl of water and wet the perimeter. Place a small teaspoon of filling in the middle. Fold the wrapper over and pinch it shut along the edges. Fold in the two corners (if using a square wrapper) and pinch them shut. If any part of the wrapper doesn’t stay shut, brush it with a little water and pinch it shut again. After a while, you’ll find your rhythm.

folding_potstickers

Folding Potstickers

At this point you can freeze the dumplings or cook them. (Freeze on the sheet pan then transfer to a freezer bag. Later, cook them by placing the frozen dumplings directly into a hot pan with oil, like below)

Heat a thin layer of sunflower oil over medium-high heat in a wide nonstick pan with a lid. When the oil is hot, cook a batch of dumplings for about 2 minutes until the bottom is brown and crispy.

Pour 1/4 cup water in the pan and quickly put on the lid. Turn the heat to medium-low and steam the dumplings for 3 to 5 minutes until most of the water is gone and the wrappers look translucent. Remove the lid, return the heat to medium-high and saute for a minute or two, shaking the pan a bit as the dumplings crisp up.

Serve kosheri dumplings hot or at room temperature with sour cream.

More Potsticker Recipes
Yellow Split Pea Potstickers
Pork and Shrimp Potstickers
Shiitake Mushroom and Tofu Potstickers

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Post Super Bowl Detox Casserole

Wild Rice and Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole

Wild Rice and Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole

I’ve been craving casserole lately. Both the comforting flavor and the guarantee of leftovers. But what I really wanted was a casserole that didn’t contain cheese or a can of cream of anything. Especially after the onslaught of Super Bowl recipes involving cheese layered with cheese layered with cheese. There is still a full bowl of artichoke dip sitting in my fridge with one small corner eaten, where Sorin and I each took a small dip. I need to throw it out, but I don’t even want to look at it.

Artichoke dip is not good. I know this is an Un-American sentiment, but next time you dip your chip into a thick bowl of it take careful note of the flavor. You might notice there isn’t actually any flavor. Only a texture that lies somewhere between glue and melted cheese, a texture that can only be achieved by melting together an obscene amount of dairy products (and possibly mayonnaise) that have no right being together in one bowl.

As I was searching for casserole recipes that didn’t involve copious amounts of cheese, I realized this was quite Un-American too. We love our melted cheese, don’t we? More often than not, I too fall into the pro-melted cheese demographic but this week, I just wasn’t in the mood.

So I read more casserole recipes than any person should over the course of an afternoon and we ended up with this really delicious, really comforting wild rice and whole wheat orzo casserole on our table. No cheese, no canned anything. Just veggies and whole grains. The creaminess comes from little chunks of eggplant, first fried lightly in olive oil then baked with carrot, red pepper and tomatoes.

eggplant_casserole

I was a little worried about the wild rice/whole wheat orzo combination tasting a little too hearty, but it’s perfect. Earthy, nutty, toothsome. How often do you get to use that word?

Did you know that wild rice is a marsh grass that grows in water? I had no idea. I guess I had never really sat down and thought about wild rice before.

O, I admit, was not overly fond of this casserole and instead has been chowing down on a big batch of chicken schnitzel her father made earlier in the week. But Sorin and I have happily made a dinner and several lunches out of it. If I had some peppery arugula in the house, I think it would make the perfect salad on the side.

In other exciting news around here, I tried to make one of those calming glitter bottles and this is what happened:

glitter_bottle

Understandably, O is not impressed. I swear I followed the instructions exactly but my glitter settles in about 6.2 seconds, instead of 3 minutes. It is neither calming nor relaxing nor fun to watch glitter drop the bottom of a plastic water bottle in 6 seconds.

Crafting for me is probably like cooking for some of you. I follow the instructions exactly and yet, things never turn out quite right. I’ve re-read the instructions a dozen times on a dozen different websites but there doesn’t seem to be much room for error. Somehow, though, I managed to make the only glitter bottle on the internet that doesn’t work. Now I’m all stressed out about this stupid calming glitter bottle and keep trying to figure out what went wrong. Maybe I need to add more glitter glue? Suggestions welcome, all you crafting geniuses out there.

Wild Rice and Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole
This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella that she adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients

2 smallish eggplant (weighing a combined total of around 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. You don’t want the pieces much bigger than this or they won’t cook all the way.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 teaspoons tomato paste
2 (medium) or 3 (small) tomatoes, chopped
1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice blend (I used Lundberg wild blend)
1 3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
lemon zest grated from 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

Instructions

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and simmer over medium, maintaining a gentle boil. Cook until just tender, but you don’t need to cook it as long as the package suggests since you’ll be baking it too. I simmered my wild rice blend about 30 minutes. Drain the rice to remove any remaining water.

At the same time, sprinkle your eggplant chunks generously with salt and let them sit in a colander for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, rinse well and pat the eggplant dry on a towel.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1/4 cup of olive oil. When you can smell the olive oil in the air and it starts to pop just a bit, add the eggplant. Don’t stir it for several minutes; you want to give the eggplant time to lightly brown. Fry the eggplant for a total of about 8 minutes, stirring only a few times. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan plus the carrots, bell pepper and onion. Again, saute for about 8 minutes until the veggies are lightly browned. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the tomato paste and stir it well into the veggies for a minute or two.  Then stir in the tomatoes, orzo, par-cooked rice, water, salt, lemon zest, oregano and eggplant.

Transfer to a casserole pan (I use an oval 3 quart dish). Cover with a lid or foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more.

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Lentil Chili

This one’s for all you housebound, half-frozen friends in subzero temperatures waiting for your world to thaw. What you need is a big pot of something delicious simmering on the stove, something that doesn’t take too much effort but will feed the family for a day or two.

lentil_chiliLike a big pot of lentil bean and veggie chili.

Confession: I forgot to put veggies in mine. Well, not entirely. I did saute come carrots and onion and add a can of whole tomatoes, but I meant to add bell peppers and zucchini, too. Once I had the chili simmering in the pot, I turned around and there they were, 2 bell peppers and a zucchini, just sitting on the counter starting at me. Oh, well. That’s what happens when you’re cooking with a 3 year old.

Second confession: I adapted this recipe from an Ina Garten recipe for stewed tomatoes and lentils via Smitten Kitchen, and I actually like her version a little better, using curry powder instead of chili seasonings. The curry version is especially good with sauteed greens (like Swiss chard) on the side. So make whichever version makes you hungry, this one for chili, or that one for simple stewed tomatoes with lentils. Either way, make sure to top it with a large dollop of whole fat Greek yogurt or sour cream.

For both versions, I use black lentils instead of green lentils. I like the way they hold their shape, giving the dish more texture. Plus, you can occupy a 3 year old for a solid five minutes by giving them the task of rinsing the black lentils in a big bowl of water. They’ll be mesmerized both by the feel and the color of the beans.

black lentils

black lentils

Although over here in LA the weather is far from frigid, I’ve been a little bit housebound anyway, focusing on spring cleaning. Since LA doesn’t have spring, January has always felt like a great time to shoo away all the dust bunnies, sort closets, scan a year’s worth of receipts I was supposed to be taking out of my wallet and scanning on a daily basis, and generally taking care of all those little tasks I’m sick of seeing on my to-do list. Like hemming the pants that I’ve worn too long for a year, or surreptitiously removing a few of the 7,000 stuffed animals that have taken over O’s room (she hasn’t missed any of them yet) or finally washing out and deflating the blow-up turtle pool in our backyard that has become a swimming hole for raccoons.

All of it is incredibly boring and tedious, but I really feel like I need to start with a clean slate this year. The cobwebs must be swept out before I can really get down to the business of being productive and creative and successful and all that. Or maybe I’m just procrastinating. But at least I’ll be a procrastinator with well-organized closets, and that’s something. Right?

Lentil Chili
Adapted from the delicious lentils with stewed tomatoes on Smitten Kitchen.

I had intended to also add a few chopped bell peppers and zucchini to this pot of chili, but forgot. I think they’d be quite good.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or pressed
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup black or green lentils
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Instructions:

Break up and squish the canned tomatoes in a large bowl with your hands or give them a few whirls in a food processor. Rinse the lentils. Set both aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally. If using other veggies, like bell peppers or zucchini, add them now and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, spices and salt.

Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Black lentils, even when tender, will have a little bit of firmness to them. Turn off the heat and let the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season with salt to taste.

Serve with a big dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

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