Saturday was a beautiful day! My friend came in from out of town for a bridal shower, and she was staying with Hubby and me for the night. Stinker was so excited for “company,” she could hardly stand the wait. I was excited for our planned wildflower hike that evening. Hubby, however, was not excited. Not because he doesn’t like this friend, he does and in fact gets along quite well with her. No, he was unexcited because it meant we had to clean up the house, and it was a bit of a mess. This is one of the reasons I love having company–it forces us to clean the house. Otherwise, Hubby has no reason to declutter his shit that accumulates all over the place. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but Hubby definitely is the King of Clutter, and he knows it.
Ironically, we both woke up around 5:45am Saturday morning (Whyyyyyy?? Why can’t this happen on a work day, when I struggle to climb out of bed by 7am?). So we had plenty of time to eat breakfast, walk Stinker, and get the house cleaned up. We were finished by 11:00. I haven’t felt that productive in a long time!
In addition to cleaning house, I made a chocolate-cherry cookie bar batter and a cheddar cranberry monkeybread dough, both of which I put in the solar oven. They turned out great, and I’ll post more on those later. I transplanted some of my tomatoes into larger pots (until I ran out of soil and trays to hold the pots), weeded some in the garden, and did 3 loads of laundry. For dinner, I prepared a tomato and red lentil dal that turned out so good. I’ve been on a bit of a curry kick lately, and I’ve tried several new recipes. It’s rare that I come across a curry dish I don’t like. I love the beautiful bright colors of curry dishes and the warm, earthy smells that fill my entire house. The recipe said “Serves 4” but unless you are serving 4 football players, this recipe will easily serve 8, perhaps many more if you serve it over basmati rice like I did. I’m glad there are plenty of leftovers, though–that means I’m going to have awesome lunches at work this week!
It’s rare that I am this organized before embarking on a new cooking adventure, but for some reason I prepared ALL of my ingredients before I began cooking this dish, parsing them into separate bowls to be added to the pot at the appropriate time. I felt like I was hosting a cooking show! Only there was no make up, cameras, or bright lights. So it was only sort of like hosting a cooking show, I guess.
From left: onion cooks first, alone, in the oil; carrots, garlic, and seeds are added next.
From left: warm spices add loads of flavor and depth to dals (clockwise from top: garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, and ginger); locally grown red lentils from the CSA.
Tomato and Red Lentil Dal (should serve at least 8, more if served with rice)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bulb garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (make your own!)
1 ¼ cup red lentils
1 2/3 cups water
1 2/3 cups coconut milk (1 13.5-ounce can)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons dried cilantro (use 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro)
Salt, to taste
Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute the onion for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the carrot, garlic, cumin and mustard seeds and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent the spices from burning. Add the lentils, water, coconut milk, tomatoes with juices, and 1 tablespoon dried cilantro. Season with a little salt and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the lime juice and remaining 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (if using fresh, stir in 3 tablespoons now, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish). Cover and cook for another 15 minutes, covered, stirring once or twice. Add more salt to taste, if needed. Serve over basmati rice.