Monday, March 20, 2006

susan's red lentil spread


I have a lot of cookbooks. Chocolate cookbooks, retro cookbooks, cookbooks dedicated to the tart, Vietnamese cookbooks, yeast-based cookbooks, cookbooks for friendship, cookbooks for speed, cookbooks for Germans...But I rarely use any of my own cookbooks. As much as I delight in discovering them, buying them, receiving them, trialing them, and displaying them, I eventually tire of them. And in the end I'd much prefer using yours.

Reading someone else's cookbook is like watching their dog for a day. It's a fun and random peek into their lives.

Last week, Susan let me borrow Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw. It's a heavy book, with no photos and only a few graphics of vegetables printed in green. (It was thus not a cookbook that I would have ever picked up on my own, as I am a great sucker for food porn.) Susan had marked the page for chuncky chickpea soup with a recipe ripped from a magazine for quinoa salad with apricots and pistachios. Chocolate buttermilk cake was tagged with a slanted xerox for sweet zucchini-spice bread. I have a new admiration for Susan's alternative sophistication in food and know that I would eat happily should I ever be invited to dinner at her place.

I chose an easy recipe, given that I had just about everything in stock, with the exception of red lentils, which, like every single other type of bean, nut, grain, and spice, can be purchased in bulk at my neighborhood Harvest Co-op.

Red Lentil Spread
(adapted from Diana Shaw's Essential Vegetarian Cookbook)

2 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp. finely minced ginger root
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the garlic, ginger, 2 tbsp. of the cilantro, cumin, and turmeric. Reduce the heat to medium and saute, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lentils and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until lentils are cooked through and all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Check often after 10 minutes to make sure that they aren't sticking (if so, add 1/4 cup water, stir, cover, and continue cooking).

Mash the lentils with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in lemon juice and salt to taste. Let the spread sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Before serving, stir remainder of fresh cilantro into spread.


Anonymous said...

You're crazy but I'd like to be like you (or you) for a while. I'm cooking and reading. Empty and happy for while.

Another Cuban Guest

Mercy Now said...

Bribe Me with a Muffin, very catchy. Got here from Blogger's home page> Updated @...
It's a good thing I don't need to lose weight, otherwise, I'd be going to the frige @ midnight finding something sweet to eat.

Janet! said...

Omigosh Genevieve! Your food blog is amazing!! i love all these recipes that you are showing- seriously, besides studying, i sit around and watch Food Network all day lol :) I know that i am too lazy to make any of the fancy dishes but i do love my giada and barefoot contessa. anyway, thanks for your email and long live yummy food!

shaz said...

hi genevieve
I added your blog as a site on mine. CHeers!

shaz said...

i like indian inspired dishes. the spices add a depth that is incomparable.

Godknows said...

Yummy. Indian food is my favorite beside Vietnamese food. thanks ofr sharing us.

Genevieve said...

shaz- thanks for adding me to your list! i will do the same.

also - add yourself to the global map of food bloggers when you have a chance!