Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! It's one of my favorite holidays because it gets you thinking outside of yourself, and remembering and honoring those who paused their own lives for the safety of ours.
So, it's going to be a busy couple of days (and by couple, I mean many) around here, and I'll tell you why in a bit. First off, my second race of the year is on Saturday, the Sunburst 10k. I'm looking to hit a personal record, and if I run a smart race (i.e., refrain from starting too fast) I shouldn't have a problem with this. I've also decided to attempt a running streak for June. I feel I run better when I streak because I am almost forced to pay more attention to issues like hydration, nutrition, and recovery. I also simply enjoy being able to run everyday. The first two weeks will be tricky since I'm going to be busy not only with blog stuff, but after the Sunburst I have a 5k roughly two weeks after, the Traffic Jam 5k in Chicago. I'll see what I can do, and I do promise this time to make a concerted effort to at least post a weekly running recap.
On the blog front, I was contacted a week or two back about taking part in a blogger challenge hosted by USA Dry Peas, Lentils, & Chickpeas. The challenge is to come up or uniquely adapt our favorite dried pea or lentil recipes, six in total, and post about them, starting today. After two weeks, we choose our favorite of the recipes created to enter into their contest.
To help jump start the process, I was generously given a Le Creuset Legumier pot, and a monetary compensation for ingredients to the grocery store of my choice. I chose Martin's Super Markets, a locally owned grocery store that's been around since 1947. Not only are they involved in the community, but much of their produce is locally grown when in season. Of course, they (USA Dried Peas & Lentils) also gave me... Guess what? Dried peas and lentils to use!
Since their generosity doesn't end there, you guys can also get in on some of this action, too. Later on, I'll be hosting a giveaway that I'll expand upon next week, so stay tuned.
I started off simply with a lentil dish flavored with jalapenos, cilantro, lime zest, and sprinkled with queso fresco. The method of cooking I used here is similar to that of a risotto, where the liquid is added a little bit at a time until the lentils are cooked until tender, but still retain their shape. Besides the ingredients listed above, the lentils are cooked in a fresh-tomato infused base with chardonnay and chicken or vegetable broth. The resulting dish is flavorful, but as it's a side dish the flavors won't overwhelm the rest of the meal.
Recipe after the jump.
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lentils with jalapeno, cilantro, and queso fresco
Recipe by Christina Provo
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, deveined and seeded, diced
3 garlic cloves, minces
1/2 cup chardonnay
1 2/3 cup grated fresh tomatoes (stem tomatoes, slice in half, and grate; discard skin)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco
grated zest of 1 lime
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion, jalapenos, and 1/4 teaspoons salt and saute for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Onions should not brown. Stir in garlic, then add chardonnay. When wine is bubbling, add tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until sauce cooks down and thickens slightly.
- Meanwhile, heat chicken or vegetable broth until hot in another pot.
- When sauce is ready, stir lentils and two cups chicken broth. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, maintaining a constant simmer. After 10-15 minute, or until much of the chicken broth has been absorbed by the lentils, stir in half a cup of chicken broth and continue to simmer, stirring often. Repeat, using up all chicken broth, for 30-35 minutes or until lentils are tender to the bite, but still holding their shape. Turn heat off; cover with a lid and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in all but 2 tablespoons cilantro, and lime zest. Check for seasonings, adjusting if necessary. Serve, garnished with queso fresco and additional cilantro.