Well, there’s so much to talk about it’s hard to know where to start. It isn’t even so much Inigo Montoya saying ‘No, there’s too much, let me sum up.’ There’s just lots of different little bits and pieces that led to this post.
First, there are the results of the allergy test. For reasons too long and convoluted to get into, the Mrs. recently had an allergy test done to see what she might be allergic to. Turns out, on a scale of 0 to 6, she is allergic to clams, scallops, bananas and pineapple, but only at a level of 4 which isn’t that bad, and we don’t eat any of those four that much.
The weird thing is, they didn’t seem to have any indication of problems with wheat or dairy. But after having dairy and wheat a couple days in a row, she was all congested and unhappy. So, despite the test, we decided that we were going to go as gluten free and dairy free (during the week, at least) as possible.
So there’s one part to the story.
Part two of the story comes from another set of review cookbooks that showed up on our doorstep on the same day.
How couldn’t we be, we love cooking with it. We love baking with it. We love making it.
We can’t review the cookbook yet, because we haven’t used it. Honestly, we flipped through a few pages, saw one that called for a can of cream of mushroom soup and the cookbook lost just a little bit of luster. Sure, at some point, we’ll dig into it and try to find a rose among the thorns and really, we aren’t so haughty and superior that calling for a can of soup is going to turn us completely off (unless it calls for a brand name, because then it gets a bit too product placement-y.
But, with that stuff about allergies? Suddenly the less attractive cookbook became a star. 120 recipes that seem to be tailored to working around whatever is making the Mrs. not completely happy.
Which brings us to the last part of the story: The Mrs. not being completely happy. She’s happy, in that general sense, but there is work related stuff that has been dumped on her that has just made her realize just how much work she has to do outside of Cook Local for her job. Couple that with some weird spam attack we’re currently under that has us not allowing comments for the time being, pretty much to the day of her making that realization. It was a bit… stressful.
So, all this means is that I have to take over a lot of the duty here. I was always hesitant because, well, my writing style is different, I’m not as well liked as she is, and she is, by far, the better cook.
But, all that said, I’m going to endeavor to write as many posts a week as I can. She’s still the Editor in Chief and Kitchenatrix. I’m just the backup who happens to have a little more time right now.
So, let’s go the first recipe.
I wanted to go with something easy, since it was an early yoga night and flipping through the pages, I landed on a vegetarian sloppy joe. We aren’t vegetarians, we believe in eating food and not denying ourselves food we like.
And really, this recipe could easily have ground beef instead of French lentils. But lentils are a good source of protein. Plus, it gave us a chance to try Udi’s gluten free rolls.
- French lentils, 1 1/2 cups
- Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
- Yellow onion, 1, diced
- Bell peppers, 2, diced (I recommend green for color contrast, but I used orange)
- Baby carrots, 1/2 pound, sliced thin
- Ground cumin, 2 teaspoons
- Sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon
- Brown sugar, 2 tablespoons
- Medium/hot ground pepper, 1 teaspoon
- Very hot ground pepper, to taste
- Tomato sauce, 2 1/2 cups
- Water, 1/2 cup
- Salt, Pepper to taste
- Rolls (or rice, emmer, gluten-free pasta, etc)
- Add lentils to a stockpot and cover with two to three inches of water.
- Heat the stockpot, covered, until the water is boiling.
- Crack the lid and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes and drain the lentils.
- While the lentils are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent.
- Add the peppers and carrots and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the cumin, paprika, brown sugar and ground peppers, stir to combine and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato sauce and water, stir and taste, adding salt, pepper or more of the hot peppers if needed.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce a bit to thicken.
- Add the lentils and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve on a toasted bun (or on emmer, rice, pasta).
Notes: The ground peppers we used came from Tonnemaker’s stand at the U-District Farmers Market. We highly recommend their dried and ground stuff, as well as the fresh peppers.
I used a roast pepper tomato sauce from Whole Foods, which left the dish just a little too sweet for the palate. I’d consider doing a nice rich tomato sauce with a hot Italian sausage base instead. The added protein isn’t a horrible idea, although it will counteract the whole ‘vegetarian’ thing.
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