Friday, November 18, 2011

Thrifty Thoughts

So, once AGAIN I am pleased that I saved my money and spent some of it on tires. I went to the casino (11 miles away) for lunch with a friend. She drove. She also has good tires. In those 11 miles, we saw five new looking vehicles in the ditches. It is slick out there today, but we went slow and had good tires so we were fine. Even the most expensive tires are cheap compared to getting the left side of the car repaired after you hit the far side of the ditch (or is that the right side of the car? Whatever).

We, the members of the food coalition, found out this week that we are not alone in our admiration of the mighty (cheap) legume! We hosted a legumes cooking competition with the local community health program and expected 20 entries...there were 56!!! The featured legume was lentils, but we took entries that had any lentil, pea or bean as an ingredient. In a town of 800, 56 entries is amazing. We also had maybe 100 people show up to taste/eat/enjoy the food. Almost 15% of the local population at one event ... an event organized around beans ... is impressive. I think it will be an annual event. We're putting together the recipes in hopes of putting out a little cookbook. Is there any cheaper source of protein than beans, peas and lentils? We also had mostly new attendees who had not been at our previous events so that was also cool.

Amazingly, the black bean brownies were VERY good. The beans replaced the dairy, but not the eggs or sugar or chocolate and the brownies featured chocolate chips. These were devoured in minutes. The chocolate lentil muffins...well, they are good, but using 100% whole wheat flour and cutting down on sugar did change the flavor along with making them healthier.

I entered my Middle Eastern Lentil Soup, but rightly did not win any prize. Oh year. I will be adding the lentil apple spinach berry salad to my repetoire of dishes along with the brownies. I sent the rest of my soup home with a coworker who agreed that it was much better on the 2nd day.

Here is the recipe for my entry. It comes from the "More with Less" Cookbook that Jonny (Hi Jonny!) gave me.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Put in a pot and bring to a boil:
1 cup lentils (I use red or yellow but all taste good)
4 cups water
1/2 tsp cumin
Once it boils, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are fully cooked. About 30-40 minutes depending on the type of lentil.

Heat in a skillet:
1T olive oil (butter, margarine or another oil works fine)

1 Onion chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Fry until just yellowed but not browned or carmelized.

1 T flour (white, whole wheat, anything that will thicken the soup will work)
cook just a minute or two.

Add the onion mixture to the soup and stir. Bring just to the boil. Remove from heat.

Just before serving add
2T Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste (sea salt and fresh cracked pepper are best but anything will do).

Put some lemon juice, salt and pepper on the table for people to season their own bowls too.

It is excellent reheated the 2nd day with new lemon juice added just before you eat it.

No comments: