Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lentil Nut Loaf

no land animal was injured or harmed
 in the production of this loaf
I said I would write on Lentil Loaf - here goes. Just look at that beauty. Do you see how thinly you can slice it? That's rich food for small appetites. This stuff with ketchup is indistinguishable from a good meat loaf - and there is no meat in it.

1 onion - chopped fine - I used a red one - and it was not as finely chopped as it might have been. A little oil in which to sauté the said onion till it is transparent and slightly brown.

Some unknown amount (c 2 cups) of cooked (drained?) lentils. These you cook - boil really - for an indeterminate amount of time - between 15 minutes and an hour. [rinse and drain lentils, place in large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, boil 2 minutes, reduce heat, simmer till tender]

Diana did this in the morning before I could figure out how much lentil was there. She left them on the stove, not drained - element off - and those lentils just got fatter and fatter by the hour absorbing whatever water was left. You may have guessed that it was my job to cook supper - after all I am retired and she was busy. [and I don't eat land animals or birds, dead or alive - vegetarian cooking is a bit more work]

The recipe also calls for

  • 1/2 a cup of whole wheat bread crumbs. I substituted an equivalent amount of rolled oats. 
  • Also 1/2 a cup of chopped toasted walnuts (forget the toasting) and you can add other nuts -
  •  like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (toasted - they come that way). 
  • Then go out to the garden and cut some tender sage leaves and some thyme - I don't know if it was a half a teaspoon or not - maybe if you imagine it dried it could fit - but I think it was more like a tablespoon.  
  • The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour (optional). 
  • The two eggs are harmed - remove shell and beat them. 
  • 1/2 cup broth or water (or lentil water leftovers if any after boiling)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar - what for I have no idea
  • 2 teaspoons shoyu - I used soy sauce - a few of the same letters in it at least
  • the sesame seeds are supposed to go on top - but you can see I did not do this.
Preheat oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper - wonderful stuff - doesn't burn and makes taking the loaf out a breeze. Mix ingredients except (whoops) sesame seeds...

Mix - what is this word? You have to end up with something that will bake, coalesce, bind and not fall apart (as has every lentil nut loaf I have ever seen - still tastes good though).  But before I mixed everything up (including the exception) I thought about this problem and decided to make my own 'flour' from the dry ingredients. I was suspicious about the optional flour that had been left out of previous attempts, and I wanted to have something that would cook and hold its shape.  So - all nuts, rolled oats, seeds, spices - those are the dry - were finely ground in a small mixer and then mixed with the lentils and wet ingredients. Result - mush.  Add more dry ingredients - more rolled oats, a stray frozen slice of bread made into crumbs, and the optional flour - as much as 1/2 a cup. Result - maybe the right texture. The proof would be in the baking.

Bake covered (I used a leftover bit of aluminum foil) for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 10 minutes. It did all fit in one loaf pan and (it didn't rise - obviously since there is no baking stuff or yeast in it).  I removed it from the oven and let it sit in the pan till it cooled a bit - just in case it was going to fall apart - then after a half hour or so I took it out and it didn't fall apart as you can see. (O - and I turned off the oven too.) It stayed on the counter for a good five hours while I played tennis and did some more shopping.  

This loaf has now provided protein substance for two meals with lots more to go.