06 August 2013

Lentil Eggplant Stew Recipe (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I don't think it would be possible for me to own too many cookbooks, or have too many recipes in my box, or too many food ideas pinned on my Pinterest boards.  Are you with me?

A woman I met last year suggested a cookbook party--we'd all bring our favorite cookbooks, and look at them together.  That's it.  No cooking, just idea gathering.  No mess, just beautiful photos of mouth-watering food. 

If we had further developed the idea, perhaps we would have had a potluck of a few recipes to go with our looking, or asked our husbands to cook us a meal, or brown bagged it, because I'm sure we couldn't have gotten away with a total lack of food at a cookbook party.

But doesn't it sound fun? 

It did to me.  I could read cookbooks for hours.

Thus when my dad hollered from the other room that he had something to show me, and I came in with no idea what it might be, and looked at old family photo albums and prints and talked about whose faces were whose, a little wooden box at the bottom especially intrigued me. 

I opened it, of course, to find a small treasury of recipe cards.  Which was especially exciting, because as I understand it, my grandmother fed her family a vegan diet long before such a thing would have been easy.  Or normal.

Right then and there, I resolved to try the recipes in her box for myself.  Well, maybe not ALL of them.  But certainly to read them all, as I would a cookbook at a cookbook party, and try a few at least.  It's a tangible connection to family history, right?

Well, maybe not so much as I imagined--my dad says he does not remember the Lentil Eggplant Stew at all.  That just meant I tried the recipe when he wasn't home, on a day when the temperatures were a frigid seventy-ish degrees with clouds in the sky and soup with toast and home-made low-sugar plum jam sounded delicious.  (You know, since he wouldn't feel left out of a childhood memory or something.)

It's definitely a lentil stew I would make again.

Lentil Eggplant Stew

1 pound lentils
1 bay leaf 
dash salt
Cover with water, bring to a boil.

1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped in small cubes
Saute vegetables in 2 T olive oil.  Add the vegetables to the lentils, then add:
6 oz can tomato paste or 1 1/2 c chopped tomatoes (I used one can of stewed tomatoes)
dash dried basil
dash dried oregano
1/4 t cinnamon (or use coriander if you prefer not to use cinnamon)
1/4 c lemon juice (originally the recipe called for vinegar, but I don't cook with vinegar)
Simmer until all vegetables are soft.  Serve with crackers, toast, or a veggie platter on the side.

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