Yesterday I had my first omg-are-you-sure-this-isn’t-child-birth moment to announce the coming season. Okay, okay so that’s probably (definitely) a bit dramatic.
However, after running through burst after burst of frigid winds, it did feel as though I just experienced a 45-minute tattoo session. There’s nothing like inking your legs with icy, sunsetting winter temps. Those winds stung.
Luckily, on the other end of that run, I had these spiced and warming, Ethiopian-styled lentils waiting for me. What I did not have was much sun to take their beautiful, natural-lit glam shots.
So begins the rough season for all food bloggers, sans studio space. Good thing I like challenges. I really like red lentils, too.
Full of protein, and creamy once cooked, red lentils make for the perfect topping to smear across flatbreads. They are a staple in Ethiopian cooking, often found accompanying the unleavened bread, known as injera, that most Ethiopian recipes use to replace both fork and spoon.
With this recipe, I’ve tried to replicate a go-to lentil dish that I often order at my neighborhood’s Ethiopian spot. I wanted that buttery, spice-infused dish that they create, and through research, called upon my spice cabinet to help me execute this properly. The only spice I was missing seemed to be allspice. However, I can’t say I noticed its absence.
Granola’s great in the summer. However, there’s something about heating up the oven, stirring up a large bowl of oats. And then letting the warm, toasty smells fill the room while baking away the morning of a cold winter day. Call it winter solace. Granola solace. Call it whatever you want to describe a moment that sometimes just can’t be summed up in words.
Coconut flakes are my new obsession, and I find them now to almost be a mandatory component of granola. I tracked through Philadelphia for nearly 2 hours – across 5 different stores – just to find them a few months ago, determined to make this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Coconut Bacon. At the time, I was questioning my sanity. But after finally finding the flakes, and later obsessing over them during multiple cooking encounters, I am now questioning the sanity of the stores that are not carrying them. Coconut flakes are worth every last step of an adventure to go find them.
For my Philly followers, check out Essene Market in Queen’s Village. For everyone else, I got tipped off along my travels that Vitacost.com is a good place to order coconut flakes.
Whatever you do, don’t succumb to buying the shreds. Unfortunately, they’re simply not the same as their larger, flakier counterpart.
Feel free to play around with the nuts you use in your granola. I personally love a little variety. Pecans, walnuts & almonds are always a must for me, and various other seeds are generally just an added, crunchy health bonus.
Spoon over hot or cold cereal in the morning, enjoy as is with milk, or simply pack a handful in a bag to eat on the run. Granola is a versatile, energy-packed snack, and when you make it yourself, you can ensure you’re fueling up on the good stuff. Forget chowing down on a bag of sugar and unnecessary processed ingredients. That’s no good. Plus, when you skip out on making it yourself, you miss that toasty smell from your oven like I mentioned before. Nothing beats that.
It feels good to build things. Like recipes, and lego houses, and new skills, and gardens, and bowls.
That pretty, imperfect bowl above was a result of my first ever ceramics class! Flawed and all, it feels better to eat out of than any of my other smooth surfaces. After going through a series of classes earlier this year, I tell you, playing with clay is fun.
I also built (well, really mainly smoothed and stained) the wood that’s placed beneath that bowl. My friend has a new woodshop space, and I’m thrilled with the future furniture ideas I hope to make happen there. Something about creating a tangible product really gets me. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a sucker for photography and recipe development.
This particular recipe was inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. I love the duo approach they take to blogging. All I can say is, my future husband better be okay with food photography because a lot of that goes down in my life. But good eating, too.
This was delicious and so naturally creamy all on its own. It does have a touch of parmesan, but I even believe you could skip out on that if you wanted to take this vegan. Simply adjust the spices to your taste. One note, make sure to liberally salt the sauce. You’ve got a lot of pasta to season, and the salt will help to bring out the flavors of the squash.