Like the previous five summers, I’m teaching summer school this year. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds. It’s 7:30 to 12:15, every day, for six weeks. I can handle that. I get about three and a half weeks off at the end of the summer, which is more time than I actually need and more time than most Americans get for vacation. Afternoons are plenty of time off: I can read, be with friends, catch up on Jeopardy and drink. OK, I may be 87 years old. I can’t sit around and do nothing for days on end (all right, maybe three days max), so my limited time off is good.
The only major issue with summer school is that by the end of the school day I’m starving. Yes, Mom, I bring snacks with me, but I’m always hungry by 12:30 when I leave. I blame this on my teaching schedule last year, which had me eating lunch at 11:30 every day.
So last week I decided to stop at my local Whole Foods on the way home from school. Actually I was going to stop at the Panda Express next to Whole Foods, but I decided that maybe getting something healthy would be a better idea. Right. 30 minutes and nearly $50 later, I walked out of Whole Foods with four different types of lentils, 8 different kinds of beer (don’t judge, they sell individual bottles so you can mix and match!) and a small salad. I went home and ate the salad, followed by some chocolates from a box a student gave me the last week of school. Yeah, I’m classy.
The one gem I found during my WF trip was a bag of black lentils. I’d been searching for black lentils for years and here they were, beautiful, delicious, and not insanely expensive (although more expensive than plain old brown lentils). Many years ago I watched Tyler Florence make a really good looking bruschetta with black lentils, goat cheese and prosciutto (those last two items are things we already know I like, as evidenced by a pizza I made last month) and I’d always wanted to try it.
So I bought the lentils (and beer and salad) and vowed to finally make this bruschetta.
This past Monday afternoon I gathered all the ingredients (10 of them, which is too many if you ask me) and I started on a wondrous journey to make this recipe I’d dreamed of for so long. I started by cooking the lentils. This is where I went wrong. I believed the recipe when it claimed to only serve four people. But it turns out that two cups of dried black lentils makes about a billion cups of cooked lentils. OK, so I like hyperbole, but still, it was a lot of freaking lentils. I called down the hallway to my roommate, “Um, I hope you want to eat lentils for the rest of the week…” She said, “Uhhhhh” very suspiciously and joined me in the kitchen to see the plethora of lentils I’d just cooked.
I cooked the onions, which seemed a minuscule amount compared to the mountain of lentils, and put everything together. I felt like it needed more balsamic, so I busted out my trusty Fresh and Easy balsamic glaze and gave the lentil/onion mixture a few go-rounds with that. In the end, it was OK. I mean, the flavors were great together. I really loved the sweetness of the balsamic/honey/glaze on the onions and lentils mixed with the savory goat cheese and prosciutto. The main issue is that prosciutto is hard to bite through, so you end up having to shove the entire thing in your mouth at once and it’s very unladylike and messy, both things I clearly never am.
Obviously I didn’t want to waste the now only slightly less than a billion cups of lentils I had left, so I decided to get creative. I made some whole wheat couscous, piled on some lentils and topped it with some goat cheese and prosciutto. Now that was pretty tasty. Leave out the prosciutto and it’s a great vegetarian meal. Of course, now I’ll be eating this every night this week, but at least I tried one of the hundreds (NOT a hyperbole) of recipes I have saved from various food magazines and Food Network shows. And for that I feel accomplished.