Monday, June 25, 2012

Comfort Food

Mostly I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking in the summer; who wants to heat up the kitchen and use up a lot of electricity? But today is cloudy and pretty cool--cool enough for a wool sweater, especially near the lake. So it's a good day to make a favourite recipe of my own invention. This is comfort food at its best, and it's even good for you.

Mediterranean Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan)

4 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, quartered, then sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 19 oz can lentils, rinsed and drained (or 2 c cooked puy lentils)
1 small can tomato paste mixed with 2 empty cans filled with water (makes 2 c tomato sauce)
2-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths (enough to yield 2 c mashed)

Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. When done, drain most of the water off and mash the potatoes with the remaining water. Keep them on the thick side since they will absorb sauce from the pie while it bakes.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the oil in a large skillet. When softened, add the mushrooms and salt and cook until most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Add the garlic, carrots, thyme, and pepper, and sauté for a few minutes, then add the tomato mixture and the lentils. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Preheat oven to 350F.
Pour the lentil mixture into an 8x8 baking dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle additional pepper over the top.
Bake, uncovered for 20-30 min. Hint: place the casserole on a cookie sheet to catch any drips.
Makes 4 generous portions.

Why puy lentils? Because they hold their shape and don’t have the mealy quality of regular brown or green lentils. The last time I made this I confess I used half puy and half green lentils, and it was still good.

Doors Open Ontario held its Kingston events on Saturday. Since we live next door to one of Door Open locations, we were treated to a jazz band for an hour.

I puttered around the garden, getting it ready for Kingston Blooms while enjoying the sounds. I think things are starting to look great, for a garden that's only one year old.

While we watched Zen on PBS last night (the first TV I've watched in months!), I plied the third skein for my DSK project. This little huge project is giving me a fantastic amount of practice at producing a consistent result with my new spinning skills. Each of my approximately 50g skeins has roughly 95 yards. I estimate that there'll be enough for a nice vest.

It's all I can do to keep my hands off it while it dries. I might have to start knitting before all the spinning is complete.