Food and Drinks

Lentils stewed with tomatoes

My husband and I don’t argue much. There’s that whole “tone” thing, which is often misunderstood as “you’re being snippy,” “no, , you’re snippy,” or “well you were snippy before,” but mainly, primarily, we’ve had one argument in the past, and it went exactly like this:

You’ve never been to Forest Hills! How can you say you couldn’t live there?

I tried to do my part in promoting marital harmony on Sunday. We walked around this part of Queens, where my husband used to live, where two bedrooms were slightly cheaper. I agree; the neighborhood, especially the Tudor area, is lovely. We don’t plan to move anytime soon, but this trip was not without its benefits. See, I purchased not one but two (!) new cookbooks, completely blowing my less-than-one-per-year average out of the water.

How can someone who cooks so much own so few books? The primary and larger volumes are what I use, and I rely on magazines, food websites, and blogs to fill in the gaps. When I went through my rainbow bookmarked Gourmet to choose a recipe on Sunday, I realized that few were as attractive as they had been when I first opened them. The root vegetable gratin contained about two cups of cream, and the Brussels sprouts with wild mushroom and shallots had almost a whole stick of butter on top of a deep frying step. Mon Dieu! Hips! I don’t mind butter or olive, but I won’t eat anything that contains almost two cups of oil. It’s not going to be turnips and Brussels sprouts, okay?

It’s hard to believe I’m still a fan of Ina Garten’s food, even after purchasing the latest book. We looked at the picture book pages on the subway home and were fixated on the stewed tomatoes with lentils. We made a quick stop at the supermarket – two blocks away! We were ready, and the most delicious smell filled our apartment within an hour. This recipe is a sure-fire hit. It’s thick, hearty, and healthy. It’s also not boring. Perfect for those first cold, windy, and freezing days. Two cookbooks, a tummy full of stew, Bordeaux, The Wire, and fingers crossed that no housing issues are on the horizon made for a great Sunday.

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes

Olive oil two teaspoons
2 cups of large-diced Yellow Onions (2 onions)
Two cups of large diced carrots (between 3 and 4 carrots).
One tablespoon minced cloves of garlic
Whole plum tomatoes in a 28-ounce can
1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
Use two teaspoons of mild curry powder
Fresh thyme leaves, two teaspoons
Salt kosher two teaspoons
Black pepper, freshly ground to 1/4 teaspoon
Red wine vinegar, one tablespoon

Heat oil in a large pan. Add the carrots and onions to the pan and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the onions brown. Stir with a wooden spatula occasionally. Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another minute.

Place the canned plum tomato and juice into the bowl of an electric food processor equipped with a blade. Pulse the machine several times to coarsely chop the tomatoes. Ensure the lentils are clean by rinsing and picking them to remove any stones.

Add the curry powder, thyme, and salt to the pan. Increase the heat until it boils, then reduce it, and cover the pan for 40 minutes or so until the lentils become tender. Check periodically to make sure that the liquid is simmering. Allow the lentils to rest covered for ten more minutes after removing the pan from the heat. Add the vinegar and season to taste. Serve hot.

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