Hello, my friends! I apologize for the long absence yet again. I hope everybody is having a great summer and is cooking up a storm! I am delighted to tell you that I am starting a brand new job tomorrow. It took me quite a while to find it and I am thrilled about this opportunity! Looking for a job and interviewing was one of the reasons I couldn’t dedicate more time to this blog for such a long time.
The other reason I was MIA was due to the fact that I started tweaking the way I ate to accomodate my new fitness goals. I was already eating healthy but now I am also trying to eat clean most of the time. You may know that eating clean does not require fancy cooking. In a gist, you cook your food very minimally to preserve its nutrients, and you eat healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. I am not being 100% strict about my diet and I do still enjoy some less healthy foods. My ultimate goal is to find a way to eat clean yet not boring.
The following recipe is a perfect example of a healthy and non-boring dish. I saw it on America’s Test Kitchen two days ago and instantly thought it would be a great new way to include another protein into my diet.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup lentils du Puy
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 5 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 shallot, minced
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- fresh chopped parsley for garnishing
First, we need to brine our lentils. Put them in a medium bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and cover with 1 quart (4 cups) of warm water (about 110 F). Let the lentils brine on the countertop for one hour. This will make lentil skins more pliable when we begin cooking.
After one hour, preheat the oven to 325 F. Drain the lentils and put them in an oven-proof pan with lid. Add 2 cups of water, 2 cups of chicken stock, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf and the garlic cloves.
Make a vinaigrette dressing: in a large bowl, combine 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and whisk. Add the drained lentils, chopped olives, fresh chopped mint, and minced shallot. Mix all of the ingredients well and season more with salt (and black pepper) if needed.
Transfer the salad into another bowl, top with crumbled feta cheese and garnish with parsley. Serve the salad warm or cold.