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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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These are a Few of My Favorite Things: Lentils

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…

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Sweet Potato and Carrot Curried Lentils

Ingredients:

  • 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

To Prepare:

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.

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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…)

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Spicy VEGETARIAN Collard Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf

To Prepare:

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.

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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. 

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This recip
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.

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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…

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Next up, pictures and stories from my adventures in BAKING AND PASTRY class!

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9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Speed Me Up, Scotty! « Brit Chick Runs – A lone English girls' passion for healthy eating, exercising, and living!     at 3:05 pm

[...] now – I got some inspo from Emily’s recipe, for the basic method (ie toasting the spices first). However, I decided I didn’t want [...]

Rob R.     at 3:20 pm

One bunch collard greens is how many cups?

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Probably 4 cups torn.

[Reply]

Laura     at 9:42 pm

Just had this for dinner. So good! Thanks!

[Reply]

Halley     at 10:02 pm

Eating the lentils now. Holy Yum. Just two questions- how many is this recipe supposed to serve? and will it freeze well?

Thanks! :)

[Reply]

Lauren     at 7:51 pm

I’ve never commented, but am a regular reader and really enjoy your blog. I am trying out a vegetarian lifestyle for a bit and have been using your recipes as a resource. I made this tonight and just had to comment that it is SO delicious! My boyfriend and I already decided it will be a regular rotation recipe. YUM!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Awesome! Thanks, Lauren!

[Reply]

Bree Dekker     at 1:41 pm

I am also an avid follower, but this is my first comment. (: Just made this the other night & it is SOOO GOOD! I am planning on making it again for a group of 10 later this week. I have never cooked with a bay leaf, though, but I want to buy one for the next batch. Will I need to fish it out once the lentils are done cooking?

[Reply]

Janelle     at 6:42 pm

This is currently simmering on my stove and it smells soooo good. I may or may not have taken a couple “sample nibbles” while cooking, and I think its going to be GOOD! (and it was easy)

[Reply]

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