Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lentil Spread

Wow! I do not know how I went two weeks without blogging.  Okay, to be honest, I do have somewhat of an idea.  Here is an idea of what my last two weeks looked like: Come home, pour a glass of red wine/7-up, get out a bowl of lentil spread and carrots, and park myself on the couch to reach Catching Fire/Mockingjay (Yes, I have jumped on The Hunger Games bandwagon!).

I finally finished the series, which is bittersweet.  It ended well, but it is always a little sad when you have to say goodbye to characters and a series ends.  I still have the movie to look forward to, which I am hoping to see in the next few weeks.  Today I am going to go to the public library to look for something to read next.  It will probably be something that doesn't capture as much attention (the newest murder mystery, perhaps?) so I can still manage to feed and clothe myself during the week :)

Yes, that is really the Boise Public Library above.  So cute!

Back to the lentil spread that served as my sidekick to reading - the one delicious thing I do want to write about.  This spread would be great on sandwiches, makes a great dip with baby carrots (or any other dipping vegetables) and it awesome with garlic naan or pita bread.  It is very similiar in texture to hummus, but with a slightly different flavor.  I got the recipe from Bon Appetit April 2012 and it is the recreation of a recipe from the Rock Center Cafe in NYC.

The Rock Center Cafe is at Rockefeller Center and is apparently a great place to eat, as it has stunning views of Manhanttan and the Rock Ice Skating Rink.  They are known for their breakfasts and "contemporary American" lunches and dinners.  The restaurant has a cute prix fixe menu to choose from for their skating and dinner combo - one appetizer, entree and dessert per person, plus an ice skating package.  It is $45/person, but I have a feeling that isn't expensive for NYC. 
Sign me up for the Crystal Valley Farm Organic Chicken, Chocolate Blackout Cake, and Roasted Beets with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese...sounds amazing.

I can't find the lentil dip on their menu, but the point is, I want you to feel like a fancy New Yorker, overlooking the city of Manhanttan, eating your $20 lentil dip, just because you can.

Lentil Spread

1 head of garlic - get the real stuff, not the preminced stuff.  We are going to roast it
1 Tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 cup olive oil (I only used 1/4 cup but that did effect the texture)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped carrot
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp or more fresh lemon juice (I used three tiny little lemons)

How to

Roast the garlic
1) Preheat oven to 375*.  Make a tin foil platter by folding tin foil into a square and making a bit of an edge.  Cut the top half inch off the head of garlic and drizzle and place on the foil sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, then put into the oven.  Roast for about 50 minutes - garlic will start to brown a bit.  Don't let this concern you too much. When done, let garlic cool, and take out the roasted cloves.  I did this by piercing them with a fork tine then pulling them out of the skin - they pull right out.

Warning: You should probably make a few heads of these if you are going to the trouble of roasting garlic.  Roasted garlic is *amazing* and you are going to wish you had more to add to about anything and everything you eat.  I even eat it straight out of the skin, with nothing else.

Preparing the dip ingredients
2) Heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a lare heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper.  Leave herbs in sprig-form. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Note I was short on rosemary so I just used more thyme.

3) Add lentils, stir for two minutes.

4) Add wine, simmer until almost all is evaporated, about 4-5 minutes.

5) Pour in chicken broth to cover lentils.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer.  Add more brothe every 5 or 10 minutes, as needed.  Cook until lentils are tender - about 30 minutes.

6) Let cool and discard herbs.

7) Put lentil mixture and garlic cloves in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil (I only added 1/4 cup olive oil, but this made the spread chunkier, so be warned) and lemon juice.  I found the more lemon juice I added, the more delicious, so keep in mind you can add a lot. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with carrots or other dipping vegetables, with pita or naan, or on sandwiches.


laroche004 said...

This sounds fantastic!! And...I told you the Hunger Games would hook you! Time to get Odd Thomas!

Anna said...

Noms!!! I've eaten at that cafe! For lunch though. It is cool seeing the skating rink, but it's so SMALL next to all of the others in the city. Still cool though. Going to have to try this!