Friday, April 25, 2008

i love the smell of bay in my kitchen

bay leaves

There is a pox upon our house. A little over twenty-four hours after discovering a fresh crop of red blisters across her chest and stomach, my girl is growing tired of couch life. The littlest one in the house has surely been exposed, but has yet to show any symptoms. I mean, symptoms other than inexplicable crabbiness, which could be the start of something sicky or could just be my current taxed patience. Or could just be a being Two, with all the rights, privileges and frustration therein.

At any rate, this isn't my long awaited discourse on my take on the increasing eco-green industry. The whole Let's Save The Environment by Buying More Stuff! insanity. I've been meaning to write that all week, what with earth day this past week and all, and while I hope if you have some mind reading supertool, you're using your power for good, I don't expect that you've aimed it at my head and rifled through my random blog post ideas. Which is to say, by long awaited, I mean, I've been long waiting to write it, not you've been waiting to read it. And I'll write it later, which is why I'm mentioning it at all right now, so I remember.

So this is just what I'm having for dinner. An easy recipe to share, a variation on the old lentil and rice stand-by. From the Vegetarian Times Cookbook. I tweak it a little, you know I do, but this is the recipe as written.

Lentil-Chickpea Stew with Spinach

1 C dry lentils
3 tbsp virgin olive oil
3 C diced onions
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 C uncooked long-grain rice
6 1/2 C water
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 C cooked chickpeas

Cover the lentils with hot water and let sit. Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat, and cook the onions and spices, stirring, for 8 minutes. Remove 1/3 of the onion mixture and reserve it for garnish. Add the rice to the onions in the soup pot, and cook 1 minute to cat the grains. Drain the lentils and add to the onion-rice mixture along with the water, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until the rice and lentils are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add the chickpeas and heat until warmed through. Discard the bay leaves.

Steam the spinach, chop coarsely and stir into lentils. Ladle the stew into bowls and top with a spoonful of yogurt cheese or yogurt. Add the reserved onions, lemons, pepper and parsley or cilantro.

Okay, so I didn't list all the garnish ideas on the ingredient list. I skip that part. Actually, I use fewer onions from the start and don't remove any to use later as a garnish at all. The people for whom I cook much prefer onions all cooked up in the mishmash of a stew, not plopped on top of everything. I think we'll be eating this soon with feta melted on sprouted wheat english muffins, for no other reason than the pickings are slim in my kitchen today and that's what I've got.

I like this recipe because it's so fast to make, everybody in my house likes it well enough to eat several bowls full, and it gives me a good excuse to pluck leaves off of the bay plant in my backyard.


Lisa B-K said...

I received the bay today! Thank you so much! It smells divine.

I'm sorry about Freya. Lilly hopes she feels better soon, too.


Lisa said...

How much spinach? That part got left out of the ingredient list.

I was going to offer some bay because we have a giant bush in our backyard, then saw that you have your own.

april. said...

i'm a poor recipe transcriber!

3-4 C chopped spinach leaves. i don't steam them first, just rough chop and stir into the stew. they wilt immediately.

i don't have a lot of kitchen herbs growing in my yard yet, but we do have bay (and a tiny rosemary).

Lisa said...

This sounds good. We've had lots of greens around lately, so I'm sure most any green would substitute nicely for the spinach.

Angelina said...

The recipe sounds very good. The pox sounds really awful for all of you! I hope Freya recovers soon.