Monday, July 11, 2011

lentils & kale

Perhaps you're like me, and you've feared kale your whole life.  And maybe you thought lentils only belonged in soup.  If both of those things are true, be prepared to have your mind blown.

To be honest, kale wasn't even on my radar until a few years ago.  It wasn't that I was afraid afraid, just unsure and intimidated by it's boldness.  In March of last year, while we were still living in our slanted apartment on S. Court St., on the top floor of that old green house (which now has a new owner and is painted pink), I needed a culinary pick-me-up.  Our kitchen in that place was tiny.  It was more like a walk-through than the open bright happy space we have in our house now.  

Looking for inspiration, I decided to check in on one of my favorite blogs to see what Deb was cooking.  This lady creates recipes and takes gorgeous photos in her itty bitty kitchen in New York City.  I figured if she could do it, I could, too.  On this particular day, she wrote a post about baked kale chips.  It was then that I decided it was time to stop avoiding eye contact with the unfamiliar greens and give them a try.  

I've been hooked ever since.  You should be, too.

Follow Deb's recipe here.

Lentils are far more exciting than they sound, and versatile.  

In an effort to help my hubby lower his cholesterol, I've been experimenting more with beans and lentils lately.  I used to think lentils were only good for soup.  Boy, was I wrong.  Lentil soup is a beautiful thing, but you need to change it up every now and then, especially when simmering soup will heat your house on an already sweaty summer day.

The recipe I'm about to share with you, I created on a whim.  You can alter it however you like, adding your favorite veggies and seasoning.  This is a combination that worked deliciously for me, and might just inspire you to eat your lentils al dente.  I've used both red lentils and green lentils for this.  The red are my favorite and take less time to soak.  The green work fine, just be sure to soak them for at least an hour (and use more seasoning).

Here's what I did:  I soaked about 2.5 cups of red lentils in water for fifteen minutes, sautéed a medium white onion (chopped) in olive oil and minced garlic (I used a heaping tablespoon because I'm crazy about garlic, but you add to your taste), drained and rinsed the lentils and dumped them in the pan.  Then I added shredded carrots and pieces of kale that I broke off by hand.  I finished it all off with sea salt, lemon pepper and this sauce (bought at Giant Eagle).  

Sauté, taste, sauté, taste.

Serve with baked chicken thighs and kale chips.

Who says healthy has to be boring (or scary)?

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