We have a home – four walls around us and a roof over our heads – a brick fireplace and rooms filled with musty old house smell. Moving, like so many big, exciting things in life, is hard work. Backs hurt at the end of the day a empty living room floor looks like a great place to collapse. We’re mostly moved in now, at least as much as we can be without things like dressers and bookshelves in which to put things away.
Persimmons from a friend were the star of Thanksgiving weekend.
Thanksgiving was the perfect break from schlepping stuff and swabbing floors. Lee and I spent the holiday with my aunt, mom, brother, and brother’s girlfriend at my aunt’s house in Carmel Valley. It was beeeeeautiful, needless to say, and the food was the kind of food you look forward to eating leftover meal after meal. We ate. We talked – caught up on old times and made plans for the future. We ran, hiked, swam, played with dogs, played cribbage, and watched wildlife.
There was a lot of this.
The table was lovely and the food didn’t even make it in front of the camera. There was turkey, lentil loaf for the vegetarians, roasted root vegetables, endive + persimmon + pomegranate seed salad, mashed potatoes, tabasco + asparagus quinoa, pumpkin cheesecake bars, and apple-pumpkin delight.
In short, I’ve been busy and blogging time has been just out of reach. This week, though, I’ll be back. I can’t miss out on writing about my favorite food season!
Split in half on homemade bread – leftover lentil loaf sandwich.
Laziness is the mother of invention. Last night I was a little slow to start fixing dinner. I wasn’t sure if we were having a potluck with our sailing buddies or not so I planned a dish that I felt good about serving to other people. Most things I make don’t fall into that category.
I started cooking the lentils for a loaf I’d fixed and enjoyed a couple of times in the past. When we learned that a potluck was not on the agenda that night, Lee and I went for a swim and came back to a pot of cooked lentils. At that point, I was feeling very lazy about making the full-fledged lentil loaf. It was supposed to take at least 45 minutes to cook and I was hungry. Since I no longer had to worry about making my dinner presentable to others, I decided to have some fun. What are muffin cups for but to cut down on cooking time and make a meal fun?
The first step was to spice up the recipe a bit. The previous times I had made this loaf, I was disappointed with the flavor and knew it wasn’t living up it it’s potential. The recipe already included raisins and nuts so curry powder seemed like the perfect spice to add. The spice combination I came up with is by no means traditional curry flavoring. I just pulled jars off the spice rack, adding what I liked and what I thought might taste good. Really, the spices and their amounts are up to your individual taste. I do, however, highly recommend the raisins and nuts. They may seem like strange ingredients to some but they add the perfect crunch and sweetness to the lentils. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cashews on hand. I considered trying macadamia nuts, the only plain nuts I have right now, but decided to hoard my minimal supply instead.
Lee downed three “Texas-sized” muffin loaves and I was satisfied with two. That left one to experiment with as leftovers (and a chance for me to take a picture during the daytime). The loaves were delicious and very filling with a side of random sauteed veggies. Lee and I split a baked plantain for dessert, my first foray into plantains. I’m definitely going to get more of this Caribbean staple at the market today! It might become a favorite dessert and I’m eager to try other plantain preparations.
Curried Lentil Muffin Loaves
Adapted from Food.com
1 cup dried lentils
3 cups water
1 medium brown onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or equivalent egg replacer for a vegan version)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, if you’d like
Rinse and sort lentils.
Combine lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook for about 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked and the mixture is thick.
Set lentils aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute garlic and onion in a skillet until the onion is translucent.
Add the onion mixture, spices, raisins, nuts (if using), flour, and eggs to the saucepan of lentils or combine all the ingredients in a large bowl if the saucepan is not big enough.
Mix thoroughly and pour into 6 lightly oiled jumbo muffin cups. You can also make one large loaf or 12 regular-sized muffins, just adjust the baking time accordingly.
Place muffin cups on a cookie sheet if using silicon cups and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes (on the longer end of this range for larger cups and 45+ minutes for a loaf).
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Gently remove muffins from tin or individual cups and serve with chutney or any sauce that suites your fancy.