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.

Palate Cleansers

This weekend I was at a Las Vegas wedding and I experienced a palate cleanser course for the first time.  The meal started with a plate of small appetizers with pretty strong flavors–onions, parmesan cheese, olives–followed by the salad course.  They served a tomato, red lettuce, candied pecan salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing along with a pear pastry on the side, the salad was followed with a delicious french onion soup.  After the strong flavors of these first few dishes we were served a palate cleanser.  Virtually all of the guests were confused by the course, a low buzz of whispers swept through the place–what is that?

A palate cleanser is usually a small amount of a light sorbet.  The idea is to remove the flavors from the previous courses from the mouth so that the next course may be enjoyed with a fresh palate. The french also call a palate cleanser an “amuse” –related to “amuse-bouche” literally meaning “mouth amuser.”  But the amuse-bouche is usually served early in the meal–usually an hors d’œuvre to excite the palate, rather than to cleanse the palate.

On this occasion, at Andre’s at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas we were served a cucumber flavored sorbet in a small glass about the size of a shot glass with a small spoon.  We were probably served a total of 2 teaspoons of the sorbet.  It was lovely.