Eating Cheap, Eating Well: Lentil Salad and BLT Salad

Well, after a week of my Eating Cheap, Eating Well personal challenge, there is still some food left in the fridge, believe it or not. Some of it is getting a little um, mature, shall we say, but I am among those who believe that food is good enough to eat as long as it smells right and tastes right.

So I pressed on with the challenge, pushing my 42chf grocery spree from last Monday to today.

Lentil Salad a la Alice Waters

You’ll recall last week I skipped a night of cooking to eat some leftover chili con carne. That night I had been planning to make a lentil salad, since we’ve had this bag of lentils in the cupboard forEVER. In case of war or crisis or, say, temporary poverty. So I picked up on that idea and decided to try this Alice Waters recipe, originally from her recipe book The Art of Simple Food, but which I found on this website right here.  (And if you like this blog but don’t yet know who Alice Waters is, you MUST check her out, as she is none other than the inventor and overlord of refined foods made of products grown locally and sustainably).

Now, lentils may not get the love they deserve, but they seriously deserve kudos: 1) they are easy to cook 2) they are packed with proteins, carbs and all the nutrients you need (and regulate your blood sugar, and give you energy, and and and, read more here) 3) they are actually a locally grown product!

Bio lentils from the Coop. Fascinating.

Bio lentils from the Coop. Fascinating.

The recipe is exceedingly simple, which is fantastic for a Monday when you get home and just want to stop at a restaurant for pizza. I put a 1/2 cup of lentils in a pot of water to boil and then simmer until they were cooked through. During that time I chopped up some shallots and parsley and feta, and when the lentils were done, tossed it all together with just a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. See? SO SIMPLE! And really, just the red wine vinegar and the lentils go together like peas and carrots (although, having said that, I hate carrots…)  Anyway, you’d be surprised at the flavor I got from just these simple ingredients. Alice Waters, your mission has been accomplished!

Funky shallot - though for this recipe, I'd stick to scallions next time.

Funky shallot – though for this recipe, I’d stick to scallions next time.

The ingredients assembled...

The ingredients assembled…

And together formed a lean, green, lentil salad machine!

And together formed a lean, green, lentil salad machine!

BLT Salad

Day 9 of the 42chf grocery batch. I admit, when I left work I heaved at the notion of having to pick through the remnants in my fridge to compile some kind of dinner. I cracked the fridge open and discovered a small block of pancetta left from a trip to Milano a few weeks back. Dry, but so damn salty there’s no way it could be off! Plus I was craving meat, so that was definitely going into dinner. Other than that, a slightly sad looking lettuce head. Ok, let’s put it out of its misery. Hiding beneath the lettuce were also some perky little tomatoes… and what’s this? Half an avocado with the pit still in it! Score! We have ourselves the makings of a BLT with avocado (a BLAT? ahem). And without the bread. And I was too lazy to make rice to go with it. Still, put together, and combined with a leftover piece of brioche bread held over from Sunday brunch, I was full and happy.

BLT. How creative..... but it's got bacon it. Win!

BLT. How creative….. but it’s got bacon it. Win!

These 9 days have had a huge impact, mostly on just how EXPENSIVE everything in this town can be – and especially dinners out. I’ve also noticed with surprise that I have not thrown out any food since I went shopping last week, which is a reward I had underestimated.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, day 10, when I’ll be having DINNER OUT! I’m about ready for some fries…

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