Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vegan Lentil Stew

I have discovered another winner from Alicia Silverstone's book, "The Kind Diet." Although I am not vegan, or even vegetarian, this stew (more of a soup, really) is so good. It is healthy and hearty, simple to prepare and cheap to boot! A definite win in my book! You don't often find me singing praises for vegan food, and I have never really eaten lentils very much, and this is the very first time in my life that I have ever cooked with them! I know, right? What the heck is wrong with me? A foodie who (is no spring chicken, by the way) has never cooked lentils? Well, they just weren't that common in my house growing up and I always associated them with green peas for some reason. I just figured I wouldn't like them so I never bothered to cook them. I have found a new curiosity for them and can't wait to compliment some other soup and stew recipes with them. I tried to find a copy of this recipe online straight from her book, but didn't succeed, so I will copy it straight from my copy. I did make a couple of substitutions which I will note.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large onions, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup shoyu ( I used Bragg's Liquid Amino, which is a vegan substitute for soy sauce)
5 cups (I used 4) vegetable broth
3 tomatoes, cored and diced
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
5  (I used 4) cups water

Combine the first six ingredients together in a small bowl.
Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Make sure it is big enough for all the liquid.
Add garlic, onions, celery, carrot and potato to pot along with half the seasoning mixture and the shoyu.
Cook, stirring frequently for about 7 minutes, until the onions are tender.

Add water, broth, tomatoes and lentils.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer with the lid askew for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining seasoning mixture and cook for another 20 minutes or so until the lentils are soft.

My photography (or whatever you want to call it) does not do this dish justice. You must try this. It is so good I had it for breakfast this morning! I think I even dreamed about it.

Kristin Chenoweth's "Chenolicious White Trash Cookies"

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of Kristin Chenoweth. She is that adorable and funny actress, Tony Award winning Broadway star, TV star, author of  "A Little Bit Wicked" and the person responsible for me singing the praises of her oh so simple, yet awesome cookies. I love the name she chose for these indulgent little treats. I appreciate the fact that she is celebrating the fact that we all (or most I should say) have a little white trash in us, so why not claim it and wear it as a badge of honor? Plus, life is too short for stressing over the labels we are given, so I applaud her for throwing this one out there, and these damn cookies!
I haven't read her book yet, but I plan too. I did not even realize we had it in the house. Although, I should have expected as much, since both of my kids absolutely love her, and  "Wicked."
My daughter came home from a long day at work in a big retail chain on the last day of "Tax Free Weekend" with a big ole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough and a can of vanilla frosting and immediately turned on the oven, before changing into her comfy clothes. I asked her what she was planning on doing with those items. Her reply was "Make me some Chenolicious White Trash Cookies and eat about half of them. After the day I have had, I deserve it." No complaints here. I mean, you really can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies and frosting. My daughter is great at finding easy sinfully good desserts from celebrities on the internet and in books, so I just sat back and enjoyed the smell of cookies baking and waited in anticipation. Anything with Chenoweth's name on it is fabulous, so we just got all white trash with her cookies and I believe they are share worthy, so here you go. I am copying this exactly as she wrote it in her book.

A blonde moment Kristin herself would be proud of:
When I mentioned to my daughter, Skye, that I had posted this recipe, she asked me "What does it mean by 'bake on wrapper?' I replied "What are you talking about? You can't bake them on the wrapper." She showed me the sentence ' Bake as directed on wrapper.' I cracked up! We looked at each other and Skye said "Wow, that really was a blonde moment." Need I explain? (Bless Your Heart) :)


"Take a cudgel of that frozen chocolate chip cookie dough you buy at the grocery store and resist the  temptation to eat most of it raw.
Bake as directed on wrapper.
Lick plastic wrapper. Crack open a can of Betty Crocker ready-to-spread vanilla frosting and slather that on the bottom of each cookie with a butter knife-liberally if you are a Democrat, prudently if you're Republican.
Lick butter knife. Clap two cookies together forming one big, fat good-time sandwich. Done!"

Guess you can tell from the amount of frosting and the manner in which it was applied what political affiliation my daughter is! My suggestion, everybody needs to do it the liberal way in this case!