Friday, February 11, 2011

Saved By the Dal

Have you ever made something and it was edible, but not quite what you were wanting and then turned it into something really scrumptious? It doesn't happen often that I make something and I think "meh, not quite right", but the other night I made Yellow Split Pea Soup with Green Pea Garnish from Vegan Planet to go along with black bean burritos. I love pretty much everything I've tried from Vegan Planet, but this was just so-so. I don't blame the recipe, I blame summer savory. I don't think I'm a fan of this spice and rarely use it, so it may be that my summer savoy is way past its prime. I want to use this spice because it is in a jar labeled by my mother. I don't know if I took hers when she passed away, almost nine years ago, or if she was helping me label my spices when Parker was little. Either way, I love to look at the jar because it has her hand-writing on it. There are certain things about my mother which will always stay with me, her hands and her writing are two of them. I have always loved the look of her writing and it is seems so uniquely her. I often wonder what my kids will remember about me. I have terrible penmanship and rarely write much since everything is texting and emails these days. Maybe they will have this blog.
Anyway, the dish wasn't so awful that I thought to compost it, but I didn't want to be the only one eating Yellow Split Pea Soup for days. So Josie and I turned to the recipe, I had debated on using the first time, The Vegan Table's Yellow Split Pea Dal. We added an extra onion, leftover veggies from a couple days prior and the spices from Yellow Split Pea Dal and voila, a dish we could all sink our teeth into.
I've been off my game as far as soaking and cooking beans lately so lentils have been on the menu. Tonight I made a dish which has become somewhat legendary on a local parenting list I belong to. My friend, Sarah S. shared this recipe years ago and now any time someone asks for lentil recipes it is posted. I apologize for not knowing the recipe's origin so I might be stepping on toes, but I assume it has gone through changes over the years and is fairly simple. I hate to admit this might be the first time I made this dish, but I remember tasting it at potlucks in the past. It is quite good and oh so simple so I'll share the recipe with you. Thanks, Sarah!

Sarah's Dal Soup

2 tsp olive oil (the "original" calls for 2 Tbsp butter)
4 garlic cloves, minced (the "original" calls for 2 chopped)
1 onion chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (water would work)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, and cook for about a minute.
2. Stir in tomatoes, red lentils, lemon juice, vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
3. Add coconut milk and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.
4. Take off heat. Lightly puree with immersion blender (you can skip this step if you like).
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Great served over brown rice or quinoa, in the picture I served it as is with just a little za'atar as garnish.
For dessert, I served Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake from Veganomicon. I had leftover icing from Parker's 11th birthday party cake (I'll post about his birthday on Wednesday) so I repeated the cake I made for my sister's friend, except I added shredded coconut to the top. The kids only have a sliver since I wanted them to go to bed sometime before midnight, but they loved it.

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