My culinary schedule is comprised of very long, physical, and intense days from Monday to Thursday, with a nice three-day weekend each week for recovery. So that means that for me, Thursday is the new FRIDAY! I’ve been trying to make a point to make more exciting and creative meals on Thursdays since I have a little more time, and I’m not busy worrying about studying for quizzes and finishing my homework.
When I got home from classes and work, Casey and I took the dogs for a quick 1.25 mile warm-up jog around the neighborhood, and then headed back to do another great circuit workout. I’ve found that doing circuits is a great way to knock out your scheduled run and weight lifting – in the shortest amount of time possible. After 48 minutes of hopping off and on the treadmill, and sweating and lifting on my yoga mat, we were done and I was ready for dinner!
I spent a few minutes googling and trying to decide what sounded good based on the contents of my pantry. My basic method for creating a recipe is to start with one main ingredient I know I have – usually some fresh produce. Tonight it was sweet potatoes. So I started looking at sweet potatoes, and narrowed the recipe ideas down based on what sounded healthy, delicious, and attainable based on what I already have.
The end result – an amaaaaaaazing lentil dish that Casey quite literally could not stop eating. Here is the run down…
Sweet Potato and Carrot Curried Lentils
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups lentils
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable broth
Of all the things I’ve learned in culinary school, mis en place is probably the biggest. Cooking is ALL about time management. So the first step in every recipe should be to get all the ingredients prepped and ready together, starting with the things you will need first.
Start by sautéing the onions in a few sprays of olive oil, for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and sauté another minute or two. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, curry, cumin, and bay leaf, and stir to coat about 30 seconds.
(Side Note: I believe lentils are the most beautiful of all the pantry foods…)
Add the 2 cups of lentils (I used green, but you could probably use any kind – just make sure the lentil/liquid ratio is correct) and the 6 cups of veggie broth.
Bring it up to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Check to see that the lentils are still just slightly chewy, and the sweet potatoes and carrots are nice and soft. Season with some salt and pepper, and serve over some warm brown rice, mmmmmm.
So sooooo good – you should MAKE THIS! :)
While I waited for my lentils to finish simmering, I worked on our vegetable. I discovered this week at our grocery store that collard greens are really cheap – who knew!?! I had actually never made collard green before, so this was really fun for me. Most of the recipes I looked at online involved ham hocks and bacon, so I figured we needed a new type of collard greens floating around the internet…
Spicy VEGETARIAN Collard Greens
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
Start by ripping all the collard greens of the woody stalks and tearing them into bite-sized pieces. Add your onion to a tiny bit of oil, and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir 1 more minute. Since I was out of veggie broth (after using 6 cups to make the lentils!), I improvised and used water + bay leaf – it worked great! Add collard greens, water, and bay leaf (or veg broth if you have it) – cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Collard greens will cook down a LOT, and should become soft with much less bitterness. Once they were soft, I seasoned with salt and pepper, and strained them out of the cooking liquid.
e proved that collard greens don’t need added fats like BACON and ham to make it delicious. The red pepper flakes gave just enough of a kick to really make this dish fun.
Thursday night creative cooking was a hit this week, and I’m looking forward to using more and more of what I’m learning in school and applying to my kitchen and this BLOG! After cooking aaaall day long, I was exhausted, and ready to relax on the couch with the rest of our tired family…
Next up, pictures and stories from my adventures in BAKING AND PASTRY class!