For the first time in my cooking life, I'm finding it hard to cook good food for myself. The accumulation of sleep deprivation over the past 8 months means that now, when Hugo goes to bed and I've finally got a few minutes to myself in the evening, I collapse on the couch and wish someone would just bring me a cold beer and a bag of potato chips for dinner. After a few comatose moments, I'm usually able to drag myself into the kitchen to fix a cheese sandwich and a bowl of yogurt for dinner, but my vegetable consumption has been pathetic lately. It's not like there isn't anything in the house - I buy plenty of vegetables to experiment with for Hugo - it's just that I'm all out of beans at night, when it's time for me. And these dark winter days mean that I need more than just a bowl of steamed broccoli to make me feel good.
But the other day, the nice people at Clarkson Potter sent me a copy of the latest Martha Stewart Living cookbook, Meatless, and suddenly things are looking a lot brighter over here. First, there were roasted cubes of celery root and onion tossed with boiled lentils and dressed with nothing but lemon juice and olive oil. I would never have thought to combine celery root and lentils, but the combination was delicious. I prepped everything while Hugo was hanging out with me in the kitchen; then, when he'd gone down for his nap, all I had to do was toss it together before digging in. It was so full of flavor and so filling. This is my new favorite lunch, I proclaimed to myself. (The original recipe has you add parsley, but I used some za'atar, since I have an industrial quantity of it, and it was amazing.)
Then I got distracted by a soup that has you roast eggplant and chickpeas in one pan together (so easy!), before mashing them together with some broth and garlic and onion, finishing each bowl off with oregano and a dollop of yogurt. There was fried rice made with leftover brown rice (I finally cracked the perfect brown rice code in my rice cooker!) and shiitakes, and crisp little patties made out of mashed white beans that I ate with tomato sauce and basically, what I'm trying to tell you is this book is so full of inspiration and good food that I haven't really come up for air since.
Happily, Potter was kind enough to send a second copy along for a giveaway! So, for a chance to win a copy of Meatless, please leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner at random tomorrow. Good luck!
Update: Martha is the winner and has been emailed. Thank you all for participating - comments are now closed.
Lentils with Caramelized Celery Root
Adapted from Meatless
2 cups water
3/4 cup green or brown lentils
1-2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 onion, chopped
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Za'atar, to taste
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring the water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
2. Toss the celery root and onion with the 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste and put in a roasting pan. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized.
3. Add the celery root and onion to the bowl with the lentils. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, za'atar and remaining olive oil to taste. Serve.