Thursday, May 04, 2017

Warm Lentil Salad, May 3, 2017

My wife truly despises lentils, so I try to take advantage of her work trips as opportunities to have lentils for supper. That and sloppy joes, which I could probably eat every night for a week. Tonight, Wee Boy and I enjoyed a warm lentil salad with some cheddar, blue cheese, and rosemary gougères and fresh mandarin oranges. He is a big fan of legumes of any sort, so he was completely down with the lentil plan. Normally, I use sherry or red wine vinegar in lentils. Normally, I would never put honey in a savory dish like this. However, it seemed like it would be fun to fancy up the lentils this time. Next time, I'll go with my old standbys. This was good, don't get me wrong. It was just a tad more sweet than I would have liked.

Warm Lentil Salad
2 c. French green lentils
1/2 onion, chopped
14 baby carrots, diced (or 2 regular ones---I just had the minis on hand)
2 celery stalks, diced
3 c. water
4 strips bacon (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil (if not using bacon)
Salt and pepper
A splash of balsamic vinegar
A small squeeze of lemon juice (fresh is highly recommended here)
A dollop of honey
Salad greens (I used spring mix)

Put lentils, onion, carrots, celery, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook about 40 minutes. Drain, if necessary, and place in large bowl. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain, leaving a bit of the fat in the pan. Return lentils to pan and toss with bacon grease. If not using bacon, toss with warmed olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic, lemon, and honey. Mix well. Serve over greens. Serves 4-6. 

I never made or ate gougères before tonight, although I had long wanted to try them. Frankly, they are a bit too eggy for my taste, rather reminiscent of Yorkshire puddings. These were fine, but not something I would seek in the future. If you like eggy, though, you will love these. They're super simple, too. You can sub whatever cheeses you have on hand or love best. I jumped off from a Giant Eagle grocery chain free recipe, but switched both the cheese and the herbs. 

Cheddar, Blue Cheese, and Rosemary Gougères
1 c. water
5 tbsp. butter
3/4 c. flour
3 eggs
3 oz. grated sharp cheddar
A sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese
A sprinkle of rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring the water and butter to a boil. Over low heat, add flour and mix until batter is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add cheeses and rosemary. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake half an hour. Makes 3 dozen. You can also make them a bit bigger and bake just a smidge longer. 

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