Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey, Grandpa, What's for Supper (in Morocco)?

Sometimes doing this vegetarian diet deal is easier than it is at other times. Today it was not only easy, it was simply glorious and that's because the chef at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke gave me an idea that worked.

I ate lunch there with my wife and my birthday-girl mother-in-law and during the course of the meal, I bit into something buried under a piece of grilled snapper and nearly fainted from the sheer pleasure of the taste. I hustled the bright young waitress over and asked her what these things were (I honestly didn't know they were lentils because they didn't taste like any I'd ever had before) and when she told me, I asked her if she could get the chef to tell me what was in them. She did and he did and I'll tell you in a minute.

Lentils, of course, are the small seeds of a Eurasian bean and you're familiar with them mostly in soups. What I had was a much drier side dish with a nice kick to it. The waitress told me that the chef passed along the ingredients--green lentils (which are black), shallots, vinegar, olive oil and chili sauce. She didn't give any measurements, but I guessed. How wrong can you go with ingredients like that? Not very.

So, here's what I came up with: a pound of lentils, six ounces of chili sauce, four ounces of apple vinegar (which is something of a miracle food in itself; I have four books on apple vinegar, if you can believe that), four ounces of a light extra virgin olive oil and two big shallots, diced. There's not a lot of big-deal science involved here: you just cook the lentils for about 15 minutes and pour in the rest of the stuff, then let them simmer for about 10 minutes.

Pictured here is dinner: roast red pepper hummus that I made this evening (while I was waiting on the lentils to cook), tabouli (or tabouleh if you wanna go all Mid-East on me) with a full complement of salad veggies in it put together last night, a cut up pita pocket and the lentils--sitting where the meat would be if I was eating meat. This is simply a wonderful meal for diabetics like me and healthy people like you who want to stay that way.

And it's just so dang good! Mmmmmmmm ...

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