So here’s the thing: when you are single and live alone, there’s no one policing your space. No one to gripe about the pile of clean clothes you haven’t folded in (I’m embarrassed to say the real number of days, so we’ll just go with something semi-respectable like) 3 days, no voice of reason to be all, “Hey, Siir’, I know how much you love PB&J’s, but maybe we should think about something else for dinner this week????”
And so, these days, when it’s colder, darker, and somewhat less inspiring during the weeknights, I find that slapping together even the most basic of meals deserves to be celebrated. (Note to self: GOD, seriously dude? You’re better than this…..dig deep sister, snap outta the funk and dance more often!) To that end, I whipped together this dish for a weeknight dinner.
Now, lest you think this is some masterpiece, let me be frank: this is a freakin’ pile of leftovers that I, shall we say “repositioned,” into something more appealing (ah, to be in marketing for a living, we can always find a nice way to say anything!). And it totally worked, I felt like I was at a restaurant (and really, Chez Sampson has turned out some notable plates in the last 7 months).
Here’s what happened:
I had previously been digging through the pantry in an attempt to actually use things I already owned, rather than buying more things to pack in front of the things I already own that were starting to look basically like decorative wall paper because I hadn’t used them and they seemed to begin attaching themselves to the back wall (that sounds gross, but you get the drift….). I came across this bag of dried legumes (1 bag black caviar lentils, 1 bag dried garbanzos and 1 bag yellow Shasta lentils). Of course these were samples from an awesome food event I had attended LAST fall, soooooo…..since they hadn’t cooked themselves in the past 11 months, I decided I’d figure out what to do with them.
I thought the bag would have some sort of basic cooking instructions, but since they were bulk, of course I was left to my own devices. Enter interwebs. I found the super basic, “here’s how you cook yellow lentils, you big dummy!” article/recipe/instructions, and cooked them up with two medium yellow onions and some spices. Then, once they were al dente, I decided the whole thing smelled delicious, but looked like crap. Funny, hadn’t planned on that. So into the food processor they went! Added a little water and olive oil and those puppies turned into a really nice, smooth puree! And that’s how I ended up with a quart of yellow lentil puree. Four days later is when this dinner happened.
I was low on proteins, so I busted into the freezer and found these two, nearly forgotten white fish fillets. They are SO THIN, you have to seriously choose wisely how you cook them, because they really can’t be handled at all once you start cooking, or they fall apart into sad little flecks. So I do this (completely not exciting or professional) “steaming method, which is really just pan poaching now that I think about it…..anyway, medium heat frying pan, bit of oil, drop the fillets in, turn down heat to low immediately, add a half cup of water, put the lid on to capture all the steam. Give it 5 minutes, done.
Of course there were some other orphaned ingredients begging to get used up, so I added a little chiffonade of basil to the top, feta crumbles on the bed of yellow lentil puree with onions & Moroccan spices. Finished with smoked paprika, pink Himalayan sea salt & toasted sesame oil.
Best dish I’ve made in a while! And I’m happy to report that I finally used up the rest of the quart of lentil puree…another 3-4 days later. The flavor kept developing, it was a serious, unexpected win of a side dish!