This is a Real Post ™, written AND photographed by me. So let’s start with the drinks, because don’t you always want to start with drinks? This was in celebration of Zach Brown’s 28th rotation around the sun. There were these, and there was sushi. And there was much rejoicing. This place was a pleasant surprise! It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside is lovely & the food is great.
And then I made this, from The Chubby Vegetarian. It was epic. My first few experiences with lentils were when I was babysitting for this real hippie-dippie family (also stinking rich, go figure) who ate a lot of lentil soup. The kids were wonderful and sweet… The soup was tasteless and usually overcooked. So lentils and me got off to a rocky start. Thank goodness some kind soul (ahem, Carol) gave us this cookbook, which made it much easier to get acquainted properly. I can now personally attest that lentils are both delicious and nutritious. True story.
This stuff is not pretty in the pan. Nay, I daresay it’s not a pretty dish. Let’s call that the reason there are no pictures of the finished product… And not that we ate nearly all of it before remembering that I was going to write a post. Hah.
Some things I did differently– like using beer for half of the liquid instead of water, adding a ton of garlic (think half a head), and sauteeing the onions with six or seven (or ten…) whole dried hot peppers. You can see them floating in in the dish above. We also got lazy when it came to dressing them for eating, so rather than taco shells and fresh sliced avocado (which I am all about, when I have one around) we served on tortillas with lettuce, sour cream, some shredded cheddar mix, and pre-made guacamole from Trader Joe’s.
The overall effect of these changes on the recipe, I can’t say. I never made this dish without my adaptations– but I can say that I found it to be rich and flavorful. Smoky hints from the chipotle pepper and sesame oil, bite from the hot pepper and garlic, creaminess from the slow-cook of the lentils. This dish has it all, and has a texture very much like ground beef when you consider it in the sloppy joe-esque context. Add the cheese and guacamole and you have a unique dish with a nod to traditional Mexican cooking. I’m a fan.
Please don’t mistake me. This dish? White hot. It’s not that I think you’re a wuss, but Adam and I eat more spicy (and more intensely spicy) food than most other people we know. Our friends who love hot, spicy food are always surprised at how hot we will make certain dishes. For us, too much hot is the same as too much garlic. Which is to say, the concept doesn’t exist. At least it’s remote enough not to worry about on a day to day basis. Too hot? Too garlicky? Go the fuck home. :)
And my night ended this way: Two pans one spoon.
Tonight we’re off to a Sons of Anarchy premiere party, for which I made baked ziti (see above 2nd pan) and an obscene loaf of garlic bread that may or may not contain a whole head of garlic and 3/8th of a pound of butter. Just to, you know. Prove a point. Also to prevent vampire attacks. They’re on the rise these days.