Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
As the last summer rays ripen the tomato vines, plump up squashes and stretch out green beans, I'm looking to use the most healthful ingredients in a filling, yet light summer salad. Pairing lentils as my base and layering with loads of fresh crunchy beets, tangy feta cheese, earthy eggplants and super food spinach creates a summer salad that is as easily used as a side dish or vegetarian main dish. Other than the lentils and olive oil, I purchased everything at a farmer's market. Enjoy!
-1 cup of green or brown lentils, picked through and washed
-3 to 4 cups of washed baby spinach or other mixed baby green
-1 small purple eggplant or several baby eggplants
-1 large beet, peeled or several small beets, peeled
-1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
-10 to 12 chopped kalamata olives
-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp fresh lemon zest
-1 juice of one lemon
-fresh cracked black pepper
-sea salt to taste
Using a zester or the smallest option on a box grater, rub a washed lemon down to just when the white pith begins to show. Then rotate and repeat until you have about 1 tsp of zest, which is full of flavor with the lemon oils that are in the skin opened up. In a small bowl, add the zest, juice of the lemon, 1 tsp salt, 15 turnsof the pepper grinder and whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
Cut the eggplants, lengthwise, in half. Dust with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and drizzle a small amount of oil over the flesh. Place under a broiler, skin side up for 5 minutes, flip and broil other side until the flesh is blackened slightly. Cool and chop into medium size pieces.
In a sauce pan, fill to halfway with water and add the cup of lentils. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium, keeping the lentils at a steady simmer. The lentils will take about 25 minutes to cook. Taste test one or two lentils and make sure they are tender and no crunch is left. Depending on the age of your lentils, they might need a littler longer to become tender. Be sure not to overcook and let them become mushy. Drain the lentils and set in a large bowl.
Wearing gloves to protect your hands from staining slide the peeled beets over a box grater or cut them into thin slices. Add to the warm lentils. Toss in the eggplant, olives, baby greens and feta and toss well with dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serving size is 1 cup.
Monday, August 26, 2013