Warm French Lentils

I have these old old friends from way back when. David and Beth. They are wonderful, warm, lovely people. I was in their wedding. It’s true. My first foray into wedding life. Since I started out as David’s friend I was technically one of his grooms-people but in a Bridesmaid’s dress. I felt awkward in that dress – I will never forget.

Anyway. . . I adore them both and we have started getting together regularly – about every four months or so. Well, actually, we’ve done it twice. But both times have been excellent. Prior to that we were all too busy with work and raising family. Kids are now in college or graduated and there’s a little free weekend time so there we were. The first time we got together was at their house. Oooh lala!

Beautiful house. Amazing dinner. Such fun company! AND... they eat like we do. Then it was our turn. David was so sweet and suggested that perhaps we would go out since our ‘date’ was on a Friday night – a work night. I thought about it. Tempting. I wasn’t sure. Not quite comfortable with the idea – but enticing in its ease. Just pick up the phone. So I did (well actually, Alan did) - a reservation at Hal’s figuring that we could meet at the house, have some crudite and home made hummus (the very least I could do) and then walk on down.

But I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t do it. I do know how to cook. I love to cook for my friends. They’re my friends. What was I thinking? It was a Friday and I have this very informal commitment to myself that I won’t work on Fridays or at least not on most Fridays. So after my court appearance in the morning, I went to the office for 15-minutes to check messages, etc. I then left and met my friend Disa for lunch (she’s in town from Denmark putting together a program for her students for next January) and then rolled on in to Whole Foods where I proceeded to buy way too many vegetables. I guess I had decided to make dinner.

It was so much fun for me. The kitchen was a huge mess. But it basically worked although the tofu marinated too long and was too salty. AND... Alex came which was so sweet. They’ve known him his whole life but of course he doesn’t remember them because he hasn’t seen them since he was a wee tike and that was really fun for me to watch. They all loved each other and that made me so happy.

The dinner was beets on a bed of beet greens; asparagus; grilled tofu; grilled zucchini; Warm French Lentils.

David loved the lentils and asked for the recipe which I thought was on Batch-33 but it’s not. So here it is. . ..

Warm French Lentils

(- Barefoot Contessa)

The cooked thing

The cooked thing


2 Tbsp plus

¼ cup good olive oil

1 leek, white and light green parts sliced thin

2 carrots, scrubbed and diced ¼”

1 tsp minced garlic

1 cup French green Le Puy lentils

1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 cloves

1 white turnip cut in half

1 tsp unsalted butter (ok to omit – I do)

4 tsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper




Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the leek and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and then set aside.

veggies cooking

veggies cooking

Place the lentils and 4 cups of water, the onion with the cloves stuck in, and the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost tender. When they go – they go fast so keep a keen eye on the pot!

When the lentils are done, remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl with the cooked leek and carrots and add the butter if you’re using it.

Meanwhile, while the lentils cook, whisk together the ¼ cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

The longer the lentils sit, the more salt and pepper you will want to add.

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