25 July 2012

Cooking Show Lentil Salad

Lentil and brown rice salad from a cooking show.

I’ve never made anything from a cooking show.  Never.  Not that I have anything against cooking shows, but I just really don’t have any patience for most recipes.  Honestly, that is why I was never a great pastry chef: I had plenty of wonderful ideas, but I just didn’t have the patience to follow a recipe.  I just wing everything, which is either good or bad, depending upon your personal philosophy.  But a few weeks ago, when it was so stinking hot outside, I flipped on the telly in the middle of the day to see Giada.  I couldn't look away!  

She was making this incredible cold lentil and rice concoction that looked delicious.  The dish included cooked lentils, kalamata olives, lemon zest, and rice.  Although it sounds rather healthy, high fiber, and boring, I was entranced with salad’s simplicity.  Either that, or I was just mesmerized by Giada’s freakishly large head (*see note).  Seriously, her head is simply gigantic.  Check it out next time, then see if you can ever think of anything else when you look at her.  Poor Giada, bless her heart.  She must have incredible balance to hold that noggin up all day! 

Anyway, back to the salad: I made the salad that night for dinner (my way, without a recipe, of course) and it was terrific!  I even forgave Giada for telling the viewers that when you cut an onion and it smells really strong and make your eyes water, it’s just because it is “really fresh”. 

Oh, Giada!  Bless you again

As I said earlier, I usually just wing things and rely on my own taste to be the judge, and I encourage you to do the same.  Therefore, this is an adaptation of Giada de Laurentis’s recipe.  I use brown rice instead of white, and I toss the salad in olive oil and lemon juice to mix.  



Very close up view.

 

Lentil and Brown Rice Salad


1 carrot, peeled and small dice
1/2 medium onion, peeled and small dice
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2  cups dried lentils
3 cups of water
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cups of cooked brown rice
3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
Chopped parsley
Zest of one large lemon
Juice of one large lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

First, rinse the lentils.  Sauté the carrot, onion, and garlic in a pot until cooked.  Add the rinsed lentils and thyme sprigs, a good pinch of salt and cover with the water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Cook until the lentils are done (you may have to add more water, or drain some away- it just depends on the lentils).  Once lentils are cooked, remove the thyme sprigs and put the lentils off to the side to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the brown rice thoroughly.  Set aside to cool.

When both lentils and rice are room temperature, mix together in a large bowl.  Add the chopped kalamata olives, lemon zest and juice, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss.  Serve room temperature or cold.


*Note: Giada, if you are reading this, I am sorry.  It is very cruel of me to make fun of your outlandishly huge head.  If it makes you feel any better, one of my ears sticks out so much that my husband calls it a "chip dip ear".  As in, big enough to hold chips and salsa  (and not the bite-sized chips, either- we're talking restaurant size)!

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