Basic French Lentils

A few weeks ago I made an odd impulse purchase–French lentils from the bulk section at the Santa Monica Coop–sometimes I get a bit overzealous in the bulk section so I had these around for a few weeks and didnt know what to do with them.  Since I am looking for more nutrient dense foods to eat while on this 1200 calorie diet I thought I would whip this into something that tastes good but doesnt have too many calories.

Ingredients:

1 cup french lentils

1 small onion

Handful of baby carrots, slivered

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp Olive oil

Salt

Rosemary

Dill

Oregano

Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  I used my Le Creuset dutch oven for this. Chop up the onion, sliver the carrots, and mince the garlic add to the hot oil.  Add a pinch of salt, pinch of rosemary, dill and oregano.  Let this sauté for about 10 minutes uncovered.

Add the rinsed off lentils and saute for another minute.  Then add either 2 3/4 cups of water and a cup of chicken stock or if you’re going veggie use veggie stock or just add 3 and 3/4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat.  I had to leave it simmering for about an hour before the lentils were the right consistency for me, soft but still keeping their form.  

This recipe makes about four cups when cooked.  A one cup serving should have about 147 calories and its packed with protein.  This is great as a side dish, a main feature or as part of a salad.  Serve warm or cold. It’s also good with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of soft cheese on top.

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The Joys of (Good) Cookware

The latest edition to our family thanks to a great steal at Marshalls:

A good dutch oven is absolute heaven for serious home cooking. Dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years in kitchens across the world.  Dutch ovens are awesome because you can go straight from the stove top into the oven without changing dishes.  The dutch oven is perfect for browning meat for stews, soups or saucy dishes.  After the meat is browned with the lid off, you can pop the tight, heavy lid on and it allows heat to radiate around the food and seals in condensation, surrounding the dish in moist heat.

I cook with a bare cast iron pan and I am always a little stressed about maintaining it–you cant just wash it like a regular pan, you have to clean them with boiling water and a brush, and no or minimal soap. After the cast iron has been dried, it should be given a thin coating of cooking oil to prevent rusting.  I decided to go with an enameled cast iron dutch oven to save myself the stress of cleaning, but that means that I shouldn’t use it for high heat cooking such as deep frying.