I am feeling the need for a more earthly connection, and decide for this week’s Special Dish for the Week a combination of legumes, nightshade, and a lot of earthy spice in:
Red Lentil Dhal with Smoked Paprika Eggplant
Using much of a recipe as a base, I naturally innovate. The base of the red lentil dhal are of course red lentils; I use organic. And I add some organic canned chickpeas for some added protein.
To begin preparing the spices, I lightly heat some cumin seeds and mustard seeds in some olive oil. Next, I introduce some chopped onion and the stems of cilantro. Then I add some grated ginger and garlic, red Thai chili peppers, cumin powder, turmeric and black pepper, and some chili powder. To finish off the spices, I add some cinnamon, which goes very well with raisins, so I add a bit of those too.
To this spicy paste, I bring some organic vegetable stock, a few chopped tomatoes, and begin cooking the rinsed red lentils and chickpeas. Before these finish cooking, I squirt the juice of half a lime and add some chopped cilantro.
The smoked paprika eggplant is super easy, and not too involved. I thinly slice the eggplant, and lightly fry the slices in a little bit of cold pressed virgin olive oil. I make a glaze of smoked paprika powder and water, and use a brush to apply a thin layer to each softened eggplant slice.
I serve the dish on a bed of brown jasmine rice, spreading out a couple slices of smoked paprika eggplant, and layering the red lentil dhal. One-eighth lime, a dollop of organic Greek yogurt, and chopped cilantro finish off this dish.
From my Santé, machine à manger wine glass, I sip a French Côtes du Rhône, which makes me feel close to my good friend who sent me the glass as a present. I surround myself with light from a beeswax candle I bought from my honey lady at the farmers market back in the Fall, and with a beautifully crafted ceramic clay bowl that another good friend made me for my birthday. My meal sits atop an authentic Provençal place mat, and I dab my lips with a matching serviette, gifted to me by another good friend. Though I dine alone, I feel the love of others around me.
Meal ideas & recipes from Maria Elia’s “The Modern Vegetarian” book from a good friend.