Sunday, January 25, 2015

#312 Easy Curried Lentils with Kale, By: V



I had the most wonderful day on Monday.  Yes, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and S and I had the day off from work.  As I mentioned in my last post, Monday was also the start of D.C. Restaurant Week.  S and I decided to enjoy restaurant week with a lunch at 701 Restaurant.  

So we went to the city, and the city was bustling and busy with people enjoying the day off and the gorgeous weather.   I say 'gorgeous', as in it wasn't below 40 degrees, and it isn't snowing as it was thisThursday.  The restaurant week menu at 701 was a three course spread.  We both started off with the Tuna Tartare, which was dressed in a wasabi vinagrette and topped with sliced asian pear.  The plate drizzled with a persimmon-yuzu sauce.  I generally prefer tuna tartare with a more spicy lime flavor running throughout, so this probably wasn't my favorite as far as flavor is concerned.  S agreed that this wasn't the best tuna tartare we've had, but it was ok.  

For his main course, S ordered the Skuna Bay Salmon which was served atop a mustard spaetzle mixed with pomegranates, kale and pecans - talk about a perfect Fall/Winter dish!  It was delicious!  


I ordered the Duck Tajarin, spaghetti with duck bolognese with two beautiful spoonfuls of goat cheese on the side.  Let me just say it was amazing! Promptly halfway through our dishes, we switched to enjoy the other person's order - these  things have to be done!


And then we come to the dessert course.  I ordered the Chocolate Pot De Creme which was served with ice cream, brownie bits and a salted caramel.  I was not impressed by this dessert - the brownie bits were dry and crumbly, but I have to say the salted caramel was made to perfection.  S ordered the Cheesecake (his favorite dessert) which came with a berry sorbet and peanut butter crunch.  I have to say the cheesecake seemed to be made of goat cheese and cream cheese, rather than cream cheese alone; that taste was certainly distracting and not in a good way.  


All in all the main course was the highlight of the meal.  Not sure that I would run back to 701, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try the cuisine.  The restaurant group that owns this restaurant owns several other popular D.C. Restaurants (Rasika, Bombay Club, Bibiana, Ardeo + Bardeo, The Oval Room and Nopa).

After lunch was over we walked over to the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum.  That's by far one of the best things about Washington, D.C., you can visit all of the museums and sites for free.  It's great! We took in all of the beautiful sculptures and paintings.  It was a nice way to enjoy a day off from work.  Afterwards we enjoyed coffee at my favorite D.C. coffee shop, Chinatown Coffee Co. and headed home to get ready for what ended up being a long week.

Today I went to brunch with three girlfriends to Nopa Kitchen + Bar.  I had a delicious Bloody Mary (my favorite alcoholic brunch beverage) and a healthy Farro & Black Quinoa Rissoto.  


The quinoa dish had a flourish of sage-pumpkin seed pesto, kabocha squash, baby sweet potatoes, egg 63 and truffle pecorino.  What's egg 63 you ask?  I asked the same thing of the waitress.  Egg 63 is an egg cooked for one hour in 63 degree celsius water.  It was creamy inside and when broken into and stirred into the black quinoa and farro turned the entire dish into a creamy rissoto flavor.  This sounds like how I described my Creamy Lemon Orzo dish from last week! It's surprising how flavors work, and how a little thing like a poached egg can change a dish's texture and flavor.


After brunch I headed with a law school friend of mine, R, over to an articles club I just joined.  In lieu of getting through an entire book, one member hosts and assigns an article that the group will read and discuss, all over some wine and snacks.  It's a great way to meet new people and to debate, discuss and learn others opinions.  It was a generally fun and relaxing evening.  This idea came from a blog post on A Cup of Jo. The article we discussed for this month's club gathering, if anyone's curious was How To Be Polite.  Let me know what you think of it!

This week for dinner I made Steamed Fish and Easy Curried Lentils with Kale for dinner.
To make the fish I simply took cod filets and placed them on top of sliced red tomatoes all atop a sheet of foil.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of chardonnay or any white wine you may have around the house and seal the whole foil packet.  Let bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then open the packet and top the fish filets with a layer of panko breadcrumbs, then turn the oven to broil and cook for another ten minutes.  It's a simple and easy dish to make when you're loking for a quick dinner on the lighter side.



I served the fish with a side of curried lentils.  The lentils were quick and easy, and supery spicy, so feel free to ease up on how much garam masala and chili powder you use in your version.  Since the fish had a clean mild flavor, I thought I would spicen things up with a stronger lentil flavor.

Easy Curried Lentils with Kale

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In a medium pan add the oil and onions.  Turn the heat to medium high and fry until the onion softends.  Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala and red chili powder and mix together.  Make sure the mixture is blended, only heat through for about 10 seconds.
  2. Then add the lentils and stir together.  Then add the water and bring to a simmer.
  3. Let the lentils cook for 20-30 minutes.  Add water as it evaporates.  You can have it more watery or thicker to your taste.  Once the water has mainly all evaporated, add the tomato paste and raw kale (or spinach).  
  4. Stir thoroughly, the heat from the lentils will cook the greens through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn the heat off and serve.  You can also eat this dish with naan or rice.


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