Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti

Eggplant Tricolore

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“Gleaming skin;  a plump elongated shape;  the eggplant is a vegetable you’d want to caress with your eyes and fingers, even if you didn’t know its luscious flavor.”  by Roger Verge

Although it is a vegetable {actually, it is a fruit, but that’s another discussion} with varied preparations, eggplant parmigiana is the quintessential eggplant dish for many, however it is not one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant.  My mom used to sauté eggplant slices until they were golden brown, and I loved eating them with catsup {not a kid thing…I still love catsup & so does my husband}. Sometimes I roast thick slices of eggplant & happily enjoy them dipped into organic catsup.  I prefer Italian Globe eggplants, over the other slender varieties {Thai, Indian, Japanese, etc.}.

Eggplant is one of those foods that, I suspect, prompts strong feelings.  While I have not researched this matter, I think people tend to love or hate eggplant.  The Flavor Bible {have you seen this book yet?} describes eggplant’s taste as “bitter,” a taste which does not have as many fans as sweet, salty, sour, etc.

Many years ago, Erika, a friend & coworker, introduced me to vegetarian food by way of Laurel’s Kitchen, a book from which I prepared & enjoyed many dishes.  In fact, it was my “go to” cookbook for a long time.  I made Laurel’s falafel recipe & had my first taste of Middle Eastern food, which I now consider the cuisine I most want to eat.  Which brings me back to eggplant.  One of my new favorite ways of enjoying eggplant comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty.  It is quick to make, stunning on a platter & super delicious.  Regardless of your feelings toward eggplant, I am of the opinion that you should make this recipe; just try it.  I think Eggplant Tricolore may have the power to turn you into a lover of eggplant.  Perhaps the dressing balances the eggplant’s inherent bitterness, which makes this a dish that goes down easily, like a fine wine.  My husband & I can polish off 2 eggplants in one sitting!

If you make this, snap a photo & send it with a comment on how you liked it.

Eggplant slices ready for roasting

Eggplant Slices Ready for Roasting

Roasted eggplant slices

Roasted Eggplant Slices

Eggplant Tricolore 2

Eggplant Tricolore

Eggplant Tricolore {and more}
adapted from Plenty {Ottolenghi}

2-3 medium eggplants {preferably Italian globe variety}

olive oil

Maldon sea salt & black pepper

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/8” dice

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 1/2 tbsp capers, plus 1 tbsp of the caper brine

5 oz. top-quality buffalo mozzarella

1 cup picked coriander {cilantro} leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the eggplants widthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices.  Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Brush them generously on both sides with plenty of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 25”-35,” or until the eggplants are soft and golden brown.  Allow to cool down.

Mix together the bell pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, capers, caper brine and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Set aside for at least 30” {the mix can be kept refrigerated for several days; the flavors will deepen over time}.

To serve, arrange the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on a serving dish {a meat platter is the perfect size for 2 medium eggplants}.  Break the cheese up and scatter on top.  Spoon over the dressing and scatter with the cilantro.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I always use extra virgin olive oil
  • I always use freshly ground pepper
  • Maldon salt is worth seeking out, but you can substitute another crunchy salt such as Fleur de Sel
  • yellow or orange peppers work best color-wise, but use what you have
  • I have used tomatoes other than cherry tomatoes, with excellent results
  • The eggplant can be roasted up to a day ahead and refrigerated
  • I have always used lebni {Lebanese kefir cheese} instead of mozzarella & it is delicious.  Soft goat cheese would also be delicious!
  • Salting eggplant for 30” or so is supposed to draw out the bitterness, but I usually do not do this.  Possibly this is valuable for older eggplants with large seeds, but ours come from the farmers’ market and are recently picked.
  • You can use fresh basil instead of cilantro if you desire
  • This is great with a glass of red wine!

Eggplant Tricolore 1

Bon appetit!

This gallery contains 5 photos


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Breakfast Salad with Creamy Dressing

I’ll begin with a few “ifs” before I tell you about one of my favorite breakfasts.  If you are among those who can only eat “breakfast food” for breakfast, consider making this for lunch or dinner.  Personally, any good food qualifies as potential breakfast food, though I have never warmed up to cold pizza, which seems to have quite a following.  If your mornings are chillycold, freezing, and a hot and hearty breakfast is what you require, put this one in your pocket for spring and summer.  If you enjoy plain yogurt, healthy and delicious, and teeming with live active cultures {so good for you!}, consider using it as a creamy component for your breakfast salad’s dressing.  Yes, I said breakfast salad.  I love getting a head start on healthy eating by enjoying a breakfast that includes vegetables {and I much prefer savory flavors to sweet}. Using yogurt in this way is something I came up within the last 3 years or so.  I came up with it partly because I have always loved eating falafels with plain yogurt, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon {so delicious!!}.  The other thing that got me thinking about plain yogurt as part of a vinaigrette is that my Aunt Debbie, who is so close in age that she is more like my sister, mixes in a little plain yogurt when she tosses a green salad, in addition to an oil and vinegar based dressing.  Adding plain yogurt is a great way to enjoy creamily dressed salads without feeling like you’ve gone over the top calorie-wise, not that there isn’t a time or place for that.  I love going over the top every now and then! Anyway, this is somewhat of a blueprint, rather than a recipe.  Put it together however you like, with whatever vegetables you have on hand.  It will be great and your body will thank you for starting the day off with delicious healthy food.

Vegetables on cutting board

Yogurt

Yogurt with lettuce

Dressed salad on yogurt

Closeup of Dressed Salad

Yogurt salad bowl

You may need a spoon

 

Breakfast Salad with Creamy Dressing

Put some plain yogurt in the bottom of your bowl.  Top with lettuce, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, quartered artichoke hearts, thinly sliced fresh  jalapeños and thinly sliced onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with red wine vinegar & extra virgin olive oil.

Notes:

  • I use Kirkland artichoke hearts packed in water.  If you have oil packed, I suggest patting off as much of the marinade as you can with a paper towel.
  • Use whatever plain yogurt you like, but make sure it has live active cultures for the health benefits.  Any level of fat is fine, although whole milk yogurt can be a bit rich with the olive oil.  We like Nancy’s Organic Yogurt.
  • Use whatever kind of vinegar you like and have in your pantry, but not too much. . .just a few splashes.
  • Use good extra virgin olive oil, but not too much. . .just a drizzle.
  • Fresh herbs are always a great addition!
  • We buy the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil at Costco.  I have never been a fan of the herbs in these tomatoes, because they taste too strong to me.  I recently discovered a way to prep these tomatoes which I think makes them taste better.  I put the quantity of tomatoes I think I’ll use over the course of the week in a bowl, then cover them with boiling water.  Let them stand for 5” or so, and then drain them on a paper towel.  Blot them to get most of the moisture off & store them in a jar or other covered container.
  • Do not be tempted to put too much yogurt in the bowl, as it will be too soupy.  I put about a 1/2 cup at the most.
  • I do not mix everything before I eat it.  It is just like a regular green salad when you start eating, but then you get some of the yogurt and it becomes a salad with a creamy dressing.

Bon appetit!


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Maui Girl Eats Lunch. . .@ Home

Plate salad with salmon

Plate Salad with Salmon & Red Wine Vinaigrette or Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

There is no such thing as too much salad.  We love salads and eat a lot of them.  Main dish salads are called “plate salads” at our house.  A plate salad is big, beautiful, healthy and delicious, and they are a great way use up odds and ends you have lurking in your refrigerator, as well as vegetables {and fruits too!}  specifically prepared  for a salad.  We baked a salmon for dinner a few nights ago, so for lunch we had a plate salad with leftover salmon and a few other vegetables to add color, crunch and flavor.  Every now and then my husband gets in the mood for a creamy dressing, so I made Thousand Island Dressing for him.  I enjoy creamy dressings, but a red wine vinaigrette sounded right to me, so I whisked up a few ingredients and had a delightfully sharp dressing for my salad.  I don’t use recipes for these dressings, but the general idea is written below.  It’s simple to whip up your own fresh salad dressings, and certainly tastier than purchased dressings.  Not to mention a lot less expensive and better for you.  What a deal!!

You can take this salad any way you want, depending on what you have handy.  The base of our salad is a mix of romaine, red leaf lettuce and quite a bit of cilantro.  If you are a member of the “I hate cilantro set,” feel free to leave it out or substitute another fresh herb{s} that you enjoy.   Top the greens with diced celery, sliced jalapeños, grated raw beet, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts {packed in water}, sliced onions and salmon.  Season with good quality salt {kosher, sea salt, Maldon, Fleur de Sel, etc.} and freshly ground pepper.

Plate salad with salmon 3

Plate salad with salmon 2

 

Thousand Island Dressing

Mayonnaise {homemade or store bought}

Ketchup {good quality, not the stuff with high fructose corn syrup and other disagreeable ingredients; we use Annie’s}

Yogurt, low fat or nonfat, about 1-2 tbsp {optional, but good if you want to lighten the dressing up a bit}

Sweet pickle relish {good quality, not the stuff with high fructose corn syrup and other disagreeable ingredients; we use Woodstock Organic Sweet Relish Sweet ‘n Sassy}

Minced onion {just a bit, because there is onion in the pickle relish}

A few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce {can be left out if you don’t have it}

A few drops of apple cider vinegar, if you want a bit of tartness

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

A pinch  of sweet paprika

Freshly ground black pepper

A shake {or more} of Tabasco Sauce

Put enough mayonnaise in a bowl to make the amount of dressing you want.  Add enough ketchup to make it as pink as you think it should be.  Add remaining ingredients and mix.  Voila!  You have homemade Thousand Island dressing.

 

Red Wine Vinaigrette for 1 Plate Salad

2 anchovies

Small clove of garlic

Kosher salt

Dijon mustard, about 2 tsp

Red wine vinegar, about 1 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil, about 3 tbsp

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a mortar and pestle, or on a cutting board, mash together anchovies, garlic and salt until they are a paste.  If your mortar is large enough, whisk in Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste.  Otherwise, scrape paste into a small bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.

Notes:

  • Jalapeños are interesting in that they can taste super hot when eaten alone, but sliced in a salad, they are mellow, crunchy and deliciously green {my favorite flavor!}.  Not exactly sure how this works, but it’s an observation I have made.  It doesn’t always hold true, but in my experience, it usually does.
  • My husband and I have speculated that Thousand Island dressing got its name because of the pickle relish, which represents the “islands,” but this link, as well as a few others do not support our hypothesis.  We still like our theory!
  • The pickle relish doesn’t have to be drained well; a little liquid is good for thinning the dressing a bit, making it easier to distribute over your salad.
  • Check out other salad dressing recipes here!

Bon appetit!


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Kale Salad of Many Delicious Bites

I cannot tell you how many days weeks I have hopped out of bed thinking that I would be writing a new blog post that day.  Truth be told, I rarely “hop” out of bed, but rather leisurely climb out from my night’s comfort.  It’s been a little harder to get up recently because it’s been a tad chilly in the morning here in Maui.  I’m not expecting any sympathy from my Mainland friends or family, who have experienced temperatures down in the 20’s, before winter has even thought about making an appearance.  But remember that when there is no heater in your house, it’s cold when it hits the mid-low 60’s.  Of course, the sun is warm and the house warms up quickly, so enough whimpering about chilly tropical island weather.  

If the proverbial genie were to arrive on the scene, wafting out of the bottle say, right now, my first wish would definitely be for more time {I also need more thyme; better plan a trip to the garden store for another plant or 2.} and to be more efficient with the time I have.  Honestly, I do not know where the days go, but I do know that I need more hours in every one of them.   Having nothing to do is never a problem for me! 

This kale salad is one I just came up with and we think it’s delicious.  There are quite a few ingredients, but they are not out of the ordinary, so you may have most in your refrigerator at the moment.  There are a few unique ingredients that you will probably have to make or buy, but it’s worth it.  One of the ingredients is pickled celery, and it’s very tasty.  I made pickled celery as a part of this egg salad recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  The egg salad was very good, but I like mine better.  I don’t make egg salad very often, but the next time I do, I’ll be adding some pickled celery.  The reason I like my egg salad better is because the flavors are sharper with mustard and vinegar, so the pickled celery will just add another bit of tartness, which I love.  But I digress.  Here is my newest iteration of kale salad.  Feel free to adjust amounts to suit your taste or what you have on hand.  This salad has a variety of tastes & textures that make it a winner.  The kale plays nicely with the sweetness from the potatoes, prunes and tomatoes.  Throw in a little tart from the pickled celery and fermented vegetables, and some creamy goat cheese that mingles with the dressing and you have one tasty salad.  

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Kale Salad of Many Delicious Bites

Kale, washed thoroughly, dried and torn into bite size pieces

Canned tuna {we use tuna packed in olive oil}, drained

Green onions, 2,  thinly sliced

Steamed potato {white or yams are great}, cut into bite size chunks, about 12

Sun dried tomatoes, about 12, cut into bite size pieces

Prunes {aka dried plums}, 4, cut into bite size pieces

Pumpkin seeds toasted in coconut oil & fine sea salt

Pickled celery, about 2 tablespoons drained

Soft goat cheese, crumbled

Blenheim apricot white balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Fermented vegetables, optional, but highly recommended

Put a bed of kale on a dinner plate and add other ingredients in the order listed.  Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with apricot white balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.

Notes:

  • Salads are a great place to use leftover steamed or roasted potatoes.
  • The yams shown here were cut in large chunks, tossed with melted coconut oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.  They were then drizzled with some delicious Maui honey and roasted at 375 degrees.
  • We buy the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil at Costco.  I have never been a fan of the herbs in these tomatoes, because they taste too strong to me.  I recently discovered a way to prep these tomatoes which I think makes them taste better.  I put however many tomatoes I think I’ll use over the course of the week in a bowl, then cover them with boiling water.  Let them stand for 5” or so, and then drain them on a paper towel.  Blot them to get most of the moisture off & store them in a jar or other covered container.
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:  Melt a couple teaspoons of coconut oil in a small skillet.  When the oil is hot, add about a 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds. Toss to coat & cook until the seeds begin to brown & pop, being careful not to let them burn.  Season with fine sea salt {I used Pink Himalayan Salt}.  You can use sunflower seeds if you prefer.  
  • Swap out the prunes with dried tart cherries or apricots if desired.
  • I bought the Blenheim apricot white balsamic from the Lively Olive, a wonderful little shop in Port Townsend, WA.  It was my first experience in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting bar, & I loved it.  If you don’t have access to apricot balsamic, any fruity vinegar or red wine vinegar would be great.
  • Pickled Celery {from Smitten Kitchen}:
    • 2 stalks celery, small dice
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
    • Combine vinegar, water, salt & sugar and shake to combine.  Pickle celery for at least 30″ and up to one hour.  Stores in the refrigerator for a few weeks, for your eating pleasure.

Bon appetit! 

 


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Soft Boiled Egg with Sautéed Kale, Goat Cheese & Sherry Vinegar

I think I have mentioned before that vegetables are my favorite food, with green vegetables being at the top of my favorites.  Some may think it odd, but the taste of green rocks, in my book.  On occasion, I enjoy having vegetables for breakfast, just to get a head start on healthy eating for the day.  Disclaimer:  I am writing this after consuming a not so healthy lunch at a little Mexican place in Kahului.  The wet chicken burrito was very good, and I would order it again.  As I was thinking of the wonderful salad we would have for lunch, which was going to involve grapefruit, among other tasty things, my husband informed me that he can only eat our usual healthy way for so long, then he needs something a little heftier, like Mexican food.  So off we went to Amigo’s.   At least I walked/ran 4 miles this morning, before the rains came.  Anyway, I have been wanting to try Deb’s {Smitten Kitchen} soft cooked egg, and I finally decided to give it a try.

Soft boiled egg on sautéed kale

Soft boiled egg on sautéed kale

The only experience I have had with soft cooked eggs was quite a long time ago.  My mother-in-law used to make them for my husband when he was young, and he has fond memories of eggs prepared this way, so we made some. Although they were certainly tasty, they were also certainly a pain to crack open and eat before they got cold. . . I never made them again.  My mom used to hard cook an egg and then smash it up with butter, salt and pepper; I loved that and still make it every now and then.  The reason I wanted to try soft cooked eggs again, in spite of my not so positive experience with them, was that Deb’s way of eating them does not involve carefully slicing off the top part of the shell and scooping the egg out with a spoon.  She actually releases the egg from its shell;  I can do that!  Deb serves her eggs up with toast, butter and cheese {!!!} and cooked spinach.  I will do that as well, but this time I kept it simple~sautéed kale with a smashed soft cooked egg on top.  I didn’t take the time to make toast, but of course that would be a delicious accompaniment, as would potatoes {!!!} of some sort {I love our creamy, locally grown potatoes!}.

Soft boiled egg with sauteed kale and goat cheese

Soft boiled egg with sauteed kale and goat cheese

Soft Boiled Egg with Sautéed Kale, Goat Cheese & Sherry Vinegar

Kale, a couple handfuls per serving, washed and dried well

Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 tbsp

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Sherry vinegar

Eggs, 1 or 2 per serving

Fill a 1 quart {or larger} saucepan with water, and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, gently lower the eggs into the water.  Set the timer for 6 minutes if you intend to eat the eggs immediately.  If your eggs will be waiting around for a few minutes before you eat them, set the timer for 5 to 5 1/2 minutes; the eggs will continue to cook in the shell while waiting to be cracked.  See Deb’s photographs on Smitten Kitchen to check out the difference between eggs cooked different amounts of time.  When the timer dings, gently rinse the eggs under cold water, just so they will be easier to handle.  Peel the eggs and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, heat up the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold your kale.  When the oil is hot, add kale and toss it around so that it will cook evenly.  Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper while you are tossing it about, so all of the seasoning is not sitting on one leaf of kale.  The kale is best, in my opinion, when lightly sautéed, as opposed to being completely cooked down.  If it is cooked too long, it can get that canned greens taste, which isn’t the best.  Taste a leaf and take it off the heat when you think it tastes great.  Sprinkle the kale with some sherry vinegar to taste.

Put your sautéed kale in a bowl or on a plate, top with the peeled egg.  Smash the egg, and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Crumble some soft fresh goat cheese over all & enjoy.

Bon appetit!


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A Double Rainbow and a Delicious Salad

Our morning began with the required glass of Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha, then a relaxing stroll on Baldwin Beach in Paia, which is about 15 minutes down the slope of Haleakala from our home.  Lifeguards were not yet on duty, and we shared the beach with fewer than two dozen early risers who wished to start their day with a soundtrack of gentle waves crashing and then receding into the vast Pacific.  The temperature was somewhere in the high 70s, with the perfect level of skin caressing breeze.  A double rainbow spanned the western sky, although the second one was camouflaged by clouds.

double rainbow at Baldwin

Of course, there were the usual dogs running willy nilly, some playing in the salty ocean, and others happily chasing each other in the sand {How did I not photograph the dogs??}.  My husband spotted one of those fluorescent green tennis balls in the sand, which he donated to a lucky dog who passed by at just the right moment; the dog, whose mannerisms reminded us of our dog Max {an Australian shepherd who passed away a few years ago}, was delighted by his good fortune.  It’s a little over two miles to walk the entire beach. . .I highly recommend it if you are in the neighborhood.

Looking north at Baldwin

After our walk, we went for coffee at Maui Coffee Roasters in Kahului.  My husband has a number of free drinks on his card, so that was the perfect way to top off our walk.

Next stop was home for breakfast.  I’ve shared my breakfast salads with you before, and for those of you who are okay with eating salad for breakfast, this one is a winner.  My husband bought some gorgeous beets from the farmers’ market last Saturday, so those definitely had a place in the salad.  There are blueberries in the freezer, which play nicely with beets and goat cheese, so in they went.  And there is more. . .

This is more of a guideline than a recipe, so play around with ingredients & make it your own.  For me, the key components are the beets, berries, goat cheese and nuts.  The black currant balsamic adds a lovely fruitiness which I highly recommend, if you can get your hands on some.  This shouldn’t be difficult, because it seems that olive oil and vinegar tasting stores are cropping up all around.  I read about such a place here on Maui, Wailea to be exact, several months ago in our local paper.  The first one I visited, however, was in Port Townsend, WA.  We moved to Maui in the summer of 2011, but I had not gone back to visit until this year, when I went twice in two months.  What fun I had!  Anyway, in Port Townsend, there it was, this fabulous store {Lively Olive} that had kegs of extra virgin olive oils and vinegars begging to be tasted.  I love vinegar and olive oil, so I was thrilled to stumble upon this place.  I brought home a bottle each of Blenheim apricot white balsamic and black currant balsamic.  I thought the black currant would be great with the blueberries and it did not disappoint.  After returning home, I thought I should visit the store in Wailea {Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars}.  The sales people were offering up all kinds of deliciousness in the form of taste combinations:  coconut balsamic + Persian lime extra virgin olive oil was the one I was particularly smitten with, so I purchased the coconut balsamic.  I decided I would make my own lime olive oil, and make some kind of salad that involved soft Manoa lettuce, sweet onion and mango, among other things.  If you are a Hawaii resident, Fustini’s offers a kamaaina discount!  Feel free to use another vinegar if you can’t find black currant balsamic. . .I’m sure your salad will be delicious!

plate salad with beets, goat cheese

Beet, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Black Currant Vinaigrette

Salad greens, washed & thoroughly dried {I used kale and romaine}

Beets, cooked, peeled and diced

Blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen

Onions, thinly sliced

Fresh herbs, torn or julienned {I used basil and mint}

Soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Walnuts, toasted & broken

Eggs, prepared however you like them, optional

Extra virgin olive oil

Black Currant Balsamic

Salt & freshly ground pepper

I like to build meal size salads on a dinner plate, but you can use whatever you like.  The lettuce goes down first, and is topped by the fresh herbs.  Add beets, blueberries, onions and goat cheese.  Top with walnuts, salt and pepper.  Drizzle salad with black currant balsamic and olive oil.  If you are putting an egg on your salad, add it right now.  Enjoy!

plate salad with eggs

Bon appetit!


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French Green Lentils with Greens, Goat Cheese & Red Wine Vinegar

There are occasions when I just don’t know what I want for breakfast.  This phenomenon does not occur for lunch or dinner; just breakfast.  My husband doesn’t understand it; he eats the same yogurt most mornings, except the days when we make eggs or maybe hot cereal.  I’ve never been one to eat the same thing everyday for any meal; there is too much delicious food out there to limit oneself to the same meal all the time.  Lately I have not been into what most people call “breakfast food.”  Any food qualifies as breakfast food as far as I’m concerned, the exception being cold pizza.  I don’t know what percent of the population loves cold pizza, but I am not in their company.  The draw to cold pizza, with its cold, solidified cheese escapes me.  Anyway, one of my new favorite breakfasts, a meal which will also make appearances at lunch and dinner, is this salad of French green lentils topped with greens, goat cheese & wine vinegar.  The only improvement I could have made would be the addition of a delicious slice of chewy, whole grain bread with butter {of course!}.

Lentils are quick cooking and healthy.  French green lentils are my lentil of choice, because they are shiny green and gorgeous and they hold their shape after cooking.  This makes them a great choice for salads because they do not become mushy.  Note:  “This just in from David Lebovitz’s wonderful food blog. . .”  Check out David’s take on Lentilles du Puy, the caviar of lentils.  During the writing of this post, I decided to find out if there is a difference between French green lentils and lentils du Puy, and according to David Lebovitz, whom I trust implicitly, there is indeed a huge difference.  I’m thinking that I may not have the caviar of lentils here in my kitchen, but instead their less desirable cousin.  Still delicious, I will use them up and then buy the real Mccoy.  No worries!

This salad goes together quickly if you have a bowl of already cooked lentils in your refrigerator.  And as you are eating it, you have the delightful surprise of finding warm, delicious and buttery lentils under those crispy greens!

closeup lentils 2

French Green Lentils

1 1/2 cups French green lentils, or lentils du Puy, sorted and rinsed {make sure there are no rocks or bad lentils}
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt

Put lentils into a medium saucepan with bay leaves and salt.  Bring to a boil & then lower heat to a simmer.  Cook, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, but still hold their shape.  If you prefer, drain off any water that is not absorbed during cooking, but I usually keep it with the lentils as it is a tasty broth.  Lentils cook quickly, and will be tender in about 25 minutes.

 

French green lentil salad 2

French Green Lentils with Greens, Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinegar

Warm cooked lentils
Butter
Freshly ground pepper
Greens, washed and spun dry
Fresh herbs {basil, parsley or whatever you like and have on hand}
Soft fresh goat cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Put some warm lentils in a bowl {I used about 3/4 cup lentils for myself}.  Add a pat of butter and freshly ground pepper.  Stir to melt and distribute the butter.  Top with greens and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Crumble some soft goat cheese over and drizzle with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Eat now. . .yum!

French green lentil salad 3

Bon appétit!