Honey Garlic Lentils

I read this item on a menu once and though I never tasted them, the idea has been dancing around my head ever since. I searched for recipes online.I found some with a similar title, but the ingredient list never fulfilled the image and expectations my mind had created. I was expecting a strong but creamy roasted garlic with a surprising, but not overwhelming, sweetness. The other recipes included too many other overwhelming flavors such as soy or dijon. After too much searching, and plenty of thinking, I devised this simple recipe.

I love roasted garlic, and I find that its far too easy to consume too much. Some nights we each finish an entire head, wanting more, although we know it was plenty to begin. This recipe was begging for it. I roasted three heads, but think perhaps a few more could be added for stronger results. A few tablespoons of honey and barely a dash of balsamic. All whisked together, simmered for a minute, and folded in with barely-done lentils — al dente, if it can be applied here. You want them to keep their shape. Some red onions, gently sauteed, and pistachio nuts (although I would have used walnuts or pine nuts if I had had them around). Its better if allowed to sit overnight in the honey garlic mixture, and the onions and nuts added the next day right before the meal.

Honey Garlic Lentils

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked lentils
3 heads garlic, roasted
3 T honey
2 t balsamic vinegar
olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
salt
a pinch of red pepper flakes
pistachios, walnuts, or others– preferably toasted and well salted.

Directions:
Cook lentils and roast garlic ahead of time.

Squeeze roasted garlic from bulbs, and whisk with honey and balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let simmer just a minute. Remove from heat. Pour over lentils. If you have time, let mixture sit overnight.

Heat olive oil on medium in a pan, and gently cook onions until just tender. Add a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in lentils with honey sauce until just heated through. Toss in toasted nuts.

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Balsamic Glazed Eggplant

Babaganoush is pretty much the only way I have prepared eggplant. Perhaps once before I sauteed it, but I can’t remember clearly, and I think thats because it wasn’t successful. I was a little intimidated to make anything else because of an episode of Good Eats I watched a while back. It seemed too difficult to drain out the water for a few hours before baking, grilling, or frying it to prevent a gloppy mess.

But one afternoon I finally had time and desire to try it. It turned out very well, too. The texture was great, and the flavor combo as well. There are lots of ways you can prepare eggplant, and the flavors are endless, too. This is effort #2 of hopefully many many more.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Eggplant

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, ground to a paste
1 T honey
2 t balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
red pepper flakes

Directions:
1) Salt both sides of eggplant slices and place on a cooling rack. Place a heavy cutting board, or something similar, on top and add weight. This will help squeeze some water out of the eggplants. Let it sit like this for an hour or two. Rinse off the salt and squeeze the water out. Pat dry with a clean dish towel.

2) Preheat your oven to 450ºF.

3) Grind your garlic cloves to a paste. Whisk in honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt.

4) Place eggplant on cooking sheet, and brush generously with the glaze. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you wish. Bake for about 20 minutes each side or until tender, reglazing as you flip.

What I Do When I Can’t Sleep: Bake (Honey Wheat Scones)

Wedding planning has kept me tossing and turning a few nights this week. I promised myself I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. What is important to us is that our family and friends come together, have a good time, and that my family can experience what has become my second home. But I have broken my promise, and it has become a big deal. There are too many details to think about. Things that I had always considered trivial suddenly take importance. Invitations were originally to be evite only. Who needs flowers? Dress, take it or leave it. The food, however, has remained always important. Suddenly they gain importance.

So at 1am I awoke with the brilliant idea to do it all myself, and in the garden of our apartment. I jumped out of bed and did a quick google search of service providers (tables and cutlery, even decorations). I whipped out a few emailes to get prices and delivery options, and was annoyed at the lack of immediate responses. I hand drew a plan of white gauzy drapes lining our car port, candles, pastoral flower arrangements, a vine-covered terrace arching over the path next to our fountain. It was beautiful! Then the details got to me: will our neighbors allow it? What about waiters? What if it rains? And is our little bathroom big enough? What if we break cups? What if I don’t know how to hang a drape beautifully?? At this point it was 3am, and I was tossing this plan out the window, along with the potluck idea I had a few weeks before. I was irritated, nervous, and not the least bit tired. I was out of energy to plan more, yet I was irritated and wide awake. I couldn’t call anyone to ask specific questions or advice. So I decided to bake scones to take my mind off the whole thing. Baking always relaxes me.

Why scones? I don’t know. I’d never made them before and I have a problem with repeating recipes. Its not that my recipes don’t turn out well the first time — generally when I look back at what I have made, I think “I need to do that again!” But I feel compelled to explore. Try new and challenging things. Now scones aren’t that challenging. But what do you expect from a girl on 2 and a half hours of sleep?

I never got to sleep that night, but my coworkers had scones the next day. Amazingly enough I was never tired, either.

Honey Wheat Scones
adapted from: dishing up delights

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 stick cold butter, cubed
1 c milk
1/4 c honey
1/2 c rolled oats

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon. Using a fork, work the butter into the flour until crumbly and well combined. Whisk together the milk and honey. Pour into flour mixture and stir til combined. Mix in the oats. Cut into shape you prefer. I just made a wheel, pictured. It took about 30 minutes to bake, but I didn’t pay close attention. It was about 4am anyway.

Optional Glaze: whisk together 2 T maple syrup, 2 T butter, and a dash of cinnamon if youd like. Spread over scones while they’re hot out of the oven. Sprinkle with sugar.