rants & recipes

Archive for the ‘lentil’ Category

Celery Root!

Posted by trktos on 16-October-2009


One of the goals I had in mind for this month was to cook at least one food we’ve never had before. Another goal is to try to prepare some recipes from my pitifully neglected stash of vegan cookbooks. I drug a bunch of the out a few days ago and while looking through them, I found a soup recipe that called for celery root, which we’ve never (knowingly) had and French lentils which we’ve not cooked either (although, not quite as novel because a lentil is pretty much a lentil, in my book).

French lentils, if you haven’t seen them, look like this:


Kind of marbled and green. And smaller than red lentils. (Actually, probably a similar size to a whole red lentil, which I think are typically split.) They definitely don’t take as long to cook as normal brown lentils. The cookbook said they are lower in starch than brown lentils. And they definitely have a discernibly different flavor.

Celery root, if you haven’t seen one, looks like this:


Strange, gnarled looking things, with the beginnings of celery sprouting from their tops. Peeling these was easier than I expected. But, then again, I was expecting that task to be rather difficult. It was easy with a knife and didn’t “waste” as much root as I anticipated.

Inside, celery roots are white and semi-spongy – they remind me of parsnips a little bit. And they have a distinctly, rather strong, celery-like smell. Or rather, they imparted such a scent to my hands, which still smell, even now.

The texture of the cooked chunks of celery root was not what I was expecting, at all. They seemed to take in quite a bit of liquid and were light and juicy. Maybe like turnips? I’m not really sure why I think that, because I have no idea about what texture a cooked turnip has. (Just now reading at wikipedia – they are also called ‘turnip-rooted celery’, so maybe?)

Anyway, for dinner, I used these two new-to-us foods in “Creamy French Lentils with Celery Root and Garlic”, from The Complete Vegan Cookbook.


A perfect soup for this cold, wet, horrible weather we’re having.

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Perfect Weather for Curry

Posted by trktos on 7-October-2009


As I thought about what to cook for dinner tonight (and resisted the temptation to suggest we just finish off our bread from last night, maybe followed with a cup of cocoa!), I started thinking about another common food idea that I don’t understand – people who rarely cook and/or “can’t” cook. And especially, new vegetarians/vegans, or would-be new v’s, who have no idea how to “cook vegetarian”. As far as cooking goes, I can’t imagine it gets much easier – nothing has to be cooked to a certain temperature (although I do try to limit my consumption of raw potatoes!), I don’t have to keep track of which cutting board is for what (one of those binary choices I’d probably always get wrong) … most of our meals are simply “vegetables, a grain, and a protein” – the protein, incidentally, we often refer to as ‘meat’. I insist ‘meat’ is a perfectly good word and refuse to surrender it to meaning solely the body parts of dead animals. (Although, I would try to avoid such confusing use in unfamiliar company.)

I try to temper my disbelief by trying to imagine what I’d do if I decided to try to cook, say, a whole chicken. I would be lost, not to mention very sad with a dead bird in my kitchen. Indeed, I stopped eating meat before I learned how to cook … so that would be my excuse for burying hypothetical chicken in the backyard and frying up some tofu.

And, of people (both vegans and non) who do cook regularly, I suppose there are two types – those who must have a recipe and those who are willing to just throw stuff together, experiment and make all sorts of adjustments. I am probably a member of both camps, but for meals, I tend to experiment and only occasionally go by a standard recipe. I don’t bake enough to feel as comfortable doing that with, say, a cake. Unless cutting out/replacing eggs and dairy from non-vegan recipes count.

Anyway, I’d be curious to hear how other people cook. How often they cook, how often they try new recipes for meals, if they just throw stuff together, etc?

So, anyway … tonight’s dinner, I decided for curry. Kind of chilly outside, perfect weather for something hot and a little spicy. A while back, I made some soup that I thought of as “Clean Out the ‘Fridge” soup because I used all the vegetables in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten. Along the same lines, this could be “Clean Out the ‘Fridge” curry. I based it roughly on this recipe, with the following ingredient additions:

  • 5 medium potatoes, diced
  • ~ 1 1/4 cups red lentils (because they cook faster)
  • some spinach that needed to be included in something (maybe 2 cups, non-packed)
  • 6-8 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • maybe only 1 cup coconut milk (the amount I had left-over, from something, in the freezer)

Anyway, a good exercise in modifying a “recipe” to use what you have and what you need to use, rather than strictly sticking to a recipe, ingredient for ingredient. A good exercise and a good dinner. (With leftovers, too! =)


Posted in 0: Recipes, beans, curry, eggplant, grains, starches, lentil, main dish, potato, spices, flavors, spicy, stew, VeganMoFo, vegetables | Comments Off on Perfect Weather for Curry

“Clean out the ‘fridge” Soup

Posted by trktos on 23-September-2009

Another soup that garnered an “acceptable” from Evin.


  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 10-15 sun-dried tomato halves, diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled, chopped, salted, waited for, rinsed, squeezed (whew, don’t you just love eggplant?!)
  • about 1 cup lentils, soaking beforehand will reduce your cooking time
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • Seasoning:
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp marmite
  • 2 tsp dark miso
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • dash or two celery seed
  • ~ 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt, pepper


  1. Saute onions, garlic and carrots in some oil, in a stock pot for a few minutes.
  2. Add remaining vegetables and lentils. Add water, a few inches less than would cover your veggies.
  3. Simmer until lentils are done.
  4. At some point, prior to done-ness, add your seasoning ingredients.
  5. Serve with crackers.


  • Regretfully, I had spinach to add but forgot it.
  • Photo below by Evin. Camera flash was screwing up for me.

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Eggplant and Barley Stew

Posted by trktos on 21-February-2009


  • 2 American eggplants, diced, salted, rinsed, squeezed and rinsed again (whew!)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4+ cloves garlic, minced
  • approx. 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry pearled barley
  • 2/3 cup dried lentils
  • approx. 6 white mushrooms, diced
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • approx. 1 oz dry soy curls, reconstituted, heated with some oil, soy sauce, garlic and onion powder (could use more, this is just the amount I had as left-overs) (optional)


  • Soak barely and lentils for a couple of hours to reduce cooking time.
  • Rinse and place barley and lentils in stock pot, barely cover with water and cook on medium-high until done (keep a watch on the water level). Turn off heat.
  • Strir/steam fry onions, carrots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes in a generous amount of olive oil (I used a generous amount of oil in this recipe as it was originally going to be a curry … I then realized I didn’t have any coconut milk).
  • Add mushrooms and continue to cook until veggies are done. Add veggies to stock-pot with lentils and barely.
  • Stir-fry eggplant in some olive oil until done. Add to stock pot.
  • Add canned tomatoes to stock pot.
  • Add warmed soy curls (along with their oil and soy sauce) to stock pot. (if using)
  • Turn stock pot back on, to medium-high heat. Add a little water as needed. Allow all the ingredients to cook together for a few minutes (watching that barely – it sticks!!).


  • I cooked all the veggies separately to reduce the amount of water I’d need, if I threw everything into a pot at once.
  • Serve with pasta.

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Eggplant and Lentil Curry

Posted by trktos on 20-December-2008

Nothing terribly special about this recipe, except that it’s just really good!


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 smallish eggplants – chopped, salted for 30+ minutes, rinsed, squeezed
  • 1 cup brown lentils, soaked in hot water while waiting for the eggplant
  • 2 tbsp curry
  • generous pinch ground coriander seed
  • vegetable stock (water to almost cover, 2 vegetable bullion cubes)
  • ~ 2/3 can coconut milk


  1. Sauté onion, carrot, garlic in some olive oil.
  2. Add eggplant, curry, coriander, lentils, stock to almost cover (I used as little water as possible because I wanted a thick curry … and you add the ‘milk later.)
  3. Bring to a boil, simmer until lentils are done to taste (about 20 minutes for me).
  4. Stir in coconut milk.


  • Modified from this recipe.
  • Serve with rice or another grain. Or not – it’s plenty tasty all by itself!

Posted in 0: Recipes, beans, curry, eggplant, lentil, main dish, spices, flavors, spicy, vegetables | Comments Off on Eggplant and Lentil Curry