Everyday my diet pushes further in a vegetarian/vegan direction. I don’t know if it is because I am older, my tastes changing, or maybe I am I just tired of all the same foods I have spent life eating.
If I really think about it, which I am prone to do, I don’t think I eat this way to be healthy. While health is a byproduct and one I will take, I think it is because I am a lover of food. As one whose tastebuds have been around the block a few times I am always looking for the new and exciting to try. As my tastebuds gain experience it also becomes harder to get excited about food.
It might be connected to my garden too. I have been lucky enough to have a garden of some sort for well over 15 years now. With each passing year I get more excited about the growing season. It gets harder and harder to wait for the first produce. The other thing I know is the diversity of vegetables I grow has increased the diversity of my diet. For whatever reason and it does not matter to me, I have developed a fondness for vegan food.
I make these lentil patties often with my lentil patty tikka masala recipe. Today I cooked the lentils in cashew cream and added lemon juice and thyme.
Cost to make this dinner: under $15.oo
For the Lentils(serves 4)
1 cup dried Lentil du Puy, rinsed and picked over for stones
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 cup flour, I used millet flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1. Place the lentils into a 3 quart pot and cover with water by two or more inches. Add the minced onion. Place the pot over medium heat. Slowly bring the lentils to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the lentils until tender adding a pinch or two of salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This should take approximately 30 minutes.
2. Drain the lentils. Let them cool but puree them in a food processor while they are still warm. They will be easier to handle when warm.
3. Add the remaining lentil cake ingredients and pulse the cakes a few more times until the rest of the ingredients are combined into the mix. Taste the lentil puree then season the puree with kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.
4. Let the cakes sit for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. Take a tablespoon of the mix and make a ball. Is it really wet or is it too stiff? You want the mix to hold its shape but not be overly stiff otherwise they can be dry when cooked. It should just hold its shape. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if you need to letting the additional flour hydrate before testing. Divide the lentils into eight balls.
5. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed sauté pan by an 1/8 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Test the oil by dropping a pinch of lentil to the pan. It should begin to sizzle right away but not violently sizzle and pop.
6. When the oil is ready take each lentil ball and smash it down gently forming it into 1/2 inch thick cakes and add them to the oil. Let each side brown nicely and then remove them to a tray lined with a brown bag to soak up the oil. Keep the cakes warm, either in a low, 200 degree oven or in a warm place on the stove.
For the onions:
1 large red onion, cut into four 1/2 inch slices the onion wheels left in one piece do not separate into rings
For the sweet potato fries:
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch julienne slices
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Heat the oven to 425˚ F.
- While the oven is heating place a saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is warm add a couple of glugs of oil. Add the slices of onion and saute them until they have browned. Remove from the heat.
- Toss the sweet potatoes with oil. Season them with plenty of salt and pepper and toss them again to mix in the seasoning. Lay the fries out onto a baking rack set over a baking sheet. This will allow the heat to cook the fries from all sides(do this step or you will have limp fries). Bake the fries until they begin to brown and blister, about 20 minutes. Remove one of the largest fries and test it to see if it is tender on the inside. Be careful sweet potatoes burn easily so keep an eye on them. Warm the onions in the oven.
- Top the patties with the onion rings, serve with fries and curry ketchup!