I have news! (No, I’m not knocked up. I was, again. But I’m not, again. It’s been a bit of a crazy spring.) Remember Sue? She and I are writing a book! A for-real, gonna-be-published-and-put-in-bookstores cookbook. When I went out to stay for the weekend during the olympics we came up with it, and pitched it, and the publisher jumped on it, and within a few weeks we had an actual contract and a deadline. !!!!
It’s occurring to me now that that was two months ago. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Does anyone else’s life feel like the Polar Express? With the stoned guy in the hoodie at the helm, asking if we want to go faster and ignoring our screams to PLEASE STOP. OR AT LEAST SLOW DOWN. Because I just might throw up. Which isn’t going to be pleasant for either of us.
So yeah, Sue and I are writing a cookbook together. Something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. (A project like this with her, that is.)
And it’s due in June. JUNE. That’s a good half a year from now, right? At least 6 months. No? Six weeks?? Perhaps if I enlist a hundred monkeys on a hundred typewriters, smoking a hundred cigarettes…
But for real – I cannot WAIT to share some of these recipes with you. We’ve been baking with beans – I made wonderful (if I do say so) yeasted cinnamon buns using pureed beans in the dough, making them higher in fiber than if they had been made with whole wheat flour, with the light, chewy texture of white dough. I’m not going to spill all the beans – ha – pun totally not intended – because that would leave nothing new for the book, which is scheduled to be released next spring. Spring 2011. Doesn’t that sound like the year you finally get your own jet pack?
But we do need a title. Beans and grains is just not sexy, no matter how you say it. The combo brings to mind gastrointestinal issues.
But they are so good for you. Their parts can stand on their own, but the sum is fantastic. The idea came about as we chatted about how I really want/need to eat more beans and grains, and want to seek out more meal options so that ideas come as readily and naturally as they would when faced with some chicken parts or a pork tenderloin. Or John Cusack.
Did I tell you I’m following him on Twitter? I’m pretty sure he’s not following me. Which is a shame. But Michael Ruhlman is! Ruhlman! Following me! The day I learned this I developed a severe case of Twitter performance anxiety.
So to digress, we need some title ideas for the book. Badly. I’ve never had such a total mind block – usually something comes to mind, and it’s a matter of weeding through the cheese and cliches and finding something that works. This time – nada. But you’re a smart and creative lot, so I thought I’d toss it out there for you to chew on.
Also – chew on this. I made this lentil and sweet potato curry on our last night in Tofino and actually toted it all the way back to Calgary in my cooler bag and reheated it today. It’s easy. It’s good for you. Lentils, sweet potatoes and spinach, all in one bowl?
Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry with Spinach
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. curry paste or powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
1 cup water
a big handful of baby spinach leaves
In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, then add the jalapeño, ginger, garlic, curry paste, cumin, turmeric and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.
Stir in the sweet potato, lentils, coconut milk and water; bring to a simmer, then cover, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Uncover and tear in the spinach; stir, return the lid and cook for another minute or two, just until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately, over rice. Serves 4-6.