January 24, 2014

Lentils and Yogurt

My mom and I were talking about the best way to organize cookbooks yesterday.

She brought it up, but it was coincidental, because I've been feeling like my collection could use some sort of system lately.

I usually have an idea of what I'm looking for when I go browse through them--something sweet to take to a crafting party, a weeknight dinner recipe, a muffin recipe for Lola's snacks. But since they aren't organized at all, I spend a lot of time scanning them all. And then I get on major tangents, and remind myself for the hundredth time that I really have been wanting to make homemade pop tarts and that rose cream pastry from Laduree.

My mom was asking how I'd organize them and I threw out a few categories that would be helpful for me: Baking (Tartine, Baked, Dorie's Baking book), No Frills Weeknight Super Quick in Case Your Toddler Decides to Hang on You While You Cook (Keepers, Weelicious), Weekend (Ad Hoc, 660 Curries), Seasonal (Canal House, David Tanis), Comfort / Classics (Ina, Food 52, Smitten Kitchen). And then I said I'd want a lentil and yogurt category.

Because lentils and yogurt are my obsession right now.

Last night, I found myself asking Zach if I was making too many "lentil-y, yogurt-y things."

His reply: "I like what you've been making, but I wouldn't find any more recipes like that. I think we have enough."

Ha. But I had just found a recipe for Crispy Lamb with Lentils that was calling me.

I don't know exactly how this little craze started but I do know it was around the time I realized Lola liked lentils. Coincidentally, it was also around the time that I realized she probably wasn't going to ever start drinking milk again and was feeling the pressure to load her up with calcium in other ways (hence the yogurt).

Before Lola, lentils really weren't in our repertoire. We rarely ate at home, and when we did, it just wasn't lentils. Or yogurt sauces.

This is a very positive way in which this kid has changed our eating. Next time I am feeling sorry for myself that we don't get to go out to eat as much as we used to, I'll remind myself that Lola introduced me to the world of lentils and yogurt sauces.

For the past several months, this Mujuddara with Spiced Yogurt has become a dinner staple. We've also made our way through a huge batch of dal with cilantro yogurt.

We've eaten lentils sans yogurt too--in many batches of Ina's Warm French Lentils (that Lola and I eat as lunch or that I serve as dinner with sausages).

And we've eaten yogurt on a lot. A lot of Indian food, particularly. We've eaten raita next to our biryani. We've eaten a mint yogurt sauce on Afghan dumplings. And we've eaten it on pasta, mixed with caramelized onions. And...

This Mujuddara is the kind of thing I'm so happy to feed the three of us for dinner. It's super satisfying and super healthy (it'd be even healthier with some brown rice subbed in). It's simple but somehow so delicious: jasmine rice, tiny green French lentils, crispy onions, and a spiced but bright yogurt sauce (with lemon, cumin, cinnamon, mint, and coriander). And the leftovers are even better. If you're making it for a toddler, I recommend dicing the onions instead of slicing.

Just in case your toddler doesn't like strings of onions like mine. :)

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