Saturday, 16 May 2009

A Very Moosey Sunday

"When they talk about healthy food, they usually mean things that don't taste very good."
Julia Child

It's true, I have had many an unpalatable healthy meal served to me. Come to think of it, I have had many an unpalatable unhealthy meal served to me too. So I suppose the trick is to remember variety and big flavour are just as important in healthy eating as in the fun stuff.

The Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks are a great resource for flavourful healthy recipes, and I was lucky enough to pick a couple up at the used bookstore a couple of months ago. Adapting for my palate and what I had on hand, I created an uber healthy meal to end the week, without sacrificing flavour. And nobody walked away hungry.

White Bean and Red Pepper Spread
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

1.5 cups cooked white beans
2 jarred roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Juice of half a lemon, or to taste
2 tbsp fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whiz up in a food processor until combined. Chill for 30 minutes for flavours to meld. Serve with crudites or as sandwich spread.
Seen here spread on pumpernickel and topped with avocado slices

Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

3/4 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1-2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 slice fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter
2 dried hot peppers

1 tomato, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped

1 small-medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sort and rinse the lentils. Put them into a soup pot with the water, bay leaves, garlic, and ginger. Cover and place on high heat.

Prepare the tomatoes and peppers, and add them the pot. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

While the veggies simmer, saute the onions on medium heat in the olive oil in a heavy skillet for about 10 minutes or until browned. Add the cumin and coriander, and saute for another minute, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat. When the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaves, hot peppers and ginger from the pot. Stir in the sauteed onions and the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I garnished mine with some black beans as I had some on hand. Chives, yogurt, green onions, basil, would all work.

I love cooking with red lentils, they cook up so quickly. No thinking ahead necessary.

Soup and sammies for Souper Sundays!