Coconut Lentil Curry

Not sure if COVID-19 has stopped the May celebration of lentils, but I won’t let it stop me.

The following recipe’s name should be something along the lines of Cathy’s Coconut Lentil Curry Recipe Modified from Keith’s Recipe who Modified it from the Endless Meal’s Web Page who Modified it from a Cookbook Called Vij’s at Home. That, my friends, is how recipes and cooking works.

I don’t know what it is about spring and being isolated to avoid fast spreading disease, but I have been motivated the last few weeks to create lentil dishes to change up our regular diet. Lentils are of course a “health” food, and our dear Canada is the world’s leading producer of this mighty pulse. It provides protein, folate, fibre, iron, potassium and manganese. Yum!

Here’s what I did for my version:

What you need:

A big pot
Oil (about 2 tbsp more or less)
Cumin, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Coriander, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Garlic, 2 heads, finely chopped
2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
Ginger, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Turmeric, ground (2 tbsp)
4 tsp salt
2 cups dried brown lentils
Cayenne pepper (1 tbsp or to taste)
4 – 6 cups water
400 mL or so coconut milk
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup chopped parsley

Spices can be adjusted to your own taste. If uncertain, start with a smaller amount, and build on that as it simmers.

How to:

Heat your oil in your trusty pot. Over medium heat, add you chopped garlic and TEND TO IT. You want it cook, but you don’t want it to burn. After spending the time peeling and chopping two heads of garlic you don’t want to ruin your hard work by burning it. Tending to it means you stand there, wooden spoon in hand and stir it with love until it’s just right. Just right means just on this side of turning golden brown.

Add your spices, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Stir. Add your two cans of crushed tomatoes, and stir. Keep the heat up, but watch for splurts and splats of tomato leaping out of the pot. If that happens, lower the temperature.

Add your two cups of rinsed and picked over lentils, and water. Stir. Bring this to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and let it simmer for as long as you can stand it. Watch that it doesn’t get too dry. If it does, add more water. I usually keep the kettle on and add boiling water.

Towards the end of cooking, add your coconut milk and tomatoes. Let this cook for another half hour or so. Finish with about a cup’s worth of chopped parsley.

My predecessors look like they serve this with rice, which would be a perfect pairing.

DON’T FORGET: Imbibe in your favourite beverage. If that has alcohol, all the better. Cheers, friends. I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes.

Kermit!

IMG_1433
I’m not trying to be artsy. Michael has taken over our kitchen table with jigsaw puzzles since Christmas.

No, that’s not Kermit the Frog. What that is, is a smoothie. Made with spinach. Pear. Strawberries. Banana. Water. But mainly spinach.

I don’t mind my green leafies, as long as they are prepared by a chef with some sort of combination of goat cheese and warmed pecans with a drizzle of some sort of concoction that does not contain guar gum. But when it comes to a regular supper at home, when time and space in our galley kitchen is precious, time devoted to making a salad always seems to come last. Sure, salads is Michael’s specialty (as is grilled cheese sandwiches) and we could share the kitchen, but he and I both know we’d end up in couples therapy in a matter of weeks. Part of the success of our marriage is a strict, I cook, you clean. You cook, I clean policy. That comma signifies the space and time we allow each other to get on with our business. There may be punishment for the party that dares to cross the threshold while one of us is working in the kitchen, but that’s for another type of blog, and I tap the pink fur lined cuffs under the cupboard out of sight with my toe.

Back to the smoothie.

Starts with my Ironman, Death Race, marathon and triathalon racing Auntie Ev. Oh yes, she’s fit as a fiddle. She doesn’t look her age. And she eats vegetables for fun. She started bringing a green smoothie concoction to my Mom. I looked at them, through the blue tint of the plastic bottle and would silently gag in my head. Mom would try to convince me that “they really don’t taste that bad!”.  Right Mom. Sure.

Then my sister is ranting and raving about the new Nutri Ammo** machine she bought. She claims she never felt better! More energy! Sleeping better! Taking stairs with a lightness of foot! And to tell you the truth, she’s been looking great and does have more pep in her step.

I cautiously asked her, what do you put in your smoothies? She replied, “anything!”.

So I searched the net and found a Nutri Ammo** machine at a national tire store. Stopped also at the grocery store and bought a bag of spinach, celery, carrots, apples, pears, grapes, pineapple, mango. Felt an early rush of healthfulness at the checkout line with my order of fresh healthy foods. I felt strong enough to resist the bars of chocolate, bags of potato chips, lip balm and magazines.

I got home, cleaned the Nutri Ammo** machine, read the instructions, and added spinach, apple, strawberries and water to it. I gave it a whir. I took it out of the machine, poured the green stuff in a glass and took a tentative sip. Hm. Not bad. Not bad at all. Before you knew it, I ate (drank) two cups worth of spinach! I did the “I ate two-cups of spinach and didn’t gag once dance” in the kitchen, and had visions of myself prancing and throwing back my head in joy on a beautiful sandy beach in my two-piece bathing suit. Then of course I had visions of all the loose skin I might have as the result of my dramatic weight loss, then wondered if they have Spanx bathing suits.

So how to introduce our new healthy lifestyle to Michael? I presented him with his glass. He took a sip. Did the eyebrow raise of approval, and claimed it wasn’t so bad. He did declare honey or sugar would help, and I immediately scolded him that I will NEVER get in a two-piece Spanx bathing suit if I keep adding sugar to my food.

Michael has affectionately named the green smoothie, a Slurry (TM). We are trademarking the name because we have visions of Slurry machines and stores all over North America,  Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Russia. We have visions of happy fit people in two piece Spanx bathing suits feeling renewed vigor playing volleyball on sandy beaches. It’s a happy vision with dollar, pound, Euro and ruble signs in our eyes.

There are several machines on the market that will “chew your food for you” (our Slurry(TM) Machine’s tag line). The Nutri-Ammo** is just one version, is a reasonable price, and is not that flimsy despite being a Seen on TV machine. There are more industrial models available like the Vita-blend** at Costco. Then there is the granddaddy blender of them all, The Blendtec Blender. It blends everything. Check it out.

So we’ll see if my new found love of spinach Slurry(TM) will give me a new lease on life. There is something satisfying about reaching the end of the day knowing that I’ve eaten my 7 – 8 servings of vegetables and fruits.

** Name changed.

 

 

 

 

Lentil Dahl

As the moon moves into Taurus, and the sun into Leo, my mind gazes to the empty bowl of sugary grapefruit slice candy, and wine gums beside me. Again, another Monday looms with resolve to “eat right” and clean up my act. Best way to tackle this is to cook in advance. More often than not, I fool myself into thinking that I will be able to prepare breakfast and lunch just before I leave for work, and other than my token apple-a-day, the rest usually sits unprepared in the fridge.

But not this week! This week, it’s Eat Like A Vegetarian Who Eats Chicken week, and I’m kicking it off with steel cut oats for breakfast, followed by fresh fruit, and a lunch of lentil dahl and brown rice. Supper will be chicken breast cooked in olive oil, oregano, mint and lemon juice, served on brown rice, with a side salad. Yum. Yum.

Lentil dahl, my version, couldn’t be easier. Start with your holy trinity of onion, carrots and celery. Saute until soft.Add garlic, chopped ginger (I use the jarred stuff, my being can’t chop ginger into fine enough pieces). Add generous spoons of curry and cumin. Add enough boiling water or vegetable stock (I use Knorr Vegetable Stock Mix) to cover generously. Hard to measure this, but I would guess about 2.5 cups worth. Add 2 cups green lentils. Salt and pepper taste. Let the whole works simmer on the stove for about an hour.

In the end, you should should have something that looks like the above. In the background, you see a pot of brown rice. Enough to last me the week, since my dear husband will not eat brown rice unless disguised as white rice.

Hopefully I can carry the momentum past Wednesday and I won’t be posting a blog on how to make double-double chocolate cheesecake brownies.  😉