It’s a mystery of human chemistry

Posted: December 21, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

There are some days when only certain things will do. There are some days when the things that will do don’t make too much sense. There are days when you only have a few things in your kitchen, and have to make do.

Sometimes all these feelings hit at once, and you find yourself asking Twitter whether lentils absorb liquid the same way arborio does. Because for some reason, green lentil risotto sounds like the place to be.

Lentil-Sotto?

I kind of took a wing and a prayer on this one, because I definitely didn’t get a positive response to my lentil question — in fact, the only person to answer said that she was pretty sure it wouldn’t work out. But, having cooked French green lentils a few times and having noted that they were different than traditional brown lentils, more tender and quicker to cook, I decided to risk it.

I had some thick-cut rind on bacon in the fridge, so I cut a few slices into chunks, and cooked them in a saute pan to render their fat. Before they were crisp, but once they were cooked, I added some diced onion, and a little salt. Once the onion sweated out and softened, I added about 1/2 cup of arborio and 1/2 cup of green lentils to the pan. I tossed this around and then started adding the chicken stock like it was risotto. The lentils sucked up the stock along with the arborio, and in the end, I had a dish that was creamy, soft, and rich — exactly what I needed.

In summation, if you’re ever in the market for something comforting, but a little bit healthy, consider adding lentils to your dish of risotto! The excellent fiber and other awesomeness of the lentils will make you feel better about eating soft smushy cheesy risotto.

Ever have one of those days? What does your body cry out for on a rainy chilly icky winter day?


Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p. 5

Posted: November 5, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

WOW!! Can you believe we’re already at part 5 of this series??? I know I can’t! Here’s the thing, though. We’re at part 5. Alex’s race is less than 3 weeks away. The donation deadline is in a week. And with that in mind, I’m imploring you. Please. Leave me a comment, so I can give her a dollar, or 2 dollars from you. So I can do what little bit I can, to show her how proud of her I am for doing this amazing thing to raise money to fight the disease that has hurt her family. Tell your friends, send them links, Tweet this, do whatever you have to do. I’m willing to donate for every single comment I get on one of these posts by November 15th.

Saumon Aux LentilesThere are 2 excellent things about this dish. The first, is that it’s french. The second, is that it involves salmon, lentils, and leeks. Maybe that adds up to 4 good things, but either way….. It’s a great great dish. (And yes, in case you’re scoring at home, Salmon is ok with Alex the Vegetarian. I checked.) The excellent things about this dish expand the more you look into it, but before I go into those, I’ll go into one unnecessary thing.
There is a compound butter made with tarragon, chives, mustard, and lemon juice. I love compound butters, but they’re not exactly great for your health — slapping an extra tablespoon of butter onto a salmon filet that you’ve cooked in butter, seems excessive, even to my butter-loving soul. In that spirit, I would advocate for skipping the additional quantity of Mustard-Herb butter.  2 tablespoons of butter should suffice, and halve the rest of the things in it.

And now, on with the recipe. Saumon aux Lentiles – or, Salmon with Lemtils.

I’m going to suggest that you follow the link to get the ingredients and items, since I got this directly from Gourmet March 2008, and in a shocking turn of events, I followed it to the letter. (more or less) You can also totally halve this and serve it for 2. I had a LOT of lentils left over, although I only cooked 2 portions of salmon, so I ended up eating lentils with fried eggs the next day, and it was delightful. So, for what that’s worth.

Step 1: The Lentils
Put the green lentils, water, and 3/4tsp of salt in a pot, bring to a boil, Simmer until just tender, and let them hang out for 5 minutes. Then, take out half a cup of the cooking water (it will be a funky color. Do not be deterred) and drain.
Zey Are FronchOne CupAvec du SelThe flavor's in the funk.

Step 2: The Leeks
I’m pretty sure that the leek is my favorite vegetable. Unless a chickpea is a vegetable, in which case, it wins. Are legumes vegetables? I know that in French, “legume” means “veggie” but I need a ruling. ALYSSA!!! You’re a Bio teacher – are chickpeas vegetables?
Regardless. Leeks rock. Except for one thing. They’re kind of a pain in the ass to clean, because they grow in sandy soil. So in order to clean them, you lop off the dark leafy bits, and you lop off the white root-looking end. Then, you cut them in half, top to bottom, so you have 2 long halves (ish). Then, you put each half round-side up, cut IT in half the long way, and then rotate your knife and cut them into half-moons the short way. I promise, this is all worth it, and there will be pictures. Once you have all of your leek bits cut up, place them in a big bowl or pot of cold water, and swish. Then, walk away.
Lop the root end off Each long half, cut in halfIt's hard to cut while taking a photoSwish, and walk away

While the sand and grit from the leeks is sinking to the bottom of the pot or bowl, get out a saute pan and put in some butter. Then, when the butter is melted, gently scoop out the leeks, leaving the grit at the bottom of the receptacle. Plop them in the saute pan and cook until softened. Then, add the lentils, their cooking liquid, and 2 tablespoons of the compound butter, and cook until the lentils are warm.
Carefully scoopingSauteing until softThe mustard-herb butterZee lentils!!!

Step 3: The Salmon
The rest of this dish is quite simple. Pat your salmon filets (skin on is fine) VERY dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt some butter in a non-stick pan, and get it pretty darn hot. Once the butter stops foaming, put the filets in, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how well you like salmon cooked. Then, put some lentils and leeks on a plate, and top with the salmon. Easy peasy, one-two-threesy.
Fishy Fishy FISHY!!!!!*cough* Till the foam subsides. Ish. The flip. Zee bed of zee lentils and zee leeks

This dish is delicious. It’s frenchy. It’s got lots and lots of good protein, and fiber, and good fats. If you didn’t want to use the butter-sauteing method for the Salmon, by all means you could broil it. The lentils and leeks will still provide plenty of flavor, and salmon is a flavorful fish, although I really like the crisp that sauteing gave the skin.
Enjoy, and remember:
Alex Runs. I Cook. You Comment. I Donate.
WE ALL FIGHT CANCER.



Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.