Life, style & food in the District
Using lentils as my medium in a (somewhat) vegetarian lifestyle
First off, I would like to apologize for the punny headline and subhead. It’s something I was born with, people, and I can’t help it.
Now let’s get down to business.
Northwest D.C. experienced some snow and ice this weekend, which automatically inspired me to stay in my soft clothes, pay-off a dreaded pile of bills, catch-up on crappy TV, read the Post, and of course, cook-up something warm, comforting and hearty.
These past few months, I’ve been more-and-more motivated to cook and embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. I don’t think I could ever make the complete leap from my current omnivorous state to full-on vegetarian, but I am really trying to cook and incorporate vegetarian meals and dishes into my daily diet.
This inclination comes from a few different lines of practice and reasoning.
For one, buying quality (ideally, grass fed/humanely-raised/local..yadda, yadda, yadda) meat these days is incredibly expensive. Because of this reason, alone, we usually only buy and cook one meat dish per week (thank the stars for leftovers). And lately, I feel as though my tastes for meat have even changed. I don’t think I could ever give up a perfectly seared medium-rare filet mignon, a super juicy hamburger cooked over charcoal in the summer air, or that forbidden treat of bacon crumbled over my Cobb salad (let’s be real – placed next to my banana pancakes)…. BUT, I rarely have any interest in cooking (or eating) chicken breasts or turkey burgers on a weeknight. I’d rather save the money and the pile of dishes for something else (like Chinese take-out or beer).
Lately, I’ve also been incredibly inspired (and well-fed) by a newish co-worker who happens to be an amazing vegetarian personal chef. I swear that girl could make tofu and tempeh taste like chocolate cake, if she wanted. (Actually, that reminds me of this amazing “chocolate pudding” she makes with nothing but avocados and cocoa… I need to get that recipe.) But seriously, she’s made me love vegetarian cuisine more than my ol’ Moosewood ever did…
And lastly, did I mention money? All I have to say is, tonight’s meal–of which made a giant pot–cost me less than $5 at Whole Foods… And we will be eating it all week…
During these past few months of working with Rachel (aforementioned amazing vegetarian chef who has an equally awesome name), I’ve had the pleasure to sample an array of delicious and wildly different lentil dishes. I don’t have any of her recipes in my possession (I keep telling her she needs to write them down, publish a cookbook and sell that shit), but I do remember one lentil dish I especially liked was very tomato-ey… and so that is the direction in which I ventured. The final dish I made turned into something more like a stew or chili, but I am very happy with it! (Wiping mouth with napkin and ignoring screams and throwing of furniture coming from my Pats-loving husband…)
So here is what I did (Sorry – measurements are not exact, but the beauty of cooking is improvising and creating!):
My bike and snowy D.C. (sadly, the covered pool is in the background…)
My favorite cheap white wine to use in cooking! Trader Joe’s!
Stirring the pot…
“I’ll try it, even if it looks like deer turds!” – Kent Barnes, husband and meat-eater…. We are very mature around here…
I hope you enjoy and much as I did (and will this week)!
Until next time – Best wishes and vegetarian dishes!