All day, all I could think of was all of those people who work outside everyday...wow, you were all heros today!
There aren't many days that I really don't feel like turning the stove on but today was definitely one of those days. I spent all afternoon in a cooking school testing recipes for an upcoming farm event and it was crazy hot. Knowing that I was going to be walking into the house as everyone else was about to head out to soccer and various other places, I tried something new this morning - I broke out the crock pot.
Don't get me wrong...I use the crock for for stews, soups and even things like jam and applesauce. But, it only ever comes out in the fall/winter because all of those foods don't strike me as summer grub. But, the other day, I thought about trying to cook dried beans overnight so they would be ready for the next day (we eat lots of beans!). Then, this morning when I was making coffee, I thought I could just throw some beans and stuff in the crock pot for it to cook while I went to work. When I came back, the lentils were ready, I quickly grilled chicken breasts on the bbq and plated it up with some crumbled goat cheese and leftover crumbled bacon from breakfast. I served it with simple beans from the garden...quick, fast and I didn't raise the temperature in the kitchen even a tiny bit!
Ingredients (for lentil stew):
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 rashers of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional...omit if you want vegetarian but maybe add a few drops of liquid smoke...adds a nice depth)
1 zucchini, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 c lentils
4 1/2 cups water, chicken stock or tomato juice (I used a combination of tomato puree that I had left over from making pizza mixed with tomato juice)
2 chipotle peppers in adobe, finley minced (buy a small can and separate them, by two's, into small ziploc bags and freeze for later use)
2 tsp salt
The possibilities are endless...how are you going to use it?