Kelly’s Spicy Lentils

This is so easy that you could probably do it while sleeping.  I’ve tried it by cooking it on the stove, and by cooking in the crock pot (because the crockpot appeals to my inherent laziness when it comes to food preparation).

For every cup of lentils (I use organic brown lentils), you’ll want about 2-1/4 cups of water.  (Apparently, different types of lentils need different water ratios and cooking times; I always use the same ones so I don’t have to fiddle with water ratios and cooking times.)  Rinse off your lentils if you think they need it.  Dump the lentils and water into your pot or crockpot.  Toss in some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Seasoning Blend and some McCormick Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder.  Proportions?  Well, for about 5 cups of dried lentils, I use half a bottle of the Mrs. Dash (1.25 oz) and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder.  This proportion give them a bit of a kick, but they’re not (to my taste buds, anyway) overly spicy.

If you’re cooking in a pot on the stove, bring it all to a boil, then simmer for about 30 or 35 minutes.  Stir it up occasionally; you don’t want those puppies sticking to the bottom of your pan.  If you’re using the crock pot, set on low and cook overnight (10 hours or so).  Stir well in the morning; the spices seem to form a coating on the top of the lentils.  These are going to be fairly firm (because the Spousal Unit is kind of grossed out by mushy lentils).  I have no idea how long they last in the fridge, because they’re always gone in a week.  I heat mine up just as they are in the microwave… the Spousal Unit adds some veggies to his when he heats them up.  They’re pretty versatile little things.

I generally pair my lentils with a salad, and have them for lunch.  Yay, protein!

Baba Ganoush

I found this recipe in Vegan: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions by Tony Weston and Yvonne Bishop.  It was pretty darn tasty except… well, not enough garlic for my taste.  Next time I make it (and there will be a next time because it’s so darn easy to make), I will probably (at least) double the amount of garlic.  Gotta keep those vampires away, you know!

2 eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vegan yogurt or Vegenaise
2.5 teaspoons tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Halve the eggplants lengthwise, brush the cut side with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes, until soft.

Scoop out the flesh of the eggplants, transfer it to a food processor or blender (I used my immersion blender, and it worked great), then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, cover and chill until needed.

Just before serving, dust the purée with smoked paprika and garnish with olives and slices of lime (if you want it to look pretty; I didn’t bother).  Serve with warm pita bread or oatcakes, and a selection of crudités for dipping.

The recipe for oatcakes is also in this book, and I don’t know what the heck crudités are.  Oh wait… Google can help with that.  Be right back…  Are you kidding me?  You can’t just say “sliced veggies”?  You have to get all fancy schmancy and say “crudités”?  Good grief.  Well, the baba ganoush is worth the snobby language.