I started tonight's dinner with an epic FAIL! You know how when you start to get a big head about something, like thinking you know what you're doing in the kitchen? That's when you screw up badly enough to bring your ego crashing back down to earth. Clearly, I am cursed when it comes to lentils (I mentioned in February a gross lentil/kale/tomato soup I tried to make).
All during my ride home from work and my walk around Lake Hiawatha, I was looking forward to making this lentil salad recipe from Mark Bittman. When I got home, I realized the only lentils I had were orange, and not the little green French kind. Oh well, lentils are lentils, right? WRONG! I threw the lentils in some water with some bay leaves and salt, brought them to a boil, then simmered. Orange lentils do not need to simmer for 40 minutes like French lentils, and in fact they fall apart completely after about 20 minutes. When I checked on them, they were pure mush. I should have known this from my Mpls Community Ed Indian cooking class but the brain wasn't working.
I was able to salvage these lentils, though (because I can't stand to throw away food) by adding a couple vegetarian boullion cubes and it turned into a nice almost creamy orange soup, not unlike my yummy split pea soup (which I have made about 4 times since I posted about it).
To go with my last minute lentil soup, I made green beans with almonds, which was on Rachel Ray yesterday. I didn't want to use the canned fried onions though, so this is how I did it.
Green Beans and Almonds
Fresh green beans
1 Tbsp butter
Blanch the green beans in 1 inch boiling salted water. Drain and set beans aside. In skillet, melt butter, add almonds and diced shallot and cook until almonds are toasted and shallot is softened. Add back the green beans and season with salt and pepper.
PS - I tried that egg baked in a tomato thing again...overcooked again! Will keep trying until I get it right. A very delicious assignment.