At the time of writing, my girl and two others are climbing through the trees, attached by clips to a series of high wires. I am on the ground; not because I don't love ropes courses, but because I suppose three 13-year-olds most likely don't want Mom along. I am required to stay and "supervise," however, although what could I possibly do besides be available to drive someone to the hospital? To my surprise, there is WiFi out here among the trees, but I don't know the network key, so I am reduced to writing the old-fashioned way.
Now, lentils. Since last we spoke, there's been Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili, Lentils Topped with Garlic Mushrooms (this is similar but not quite the same), Red Lentils with Cumin and Scallion, and Anatolian Red Lentil Stew with Wheat Berries and Chickpeas (not available online).
The "Tex-Mex" Chili was a mystery to us. It contained some ingredients that might be considered Tex-Mex, such as onions, green pepper, jalapeno, cumin, kidney beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and cornmeal. It also contained some ingredients that seemed decidedly not: paprika, thyme, sage, and-- most of all-- lentils. It was tasty, but we didn't feel we were eating chili-- overwhelmingly, we felt like we were eating Indian lentils with a slightly chili-esque flavor. (Hence, its presence in the lentil section.)
The Red Lentils with Cumin and Scallion were fine, a bit thin and soupy, the way Jaffrey seems to prefer her red lentils. The seasoning-- which was, as advertised, merely cumin and scallions, plus a little cayenne pepper-- was tasty, but the most interesting part of this recipe was that I made ghee. To make ghee, you simply take some unsalted butter and melt it over low temperature in a pan. Continue to heat until the liquid looks clear and the milk solids separate out. Strain (Jaffrey instructs to strain through three layers of cheesecloth; I realized at the last minute I didn't have any cheesecloth, so I used coffee filters. This was not the most efficient method). While the process was simple, it appears that making ghee well is less simple. My "clarified" butter, once brought back to room temperature, is still not quite clear. Perhaps I didn't heat it long enough.
None of these dishes needed much more than bread and/or salad to become a meal.
I also made two recipes of Deb Perelman's these past two weeks. One, the Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon & Ricotta, was a funny bland dish that my daughter didn't care for (she dislikes ricotta), and my husband and I couldn't stop eating despite its, um, subtle taste and indifferent texture (I managed to overcook the sugar snaps despite taking care not to do so). There was something vaguely addictive about it: the carbs and cheese coalescing into a mild, filling comfort food, laced with vegetables for reduced guilt, like a tuna noodle casserole filled with frozen green peas. I think I'd just as soon eat tuna casserole, though.
I also made Perelman's Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw, which was simple to produce, and completely delicious atop roast beef-and-cheese sandwiches with additional lettuce, tomato, and mayo for maximum sandwich goodness. It makes enough for plenty of sandwiches, so we are still eating it. I had it on an egg sandwich this morning. The jars also look pretty in the refrigerator. Highly recommended. The vegetables used are flexible: my family hates cukes, so I used carrot, napa cabbage, red, yellow and anaheim peppers, a little jalapeno too, and kohlrabi. The kohlrabi in particular was a nice touch.