Monday, June 22, 2009

Comfort Food

photo courtesy of gorbould

Comfort. Webster's defines it two ways: 1 : to give strength and hope to, 2 : to ease the grief or trouble of.

I have certainly been seeking comfort during this stressful time. I have also been receiving it. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends and family. I am grateful to all of you that have helped us out. And below, a recipe for some comforting lentil dal.

I want to say thank you to:
  • SP for taking E overnight the day of J's surgery. You provided her with enough distraction that she had no time to worry about her daddy.
  • TB for making us tons of yummy food. You took the time to learn how to prepare some GF meals so that I wouldn't have to worry about food. Twice you brought us such an abundance of goodness that I now have lots of leftovers stored in the freezer. One of those recipes was so fabulous and GF that I will be featuring it in a future post.
  • JP for coming a staying at the house to attend to Jeff and help with the kids so I could run to the store and stock up on much needed staples. Also, for picking up and taking E to ballet. That was amazingly helpful.
  • YB for being there after a VERY stressful day to help me get my house back in order. I know you kept asking if there was more, but what you did was such a relief, it allowed me to relax for just a little while.
  • SS for coming and staying 2 nights with us. I am grateful for the care you provided Jeff when I couldn't be there. Without you I would not have been able to take E to all her dress rehearsals and be out of town when it was required. Also for making dinner on Friday night. To come home to that delicious smell, the table set and the food lovingly prepared was truly heart-warming.
  • KA for coming over on Father's Day (thanks for sharing her DA) to "babysit" my whole family so I could go grocery shopping.
  • AG for providing some comic relief as well as helping me clean spots in the house that were neglected far too long. It was so nice to have those things taken care of. Now I can walk into the bathrooms without the dust bunnies revolting and the soap scum mocking me.
  • Mom for sacrificing your time and restoring my mental health. The cooking, cleaning, being there to attend to Jeff, the errands, etc. Too much to list and it meant the world to me.
I love you all and I am eternally grateful!

And what would a post about comfort be without a recipe for some comfort food??

These days comfort food has a different meaning. I used to reach for starchy, glutenous breads, especially sourdough with fresh, salted butter. Or oatmeal cookies. Or mack and get the idea. I know those things can be made GF, but I don't have time right now to do the research, buy the special flours and bake them.

I have to rely on something quick and easy. I found that in this super simple dal. You could easily add greens, onions, etc. to jazz this up, but it was fast, simple and delicious as is. That is what I needed. I served it over quinoa and the meal was perfected. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. I need to get in the routine of doing that.

Red Lentil Dal

1 cup washed red lentils
2 cups water
1 Tbs oil (I used grape seed, but any lightly flavored would work)
1 (generous) tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder

Bring lentils and water to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20-30 min, stirring often. Keep your eye on the lentils so that they don't dry out, or you could add more water, but you risk the dal being runny.

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan heat the oil over med heat. When the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and stir until they are warmed and fragrant. Add the remaining spices and stir for about 1 min. more. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to infuse the oil.

Stir the spiced oil into the lentils just before serving. Put the dal over rice, quinoa or your favorite grain of choice. Enjoy and be comforted.

Serves 2.

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