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Bean Me Up

Posted Sep 15 2009 10:35pm
I'm noticing a theme lately. A bean theme. It has lasted about 48 hours so far, and was not especially intentional in the first place. However, I have not, ahem, exploded yet, so...you know, that's a good sign and stuff.

Sunday night, I made a "frugal" lentil recipe. Curried Lentil Risotto, to be exact.

My friend and onetime roommate, Natalia, just returned from Cambodia and brought me pretty much every foodie's dream: spices from the faraway land itself! And chopsticks too! I now have authentic samples of lemongrass, curry, ginger, saffron (!) and amok. I've never encountered amok in my cooking adventures thus far, but Nat tells me it's a fairly ubiquitous seasoning in Cambodian cooking, so I intend to do some Googling and make something deliciously Southeast Asian soon! You know how I like to run amok with recipes anyway, har har... Ok, that was cheap.

Naturally, I needed to cook with my new acquisitions as soon as possible, so two spice-heavy recipes became Sunday night's dinner. The first was the aforementioned Curried Lentil Risotto and the accompaniment was Natalia Rose's raw Curry Canteloupe Soup. The recipe is published in The Raw Detox Diet, so I won't repeat it here, but it's basically just a whole canteloupe and spices in a blender.

This dinner was quite the party in my mouth! For the lentils, I followed the recipe fairly exactly, though I omitted the broth and added 1 tsp sea salt instead. I also threw in a 10 oz package of organic frozen spinach because spinach goes well with Indian flavors (translation: I was too lazy to make a separate vegetable dish). It worked quite well! I just ended up cooking the whole thing down for quite a while longer than prescribed due to the excess water the spinach contributed. I wanted it to be more lentils, less soup.

I just got done having the leftovers for dinner tonight, and the flavors really intensified for the second time around! Highly recommendable for spice fiends.

I have a soft (boiled) spot in my heart for lentils--they are a wallet's savior, and yet so very nutritious. They are also the lazy chef's dream: dry to delicious in a half hour flat, no soaking/rinsing required.

For further proof of my love for lentils, I direct you to last night's dinner with the boyf at Angelica Kitchen, one of my very favorite vegan restaurants in the City. I had a "Picnic Plate," where you get to select small portions of various menu items. I'm always one for maximizing the taste opportunities when dining out, so I did a "pick 3" and chose the daily norimaki (tempeh, brown rice, carrots, green beans & asparagus, I think), sweet potatoes and the daily special salad, which was lentils with roasted veggies over fresh salad greens. Swoon!

I all but drank the soy sauce too. Perfect little plate!

The boyf ordered one of the special entrees: corn croquettes. They were served over a smokey black bean sauce and topped with a garlic-lemon-tofu sauce, I believe. There was also a tomatillo salsa. And sweet potatoes. And beans. And the chef's first-born child. I dunno...it was quite the plate, though.

I think he hated it.

Looks like we can consider this the boyf's second blog-documented vegetarian success! It's truly hard to go wrong at Angelica, though, I must say.

Likewise, it is very hard to go wrong at Stogo, where all the ice cream is vegan, organic, naturally sweetened, otherhealthymumbojumbo and DEE-LEE-SHUSS.

We were pretty satisfied from dinner and content to go dessert-less for the moment. That is, until I realized we were mere steps from Stogo, at which point I insisted we stop in. I planted my face nose-deep into a dish of hemp maple walnut...

...and then only one of us remained contentedly dessert-less. 'Twas not I!

The hemp-based ice cream was a new one for me. The taste was delicious, but next time I'll stick to coconut-based flavors, which are far creamier. The hemp ice cream just tends to be a bit on the icy side compared with its coconut and soy counterparts.

Believe it or not, the bean theme carried on into today's eats too! I must be craving some stick-to-your-ribbishness, because I zoned in on JivamukTea'sMontana Salad pretty quick after looking over their menu during lunch today.

I did manage to chat just a little between (twee-bean?) bites, though. I mean, look who I had for company! Major catching up ensued.

My greens were loaded with avocado, quinoa and black beans. I dressed the bowl with their tahini dressing. The staff told me I chose the most popular salad + dressing combo! I knew I had good taste. ;)

I'm also a card-carrying member of the Clean Plate Club (that applies to what was on said plate before it was clean as well, a'thankyou!). No bean left behind.

This picture is currently cracking me up because it looks like Gena and I have a case of the Siamese hair. Can't tell where one mop begins and the other ends!

Just goes to show, great minds think alike...and then sprout similar colored hairs out the top.

In other news, I got to try a free Zumba class tonight! Melissa gave the heads-up to Open Center'sfree trial classes this week, so after work and a pit stop at Bonobo's...

[Guilty coconut face]

...I shook what my mama gave me for 60 minutes straight and loved every bit of it! The dancer in me craves that kind of movement, and the class definitely accomplished the stated mission of Zumba: to make you forget you're working out. The sweat dripping down my face tended to remind me that I was kinda exerting myself, but it was no torture, that's for sure!

Now, if someone would like to sponsor my potential booty-shaking habit, I will gladly consider any donations that do not arrive tucked into my waistband.
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