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beets, lentils, and homemade mustard.

Posted Jul 04 2009 10:24pm

...which is a lot for one little post, but they all go together. This lentil and beet dish is incredibly versatile. You can change the ratios to make it mostly beets, mostly lentils, mostly onions, or anything in between. You can also make it as simple or complex as you want by adding some or all of the extras.

For the lentil and beet salad:

3c cooked black beluga lentils
2 beets
1 large onion
1/2c dried mushrooms (nice strong ones, like porcini)
fresh dill, chopped (I used about 1/2c, but others are usually more, um, moderate with herbs. I don't see why.)
balsamic vinegar OR vincotto + a splash of lemon juice (I used my new favorite thing, which is vincotto with carob)
scant 1 tsp good carob powder
salt and pepper to taste

optional add-ins
any or all of: chopped walnuts or toasted hazelnuts or green olives or capers or chopped fresh parsley to taste.

Bake or caramelize the beets and onions. Rehydrate the mushrooms in as little hot water as possible. When the beets and onions are done, take them out of the oven to cool a bit, and simmer the mushrooms briefly in their own juice. Chop up the beets and onions. I like big slices. When the mushrooms are done, hopefully there will still be some liquid left. Combine everything, including the mushroom liquid. Add the optional add ins. Or don't. They are, after all, optional. Serve this salad warm (or cold) on chopped bitter greens and apples. Or just chopped bitter greens. Either way, you can schmancy it up if you toss the greens first with a mustard/agave/vinegar dressing (which is those three ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio, using apple cider or red wine vinegar)

I like mustard, and it's insanely easy to make your own. Here, I used my homemade whiskey mustard. Yes, whiskey. Because what's the point of living in Scotland if you can't cook with whiskey? 

To make your own whiskey mustard: put mustard seeds of the colour(s) you want in a glass container and cover them with whiskey and leave it in the fridge for a day or two or three (the exact length of time will depend on whether or not you forget it's there). Then blend it to the smoothness you want, add apple cider vinegar until it's the right consistency (the consistency you want), and return it to the fridge for a week so that it can calm down a bit. Make sure you put a lid on it. There. Now you have mustard, made to your own taste. You can even add sugar (agave nectar) or salt or other flavours (tarragon is yummy, for example). Don't you feel smart?  

While your beets are baking and your mustard is mustarding, dance around wildly to whiskey-mustard music with a sweet side: The Pubcrawlers

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