Tuesday, June 12, 2007


During a recent Food for Life: The Mature Woman’s Guide class held on June 9 at the Sylvan Hills Curves, I had the opportunity to hold court with some fantastic women who are interested in maintaining health for life. It was an honor to be in such energetic and sagacious company. Mrs. Romer, an octogenarian equipped with wit and wisdom, may have topped the list in terms of age, but all of the women were radiant, powerful and eager to learn more about staying healthy.

As we spoke about various healthful foods, some of the old standbys came up again and again: garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, complex carbs, and phyotestrogens.

A light bulb went off in my head as I recalled a “recipe,” if I can call it that, for one of my favorite lentil dishes. My usual preparation of brown or red lentils contains all of these ingredients. So I’m going to do my best to put measurements in, but feel free to adjust this recipe to your tastes. I dedicate this recipe to the fantastic ladies of Sylvan Hills Curves and their insatiable appetite for wellness today and every day. See the notes after the recipe to learn the healthful properties of these ingredients.

3/4 cup dry brown lentils
1/4 cup dry red lentils
4 cups water
5 whole garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1/4 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 cup milk (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Place drained lentils into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Pour in the water, then add garlic, salt, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
While the lentils cook, melt the clarified butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, and cook, stirring often, until they turn golden brown. Stir in the cumin, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir the onions and milk into the lentils; cook for another 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro to serve.