May 17, 2010

Success: Lentils with Garlic and Tomatoes

Having a husband who travels a lot for business means that I'm on my own for dinner a fair bit. And while cooking for two can sometimes feel like more work than I want to put out, dinner for one often feels even moreso. I have been known - rather, the Old Me has been known - to eat popcorn and pepperoni for dinner when left to my own devices.

But since I resolved to cook more of what I eat, I look upon solo dinners as opportunities to eat the things I love but don't often get for dinner when he's around. Things like broccoli, and cauliflower.

I also see them as an opportunity to experiment with things. I come by this naturally; my mother's dinner parties are all large-scale food experiments. But my Beloved is usually an unwilling participant in such things, because a single ingredient has the power to ruin everything for him, and he's highly suspicious, so is reluctant to try new things lest they contain an undetectable trace of something he definitely or possibly doesn't like. And if he's around when I'm working an unfamiliar (to him, or me, or both of us) ingredient or method, he's torn between fleeing the scene and hovering worriedly in case... well, I don't know what the "in case" is there.

I've already mentioned his aversions to certain fresh fruits and vegetables. Another thing I'm not entirely sure will really fly with him is Meatless Meals. He could have a massive feed, as at pot luck dinners, and still be unsatisfied because "there was no meat", and therefore it didn't count as dinner. I'm not even joking. This has really happened.

So, lentils. He likes pappadums, those savoury Indian lentil crackers. But beyond that, I don't know if he's ever tried them.  And so naturally I waited until he was gone, to try making them myself, from a recipe I got from my friend Kammy, who says it's a big favourite at her house.
Lentils with Garlic & Tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound tomatoes (1 large or 2 smaller ones), chopped
1 cup dried lentils, picked over, washed & drained
3/4 to 1 teaspooon salt (I used sea salt)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oil over medium flame. When hot, put in the garlic. Stir & fry until garlic browns lightly. Add tomatoes & cook for about 5 minutes or until tomatoes turn into a paste. Add lentils and 2-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, & simmer gently for 1/2 hour. Add salt & lemon juice; stir to mix.

I found that these took nearly an hour to cook, rather than the half-hour suggested, but that may be because I turned the heat down too low to start, and then couldn't find a gentle simmer in my element's dial; the mix was either flat calm or bubbling merrily. However, bubbling merrily seems to be the right thing.

Kammy didn't mention how she serves these, though I would imagine it'd be great over rice. I had mine with toasted Naan bread that needed eating up.  Tomorrow's lunch will be the same.

For dessert, just because I bought groceries today, I had fresh (California) strawberries with a shot of Starbucks' vanilla syrup (yes, the kind for flavouring coffee), and a quenelle of thick, rich, 11% MF Greek yogurt.

And it never occurred to me to take a picture of any of it. Whoops!


  1. You know, I hate broccoli. I want to like it so badly as I know it's the best thing you can ever eat but I just don't. In fact me and green veggies just don't get along. Except cucumber and cabbage which I love. Everything else that's green = EW. I love cauliflower though. Even though when I was little my sister convinced me it was brains.


    I also bought fresh strawbs today and ate them with creamy vanilla yogurt. YUM! I'm a yogurt fiend. I've forgone the low cal/low sugar crap and gone with regular yogurt and eff the sugar and cream - I LIKE THEM! :)

  2. You and my Beloved would get along famously, as long as you agreed to disagree on cucumbers. He doesn't mind how they taste, but they don't agree with him at all.

    Low-fat yogurt is appallingly insipid and horrid and I no longer buy it. Gimme the full-fat stuff and slightly less of it, and I'm golden. 11% M.F. is a bit rich for daily consumption, but it's the best yogurt I've ever had.