And Happy April Fools!
And Happy Second Birthday, A Veggie Venture! On this oh-so-unlikely occasion, will you forgive a trip down memory lane?
- The very first post, on a whim, on April 1st so that it could all be dropped as April 1 Tom Foolery
- The first comment, on Day Four. The second comment, on Day 89. (Yes, new bloggers, it is possible to blog on, and on, completely without notice. And yes, dear readers, your messages and comments mean so much.)
- My first Paper Chef entry. (I miss Paper Chef!)
- Thinking about why food blogging is so special.
- Cooking fennel in February and broccoli rabe in March.
- And then finally, Day 365 at last, the end of cooking a vegetable in a new way every single day for an entire year.
- After a long break, the beginning of Year Two.
- Hosting Sugar High Friday: the Surprise Inside edition.
- Meeting all the St. Louis food bloggers and writing about food blogging for Sauce Magazine.
- The World's Best Green Bean Casserole, the #1 post for five months now.
- Soup's On, a glorious collection of soup recipes.
And to those who know me in real life and know that I have a habit, ahem, of skipping birthdays, note the number of candles. I may be in this for the long haul, I'd best start skipping now.
Oh, right, the recipe! You arrived expecting a recipe so a recipe you shall get, a good one, too. It's another classic-Alanna recipe, one that's easily adaptable based on what's on hand and what's in season and what you like. The essentials are simply the lentils (preferably 'meaty' lentils such as French green lentils aka lentilles du Puy or a standby in my kitchen, the black lentils from Trader Joe's) and the vinegar-brightened vegetables. Even the goat cheese -- as lovely as it is -- is optional if you're counting calories. It all made a lovely bed for roast chicken.
And it's also a signal that in Year Three, I intend to explore 'plants' along with vegetables. Michael Pollan's opening to his January piece in the New York Times really struck me then and still sticks in my brain, now. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." So look for more posts with grains and legumes and seeds, also whole grain and nut flours, occasional fruits especially in savory offerings, all 'plants' of course, but a stretch or two from vegetables.
Any requests? This is largely unexplored territory for me, I'd love your suggestions and pointers. But never fear, this obsession with new ways to cook vegetables, mostly simply, shows no sign of waning.
NEXT TIME I'll slice the spinach into smaller bits before turning into the warm lentils. And I won't feel disappointed when the goat cheese melts into the warm lentils -- versus the big chunks in the magazine photo, &^%$ stylists, some times! -- because it still tastes great.
NEVER MISS A RECIPE! Just enter your e-mail address in the box in the sidebar. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.
WARM LENTIL SALAD with SPINACH & GOAT CHEESE
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 3 cups
3 cups salted water
3/4 cup meaty lentils such as green lentils, French lentils or black lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced small (or shallot)
1 carrot, quartered lengthwise and then cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
[celery, red pepper, other vegetables, diced]
2 tablespoons good vinegar (balsamic, malt, sherry, etc.)
6 ounces spinach, tough stems removed, cut into narrow strips
4 ounces goat cheese, broken into pieces
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook til done, about 30 minutes. (These took longer than I expected, keep tasting to know when done.) Drain.
Heat olive oil til shimmery in a skillet on MEDIUM. Add the onion and other vegetables as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, til crisp-tender. (You want some crunch.) Stir in the vinegar.
Combine hot lentils, vegetables, spinach and goat cheese until spinach 'cooks' from heat of lentils. Season to taste. Serve at once.