Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lentil and Rice Salad and Letting the Dust Settle

The dust has finally started to settle after a really busy two weeks. My family is all back in England, my Stunt Guy is back in Georgia. My apartment is starting to get back into a more habitable state after looking for a few days like all hope was lost and it should be condemned.

I'm back to eating Single Girl's Lunch Salads daily, and the best part is that I'm finally managing to get back into the kitchen.

I'm starting to think that I might have a slight cooking magazine problem. See, I'm lucky. I often find really good deals on cooking magazine subscriptions, so I tend to get a lot of them in the mail. My problem is that I don't read them at the rate that they arrive. I read maybe one for every five that come in. This wouldn't be too big a problem, except that I keep finding stacks of unread ones all over my apartment.

Here is most of my unread pile.

I've started to get pretty good at marking recipes, then clipping them for later, though I don't think that the shoebox I am storing those clippings in is necessarily the best organizational tool. It is also getting a bit full.

But, the good thing is that I now have lots and lots of inspiration when I need it. I just dip into the shoebox, leaf through some clippings, get an idea and I'm good to go.

I also mark things in recipe books. I always have a little package of sticky tabs with me when I'm reading a cookbook. You can tell how much I like a book by how many tabs are sticking out of it.

I came home from running errands today and had what I thought was a pretty clear vision of something I wanted to make, but I thought maybe I should thumb through a book just in case. I pulled a random book from the shelf and started thumbing through the pre-marked tabs. I used to be vegetarian, and the one I grabbed happened to be a vegetarian cookbook. Inspiration, as usual, came before I'd gotten to the 10th tab. I found a lentil and rice salad. I liked the idea of that, but I decided to just use those two ingredients as my base and then make the rest up from what I had in the pantry and fridge. Luckily, it turned out pretty awesome, and I'm delighted to share the fruits of my labors with you.

I really do believe sometimes that the best food is borne out of raiding what you already have in the house. Sometimes it allows you to think up combinations that you normally wouldn't consider. This is a prime example.

Vegan Lentil and Rice Salad with Lime and Tahini Dressing
Inspired by Vegetarian and Vegetable Cooking by Christine Ingram

When you're thinking about rice for this salad, I would really recommend trying to include a mix that has wild rice in it. I have a rice medley that I pick up from Fresh and Easy and it's brown, white and wild rice mixed together. That extra chewy earthiness that wild rice has goes really well here. But, if you don't have it, use whatever you feel like.

2 Small Carrots, peeled and grated
1 Cup Cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 Cup Uncooked Rice
1/2 Cup Uncooked Green Lentils

1 Teaspoon Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste.... be generous with the Pepper!

Soak your lentils for thirty minutes in unsalted water, then boil them for 15-20 minutes until they are just tender. You want them cooked, but not mushy. Cook the rice, drain and set aside.
Grate your carrots and shred your cabbage. Then, mix your dressing together. Make sure to stir the every loving heck out of the tahini before you add it in. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as you like. I added a smidge more vinegar than listed here, but I crave acid in everything. If you wanted, you could also substitute rice wine vinegar. Mix everything together in a large bowl. Serve with a little extra parsley on top.

You can eat this by itself pretty easily. It would go really well also as an accompaniment to fish, probably salmon or tilapia marinated in lemon juice.

Makes 4-6 Servings.

Want something sweet? Try these Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

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