Kitchen Imperfection {CtBF}

Based on the multitude of blogs in Internet land, it’s easy to feel inadequate in the kitchen.  So many bloggers project an image of detailed menu planning, access to picture-perfect locally grown seasonal ingredients, and impeccable housekeeping.  I realize it could be illusion, but it highlights my own reality of day-to-day (sometimes last minute) meal planning, a clean but “lived in” kitchen, and the ever-present feeling of trying to catch up.

True confessions: being part of a cooking group like Cook the Book Fridays, I like that the various recipe selections eliminate a decision to be made, though I’m always losing track of the schedule.  My lack of pre-planning means that I often don’t think about how to incorporate these recipes into our meals in a logical way.

This week’s recipe for French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts is a side dish that could go with almost anything.  I adore lentils, especially the tiny French lentils.  If you take care not to overcook them, they are perfect in a salad.  I’ve made lentil salads similar to David Lebovitz’s recipe from My Paris Kitchen, but there are a few takeaways that I particularly liked with this recipe.  For example, I usually add raw crunchy vegetables (i.e. carrots, celery, and red onion).  In this recipe, they are added the pot of lentils for the last few minutes of cooking.  The veggies retain their crunch but the brief cooking softens them ever so slightly for a texture that feels just right.  Minced shallots in the dressing add an extra oniony note. The toasted walnuts were also a delicious touch.

While the goat cheese was complementary to the flavors, I think I might have liked the salad more without it.  It would keep a little better too.  Goat cheese is also the only ingredients that isn’t reliably on-hand in my fridge, allowing this to be made on a whim.  Overall, this is a nice version of lentil salad that I might make again.

To see what my friends thought of the lentil salad, check their links here.  To make it yourself, the lentil salad can be found on page 233 of My Paris Kitchen or The Splendid Table’s website.

Speaking of lack of planning, I also made the Hummus that my friends made a couple of weeks ago.  I made it on time, but didn’t have a chance to write a post about it.  Wow!  I’ve been making hummus for decades, but there is something about this recipe that takes it to a new level.  It could be the ridiculous step of peeling the chickpeas, which sounds extraordinarily fussy.  I’ve been reading that peeling them results in a silkier texture, but it’s time-consuming.  I used canned beans (related to lack of planning) so I talked myself into the peeling step.  It turned out to be easier than I thought.  And the hummus turned out extra creamy.  I did have to add at least half a cup of liquid to move it beyond pasty, but I was thrilled with the end result.  David’s recipe had many suggestions for adorning the hummus.  I sprinkled my bowl with sumac and toasted pumpkin seeds and the all-important glug of olive oil.  This is hands-down the best hummus I’ve made at home.  At some point, I’ll try it with home-cooked chickpeas.  In the meantime, I stocked up on cans of chickpeas to make more.

To see what my friends thought of the hummus, check their links here.  The hummus recipe is on page 60 of My Paris Kitchen.  A similar recipe can be found on David Lebovitz’s blog.

I want to add a special shout out to my dear friend Katie of Prof Who Cooks who keeps Cook the Book Fridays moving along.  It’s her birthday today!  Help me wish her a very happy day!



Posted on 16 June 2017, in Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen, Salads and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. BOTH of these recipes were stellar (and I loved the goat cheese but you’re right, it didn’t keep so well after a day or so) but I added so much more liquid than the recipe called for with the hummus too!

  2. I have learnt never to ‘dress-up’ large portions of salads by now! I agree that this can do without the cheese (which I did – do without!). Both your dishes look good!

  3. You sound like me! I can’t seem to plan ahead enough to fit the dishes into my meal planning. Interesting about the chickpeas!! I still need to make mine, so I may try that!!

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  4. I enjoyed both these recipes very much. As for adding the cheese to the lentils, I agree, but after preparing the recipe just for the lentils, try adding the cheese to the amount “for the day”, so to speak, and add additionally each time. Also, as I mentioned, I was reading MILK STREET, and they were using blue cheese. Your dish looks great, and I am hoping to make this again real soon.

  5. I’ve been lucky enough to be in your kitchen and “lived in” describes it wonderfully. I mean that in a good way. Your bookshelf of cookbooks is reason enough to love your kitchen but what is most impressive is your diary of notebooks cataloging every meal you’ve made since “Betsy began cooking.” You not only inventoried your life of menus but you also included recipes. It is an amazing feat! As impressed as I am with your cooking, I will never “peel” chickpeas. I just won’t. (And as for “spaetzle”, even if I had a tool like you do, I would never make that again either.) In fact, last week-end I found a wonderful handmade brand of spaetzel in a bag. That’s for me! Love my lentil salad also and will make it again. Made it Sunday for a party. Writing about it for the upcoming post.

  6. The first paragraph of this post made me chuckle… One of my best friends, who also reads my blog, said to me once that it always looks like I have such a nice, neat, cleaned off table for dinner. We both have kids about the same age, and I assured her that just beyond the picture-perfect plate is a table that is messier than I’d like!

    I agree with you that both of these recipes took their respective dishes to a new and better level.

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