Tuesday, August 07, 2007

French Lentil Eggplant Stew, Pesto Tomato on Lemon Sourdough, Chocolate 'Chips'

French lentils are tasty, nutritious, and easy to cook with; simply add 3 times water or broth to lentils, bring to a boil, and then, over low heat, simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes till done to the level of softness you want. To make them more interesting, I always first start with sauteeing some vegetables, add some spices, then add the liquid and lentils. I'm overdue as I've not cooked with French lentils since the New Year's dinner that I prepared for my parents.

So, I just chopped half of a large shallot into small cubes (less than 1/4"), maybe a quarter cup of eggplant into 1/4" cubes, a medium green bell pepper into thin 1/2" strips, and a half red jalapeno into small cubes. I started the shallot and eggplant sauteeing and a few minutes later, when the eggplant started turning clear, added the bell pepper, sauteeing for another minute or so. Then, I added maybe 2/3 cup lentils and three times as much water, as well as a cube of vegan bouillon, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper (I am switching to using more black instead of pink peppercorns - I am finding that pink peppercorns are usually too soft to grind well, and are great just tossed into food as is), as well as a pinch of turmeric. If I had remembered in time, I would have also added a half teaspoon or so of cumin to the last 30 seconds of the saute.

The lentils were fairly soft after a half hour and there was still liquid left; it will be good to store the leftovers and my wife may be able to enjoy it as a dhal soup for lunch. The lentils tasted great and I only wish I had included more eggplant. I served several slices of lemon rosemary bread with a thin coating of pesto sauce and thin heirloom tomato slices. Also, as an unusual precursor to dessert, I included a new product that I just discovered thanks to a friend (and blog reader - Hi, Ken!), FoodShouldTasteGood's Chocolate Chip tortilla chip! It's tasty and the chocolate and corn go surprisingly well together.

Yesterday, we went to an excellent program about Baba Amte and his family, amazing people who, for three generations, have selflessly given up wealth to live simply and serve the needs of remote tribal people in Central India (you can see my photo coverage online with additional details). They had some good South Indian idli rice cakes and other dishes that essentially became our dinner, though I made a salad for ourselves when we got home.


At Tue Sep 08, 07:24:00 AM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Can I seriously come over for dinner soon? ...... your recipe sounds so yummy.....


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