Friday, October 17, 2014

I Googled Lentil Puns

And came up with jack squat for this post. And yes, I know that Googling "lentil puns" for title inspiration is a very low point in my life, blog and non-blog wise.

Buuut...lentils are great. Super healthy, high in protein, extremely cheap and easy to cook. They're pretty much every vegan or vegetarian's wet dream, and they can be yours too! Okay, maybe that's a stretch. Because cheeseburgers and chorizo exist.

The harsh truth is, however, the less meat you eat, the better it is for the environment. Tommy and I have been working pretty hard to go meatless for most of our meals (lunch excluded) and it's been an interesting experiment.

This is a fantastic meatless -- but filling -- meal. This is a slightly belated throwback Thursday because I made it at school (which is why you see my girl Jess Stein photographing my handiwork for a class project) and would happily make it again now were it not for the fact that Tmo refuses to eat mushrooms with the stubbornness of a 3-year old. 

Just because he won't eat it doesn't mean you shouldn't though. Feel free to cheat like I did and buy precooked lentils if you can find them. If not, buy green lentils (the other colors can get a bit mushy if cooked on the stovetop) and follow the instructions below. This recipe is adapted from

Cooking lentils on the stovetop:
1 c. green lentils
2 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Rinse lentils in a large strainer, carefully picking through to remove any shriveled ones or foreign objects.

2. Combine lentils and water in a large saucepan on the stove. Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubbles and some slight movement in the lentils. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.

3. Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Older lentils may take longer to cook and shed their outer skins as they cook. Strain the lentils and remove any seasonings. Return the lentils to the pan and stir in salt. Taste and add additional salt as needed.

1 1/2 c. cooked lentils
1 c. mixed mushrooms (button and portobello), sliced2. cloves garlic, minced1/4 tsp. crushed red peppers (or more to taste)1/4 tsp. sea salt1 tbs. EVOO1 tbs. lemon juice2 tbs. flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped1/2 to 3/4 c. arugula

1. Cook lentils according to directions above. Once cooked, put into a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium-sized saucepan, sautee the mushrooms in the olive oil until lightly golden brown.

Add the garlic and crushed reds and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant and almost translucent.

3. Toss the lentils, mushrooms, salt and lemon juice together in the large bowl. 

Mix in parsley and arugula just before serving.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pump(kin) YOU Up

This is a recipe for oatmeal pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Because pumpkin is great. And it goes incredibly well with toasty oats and dark chocolate chips.

Yes, pumpkin recipes for October. Groundbreaking.

The title of this post is a quiet nod to the side-splitting Hans and Franz skit in season 14 of Saturday Night Live: Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon as bodybuilders who just want to up! I highly recommend you watch it because it is one of my top-10 favorite SNL skits after everything that Tina or Amy has ever been in.

By the way, if you are one of those people who likes to detract from the joy of others by calling them basic, then stop reading and leave my blog and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I wrote a somewhat lengthy Facebook rant on this subject that I will summarize here in case you missed it: any and all pumpkin-related foods and activities are fantastic. Fall is an A+ season. Do not feel like you can't enjoy these things and many more because some bitter group of people decided that the only way to live is out of the mainstream and those who do enjoy popular culture (in the broadest sense of the word) are somehow less-than. These people suck. Do you.

But back to baking...these are pretty much heaven and hell wrapped into one, deliciously buttery cookie. They are bad for you. But they are very good to eat. Plus, this recipe makes about three dozen cookies so you will have a lot to share with your friends. Or not.

I love Spain very much, but I really wish they would jump on the canned pumpkin bandwagon. Steaming and mashing your own pumpkin is a giant pain in the ass. On the plus side, they have totally embraced the chocolate-for-breakfast idea.

Feel free to add to this recipe: white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, toasted pecans. It's extremely versatile and since pumpkin is a pretty quiet flavor it goes with most things. I baked these when I was at home and now Tommy is sitting here grumbling because he wants me to make them again so he can eat them all and not share. Fat chance. I will call in sick to work one day and bake/hide them while he is gone so only the scent of buttery, cinnamony pumpkin remains. I'm so nice.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2  cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray several baking sheets (or use parchment paper or Silpats). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

2. At medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until lighter in color and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three batches. Fold in oats and chocolate chips until just combined.

4. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.