Monday, April 8, 2013

Eggs and Lentils...They're What's For Dinner!

No matter how hectic and busy life gets, there is something so pleasurable about a home-made meal. For me, it's not just the meal though. It's the comfort, excitement, and fun that cooking actually brings...especially when its a new recipe!

We have had just a few very 'trying' days as of late and have been feeling the depressed mood that accompanies these moments. We learn and adjust but it takes time. To help us through, we have decided to try to make time for the things we enjoy. One would be cooking and trying new recipes.

I love reading cookbooks and cooking magazines! It is one of my passions. I flip through each page, reading and analyzing the ingredients and techniques, trying to retain all the new information and ideas to put to use later...not to mention the fact that I love to find recipes that peak my interest so much that I immediately know it is what I want for dinner that night! It has been fun and I have learned so much from this process.

Tonight is a perfect example how all of this reading and learning has paid off!

Cam and I really enjoy meat. We love having it in some form every night. But lately, we've tried to expand our horizons by cooking with ingredients that don't involve animal proteins.

We have really come to enjoy and appreciate legumes. So much in fact, Cam convinced me to buy a 10 pound bag of lentils (plus we already had many different types of beans in our cupboard)! So now I am constantly on the prowl for new ways to use lentils. We have tried several and have enjoyed them all but tonight I wanted to incorporate another element: poached eggs.

I've never poached an egg nor have I ever eaten a poached egg before tonight. I was reading through the latest Rachael Ray magazine when I cam across a whole section on eggs and the different ways to prepare them. There was something about the picture of the poached eggs that caught my attention, retained my attention, and drove me to desire to make them for myself. That is what led to my culinary inspiration tonight: Roasted Broccoli, Mushroom and Lentil salad with Poached eggs.

It's simple. Roasting the broccoli in the oven gives this already delectable vegetable a perfect smoky sweetness, accompanied by the meaty mushrooms, creamy lentils that are immersed in a Dijon-lemon dressing, and topped off with the richness of a perfectly poached egg and cheese. It was a dinner to remember! Our plates were licked clean, literally!

Here is that recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli, Mushroom and Lentil salad with Poached eggs
1 1/2 lbs. broccoli
8 oz. mushrooms
1/2 c. brown lentils
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
8 large eggs (4 eggs if making this for two, with only lentils left over)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. honey or agave (or you can use sugar if you'd like)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut Broccoli into bite-sized pieces and place on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, then toss to coat. Spread out on baking sheet and roast until broccoli becomes caramelized on the edges, about 15-20 minutes, making sure to toss half-way through cooking time.
In the meantime, bring 1 c. of water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the lentils, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, our until tender but not mushy. Drain when cooked.
While the broccoli roasts and the lentils cook, chop mushrooms into small pieces and place into a skillet with a drizzle of oil. Sautee until browned and tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
In a large serving bowl (of if your lentil sauce pan is large enough, use yourself another dish :) combine lentils, roasted broccoli, mushrooms and vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine.
While lentil salad marinates, briefly, bring a large skillet filled with water to a boil. Add a splash of white vinegar and reduce heat to bring the water to a gentle simmer. Drop eggs carefully into the simmering water, one at a time, and cover to poach. Cook, lifting off the bottom if they touch, until they reach the desired doneness: 3 minutes for pretty runny, 4-5 minutes for medium-hard, and  5+ for a hard egg.
Place lentil salad onto serving plates. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top of the lentil salad. Grate parmesan cheese over the eggs and lentils. Serve immediately.
 I hope you give this a try...I don't think it will disappoint! 
If you try this for yourself, let me know what you think! Is there anything that should be changed or added or removed? What did you like and what did you dislike? Any and all help would be most welcomed!

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