Where did September go? All month, no post. Now we’re well into October and I still just can’t quite fathom that summer and fall are long gone in Anchorage. First there was the vacation to Montana. I had the best intentions to cook up some new delights in my fancy kitchen in the Treasure State, but the sun and the mountains lured me outside, the amazing vegan treats at the Bozeman Co-op lured me inside, and I figured you’d forgive me a week. Next it was a work trip to Colorado and Utah. Armed with 20 pounds of vegan snacks I smugly intended to eat, write and blog about some of the best vegan travel treats from the hotel in my non-working hours. Ha! That plan went well, as you can see.
Here I am, workin’ hard at Arches National Park. Hey, someone has to do it!
I was pleased to find that my field clothes from grad school still fit (more or less), but discouraged that I had misplaced my hand lens. Can I still be called a geologist if I can’t even find my hand lens? Yikes!
Before I left I made a huge batches of stuffed shells (by request), chocolate chip cookies (by requirement), chocolate pudding and this Coconut Lentil Stew recipe. I should have known better than to ask my boyfriend what he would like for an entree while I was gone. Not that I don’t love the shells, but they’re a hassle. Totally delicious (his number one choice from the website), but totally time consuming. I smartened up for the second entree and made a favorite of his that is a little less involved. This lentil stew is basically a one pot, throw it all together and let it simmer kind of recipe. It’s a regular on our weekday meal rotations, especially on ‘gym nights’ when we have a quick turn around from work to the weight room. Make this once, and I promise it will become a regular!
The recipe was originally based on Aarti Sequeira’s Indian Summer Stew, but has been pretty heavily modified from the original version.
Coconut Lentil Stew
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 small onion, diced (optional)
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon cracked mustard seed
5 cups water or stock
1.5 cups red lentils, rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced small
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 3 fresh diced tomatoes
2 teaspooons kosher salt, or to taste (depending on broth)
Saute red pepper and onions, if using, in a heavy soup pot over medium heat until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking. Once softened, add garlic and spices and saute til fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water, lentils and sweet potatoes and shredded coconut. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft and lentils have disintegrated, about 30 – 40 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt to taste. Serve!