the problem with lentils

March 24, 2014

caramel almond quickiesThis is the beginning of the fifth month of winter in Eastern Ontario. There’s been snow on the ground continuously since the third week of November.  And even though there are bits of winter that I love, like almost everyone I know, I’ve had enough.

I’ve moved house in the past couple of weeks. Somehow when I was planning the move in early February, I imagined that by moving day it would be spring-like. I pictured crocuses and spring bulbs poking through the ground. Instead, it was snowing. Followed by sub-zero temperatures. Again.

Moving is chaos. I’d forgotten quite how bad it really is. My kitchen is still scarcely organized. This is the first house I’ve lived in since my student days that does not have a pantry. NO PANTRY! There’s also no dishwasher. That I can manage. But no pantry….?! Honestly,  it’s barbaric.  I don’t know who plans such things but stuffing food into random cupboards is not going to work for me. So I’ve ordered a rough hewn Mennonite-made pantry and in the meantime – activity in the kitchen has kind of ground to a standstill while I contemplate life with all the food sitting on an old bookshelf.

The first meal I made in the new house was an old favourite – a lentil and rice dish. I absolutely love this peasant dish – essentially lentils and rice sautéed in a little olive oil with chopped fried onions, salt, pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese – true comfort food. [Note to the WordPress spell checker – yes, I do mean parmesan cheese and not partisan cheese but thanks for the suggestion.] The lentils and rice form a perfect protein. And this is just so simple and tasty.

But the problem with lentils is that they aren’t really very pretty. Not at all photogenic. So I’m not going to write  about the lentil dish after all. Instead, I’m going to give you this recipe for caramel almond quickies which my mother gave me. She made them for church socials and the like. It’s one of those recipes that looks like less than it is (but still looks like more than the lentil dish). Wait until you taste these. They are absolutely addictive. Butter, brown sugar and almonds. Hard to go wrong.

Caramel Almond Quickies

  • 30 graham crackers
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Oven – 350 deg F

Line a buttered cookie pan (needs to have sides of some sort) with graham crackers. Bring the sugar and butter to a gentle boil over medium high heat and cook for a further 2 minutes. Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the graham crackers as evenly as possible and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake for about 8 minutes. If your oven is slow – you might need to cook an additional 2 minutes. Take the squares from the oven and immediately remove from the baking tray and set on a board to cool.

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  • Reply Baking With Gab March 25, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Hah! Your “peasant dish” sounds delicious and warming, I’m sure it was lovely, if not photogenic. The caramel almond quickies sound lovely as well. Good luck surviving until your pantry arrives!!

    • Reply love in the kitchen March 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

      The truth is, I didn’t even try to photograph the lentil dish – it’s homely. Delicious but homely. Poor old lentils. They will never be the supermodels of the food world! And as for the pantry — delicious anticipation!

      • Reply Baking With Gab March 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        I wrote about “cool” food the other day (in reference to dates and how uncool they are), but the same goes for lentils!! Poor lentils haha.

  • Reply Eliza B March 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Lentils are beautiful… to me! But so are these. And in the winter, I definitely eat more dessert that isn’t ice cream. I wonder how these would work with digestive biscuits, which I prefer over graham crackers (possibly only due to my obsession with all things English).

    • Reply love in the kitchen March 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      I LOVE lentils but struggle to take anything but terrible photographs of savoury dishes.
      As always we are on the same page with the obsession of all things English. I *think* digestives would work. I don’t really see why not. They might be a little sweeter than graham crackers. Maybe wheaten crackers might do the trick too?
      Must go check your blog – I haven’t seen anything in my reader but I’ve been snowed under with moving. (And snow.)

      • Reply Eliza B March 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        I’ve been horrible at blogging- I moved to New York and left my camera cable (and Jethro) at home. I’m looking to start again, now that I have a real job. I won’t have a cat for a few more months though 🙁

  • Reply catherinecuisine March 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    We have the same “extra” month of cold and winter here in Québec… Actually, I think weather is the main subject of discussion here right now, regardless of the provincial elections coming on April 7 th… I could not believe the -17 C this morning, on my way to work 🙁

    • Reply love in the kitchen March 25, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Surely it will end soon and we can look forward to a beautiful long, warm, heavenly summer?! That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

  • Reply tinywhitecottage March 26, 2014 at 12:29 am

    That’s it? 4 ingredients! They are very photogenic. We need more quick and simple dessert recipes like this…yes, I would serve these for dessert. You lentils sound great. I love how the two form a perfect protein. Why oh why do I forget that bit of useful information!

    • Reply love in the kitchen March 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

      I noticed your recent lentil post and was full of admiration for your great photograph (and the recipe). I forget about lentils until I have them and then remember how fantastically easy, inexpensive, and delicious they are. They should be a staple. Looking forward to trying your dish. In fact this weekend I am having Sunday dinner entirely composed of recipes from my reader. Dessert will be your beautiful looking honey cake. I’m excited to try it and going to bake it on Saturday because it seems from your text that it gets moister as the week goes on.
      Sun is shining here in Ontario and I can see Lake Ontario from my bed. Spring is coming! Hurray!! xo

  • Reply apuginthekitchen March 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I know how moving is and my heart goes out to you. No pantry and no DW, ugh, well the dishwasher is easy enough to either do without or add and the pantry you bought sounds great. I love rice and lentils and you are so right, not attractive at all but those little sweet bites sound great.

  • Reply Amanda March 27, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Wow these look amazing! Congrats on the move, but yes, moving is so so stressful.

  • Reply kathryningrid March 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Best to you with settling into your new home. Very smart to get freestanding pantry cupboards when the silly builder doesn’t provide any!!!

    And those sweets! That was one of my very favorite childhood treats, and now I will certainly have to revisit its glories!!! 😀

    You’ve made *my* day; may *you* have a superb one.

    • Reply love in the kitchen March 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Kathryn! I’m so happy to see you – thank you for the lovely comment. I have been changing things around a little and seem to have accidentally unfollowed you (and several others at the same time). No idea how this happened but I think it has to do with my cell phone interface. The crazy thing is that until someone pops up I don’t even know who I’ve managed to accidentally un-follow along the way. Adding you back – hurray! xox

      • Reply kathryningrid March 31, 2014 at 2:27 pm

        Oh, boy, I’ve had that particular e-adventure several times myself, and it’s such a nuisance! Always glad when I get the rare chance to pop by here anyway, but all the more so to reconnect. 😀

  • Reply Karen April 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I think we would all like to see your lentil dish as beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to most foodies…lentils are beautiful. 🙂

    • Reply love in the kitchen April 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Okay Karen – done! I will photograph the beautiful little lentils and post them soon. Thank you for the encouragement! ♥

      • Reply Karen April 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

        That is good to know and you are welcome. 😀

  • Reply “I don’t have time to talk” | love in the kitchen ♥ April 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    […] Lentils are really, really healthy. They’re do-gooder food. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fact that lentils are just not photogenic.  But they are cheap and tasty and healthy and low impact on the planet. And combined with rice or […]

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