Since I fairly recently made the “Recipes” page of this blog, I had an opportunity to review what we’ve eaten for the last few months. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many vegetarian dishes I’ve made–looks like my Meatless Mondays paid off! I believe that we are now officially out of the “forcing myself to do it” and into the “habit/lifestyle” phase. Even Fritz doesn’t find it unusual to be eating meatless for a few days in a row (minus his lunchtime pastrami sandwiches, of course). One of my friends posted a “top 30 health foods” list in her blog recently, and I was pleased to see that Fritz and I eat all of them, minus a few–like chard (ew)–on a regular basis.
So one benefit of food blogging–it’s like an intensive, long-term food diary. Perfect for a little early-March life assessment.
Here’s a recipe for a sassy Moroccan-style vegetarian stew I made in the Crock Pot for tonight. Set it up before work/school, turn it on low, and come home to a warm bowl of spicy lentils, beans, and vegetables. Does it get better than that?
(Although I must say that the site I found the recipe inspiration on is written by a woman who apparently ate Crock Pot meals for an entire year. Um…no. I like to vary the texture of my meals, thank you very much. Once a week, tops, is enough for me).
Moroccan Lentil Stew (adapted from this recipe)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 C carrot, diced
- 1″ piece ginger,peeled and minced (I used a bit more–I love ginger!)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed (or 2/3 C dried beans, which soaked overnight will equal about a 15 oz can)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed (2/3 C dried beans, soaked overnight)
- 1 C dried lentils (I used red lentils)
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 C veggie broth, plus an extra 2 C water (more if you used dried beans)
- 1 1/2 t garam masala (recipe coming soon!)
- 1/2 t cayenne pepper
- 1/2 t cumin
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/4 t cinnamon
Set the stage–plug your Crock Pot in.
Basically, dump all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on low, and go do what you want for a few hours (7, if you had my schedule).
The more glamorous version is this: chop the veggies first (onion, carrots, and mince the ginger, too), toss those in. Add the beans and lentils. Top with spices. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and the broth. Give it a quick stir. If you used dried beans that soaked overnight, add a few extra cups of water. Actually, even if you used regular beans, you might want to add some extra water. Those lentils will suck it right up–but you can always add more when you get home (I did that, too).
The step you didn’t see? I actually made the garam masala–I’ll show you how to do that in my next post. Easy, and it smells so good.
Like I said, cook on low for 6-8 hours, then serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.
That’s the antique version of Moroccan stew. Here’s the regular:
Doesn’t that look heavenly? This stew is nice and thick because the lentils break down as they cook and basically puree themselves (thank you lentils!). This stew also has a sweeter and warmer taste than most stews I make–I think that’s due to the generous amount of nutmeg and cinnamon. I loved it. Not overpowering, but definitely distinct.
Want to know the secret to all these patterned backgrounds? I swore to myself that I would never tell, but I’ll betray my own confidence because it’s such and easy and cheap way to have fun food pictures when you don’t feel like making an elaborate set-up. I just thought you would like to know.
I bought a humongous book of scrapbooking papers from Joann’s Fabrics at 50% off for $9.00. There are a couple hundred square sheets of fabulous patterns–I just choose one, rip it out, toss on the table for pictures, and then stick it back in the book for another time. I literally stumbled across the idea while I was looking for fabric to make pillow covers for the couch.
I love those cheap and easy inspirations, don’t you?
What’s one of the ways that you use everyday items for unusual and creative purposes?