Lentils with Mustard-Herb Butter -Another 5 star!

I’ve had this recipe for months and months and months. I put it in my meal planner, buy the ingredients and when it comes time to make it, I don’t. I think it seemed intimidating. The original recipe included salmon and had the French translation at the end of the title. I think that’s why it was intimidating. I like to cook, but I’m no chef, and I certainly don’t consider myself sophisticated enough to make French food! So in an effort to clean out our freezer I decided to just do it!

The night I made this, my husband took a nap and I just took a deep breath and with great determination, entered the kitchen. I read the directions a couple of times and decided to make the lentils first (cause anyone can boil some legumes, right?). Then I made the mustard butter. Then I chopped the leeks and it all just fell into place entirely WAY too easily. Before I knew it, dinner was ready, I woke my husband up and he said “already? How’d you do that so fast?” and that’s when I realized I’d actually finally conquered this oh-so-intimidating recipe and did it like I was a professional! As it turns out, French food isn’t intimidating, it’s just all about the butter!

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When we sat down at the table, I took another deep breath and tasted the lentils. HOLY COW! They were packed with this amazing flavor! My husband and daughter loved them too! It was definitely a 5 star recipe. The next day I even ate the lentils cold, that’s how good they were!

These were so good I thought I’d just post the lentil part of the recipe so that it could be a vegetarian dish (hey! It’s Meatless Monday after all). The salmon was good, but that’s not what made this recipe worthy of 5 stars. However, I’ll post how to cook the salmon at the very end so that if you do want to have this recipe as originally written, you can.

Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter (with Salmon) (Saumon aux Lentilles)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-with-Lentils-and-Mustard-Herb-Butter-em-Saumon-aux-Lentilles-em-241768

  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, optional
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, optional
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

If you want to add salmon:

  • 4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

 

Directions

Cook lentils: Bring lentils, water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.

Make mustard-herb butter: Stir together all ingredients with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash . Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with 3 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

For the salmon:

Sauté salmon while leeks cook: Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total).

Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils.

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Pasta with Kale, Kalamata Olives, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Garlic & Feta

Meatless Monday, cheers! My husband thinks he doesn’t like today, but he does. He just doesn’t want anyone to know. He’s from the mindset that you must eat meat at every meal. I’m not sure why this is. But a lot of people are like that! If vegetarianism were about eating a salad all the time, I’d think I’d have to eat meat too, but it’s not. There are so many fabulous dishes out there that are so crazy packed with flavor, you just don’t miss the meat. Really. I speak the truth. And my husband will tell you the same, via ESP, so that he wouldn’t have to say it out loud, I’m sure of it.

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

This recipe was fairly easy enough, not much to it prep wise, which is super nice! I had a meeting tonight so I wanted something easy to throw together before I ran out the door in an effort to beat the traffic… ahhhhhhh, the LA life. The only thing was that I hadn’t timed the cooking of the spaghetti in with the cooking of the sauce, so my husband had to finish that part up, which means I DIDN’T GET TO EAT ANY! At least not hot, the night of. I actually ate it cold the next day. I love me some cold spaghetti! It was good cold and I’m sure it would have been great hot. You’ll have to let me know!

As for the ingredients, I love garlic. My husband finally had the nerve after a few years to tell me he did not love it, so I cut up two garlic cloves instead of an entire head, and I used half the amount of onion because, again, I always seem to have extra large onions, so now I’m cautious. This recipe had so much flavor! How could it not with garlic, cranberries, kalamata olives & feta? I think I would make this again. I’d like to try it hot and fresh. I’d give it 4 stars, but I’m on the quest for a plethora of five star recipes!

 

Pasta with Kale, Kalamata Olives, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Garlic, & Feta

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (we use whole wheat)
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook onion in the remaining oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries and cook until plumped, about 1 minute.
2. Add kale leaves into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.
4. Toss pasta with kale, kalamata olives, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta cheese and garlic chips over the pasta dish and serve warm.

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat” Ragu Over Tagliatelle

Seriously! I can’t believe it’s not meat! Ok, well, it’s been awhile since I had beef so maybe it’s not that tricky, but it sure has a great texture and it looks like ground beef! I thought I’d be able to trick my husband, but I got too excited about how it looked, I told him what it was called before he took a bite. He’s not a huge cooked tomato fan, but he’s a trooper. He said he liked it, and I believed him.

www.marthastewart.com/

Now, this is a Martha Stewart recipe so it’s complicated and involved. I don’t think she does anything simple, does she? I did start this earlier than normal so it could have the full two hours to simmer and acquire the full intensity of flavor. I admit, after I put this in my menu planner, I set the calendar on my phone to remind myself… and then, funny thing, the alarm went off, I read the message and thought “what the heck?”. Haha! My brain is full, packed to the brim I tell you. Shoot, if it weren’t for my menu planner and my Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Crock Pot Wednesday, I’d have no idea what day of the week it was! Know what I’m saying?

I halved this recipe because there’s 2 1/2 of us and we don’t often have time for leftovers. It made plenty for four people. I made garlic toast (literally buttered bread with garlic salt & oregano sprinkled and popped in the toaster oven) and a veggie, but a salad would be great with this too. And heck, don’t let that Grenache go to waste! I think I’d make this again, but I’m not quite sure. It was good, but 5 stars good? I don’t know. Will I toss this recipe? No. It’s good to have a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe on hand. Cheers!

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat” Ragu Over Tagliatelle

http://www.marthastewart.com/893506/i-cant-believe-its-not-meat-ragu-over-tagliatelle

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion, very coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, very coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium ribs celery, very coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound cremini mushroom caps
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 4 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Grenache
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Hebron or herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds Tagliatelle pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Place onion in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Place carrots and celery in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Place mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil, cloves, cinnamon stick, pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook until cinnamon stick begins to unfurl, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add onion and 2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery; stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is browned, about 12 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is released, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup water and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours for a deeper flavor, adding an extra 1/2 cup water after one hour. Add Herbes de Hebron and butter; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add remaining tablespoon salt to boiling water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and add to pot with ragu; toss to combine. Serve topped with freshly grated cheese.