The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Grandma’s Birthday, Lentil and Rice Salad and “the Miserable Hulk”

For the most part this weekend was enjoyable. Friday night we ate at one of our favorite restaurants in town, one that is a 3 minute walk over a bridge beyond our apartment, called Basil’s Pizza Place….although we know it as simply Basils. They are a small, famous family eatery known for their pizza but we usually go for the gyro platter. Greg and I can have a good amount of food by ordering one meal and pay around $10-12. The gyro isn’t the best that I’ve had, although the pizza rivals another well-known place in town called George’s Vineyard but the gyro is the best we’ve had in Minnesota.

Infact, you could easily confuse the two pizza places because the menus are almost identical but I don’t believe they are connected. They are easily the best places to go in town. After that, we watched dvds from the library- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and season 1 of the Muppets. I did have an epiphany after watching a few episodes; I would love to make my version of Julie & Julia with my chef idol: the Swedish chef. Hotsy totsy!

The rest of the weekend had highs and lows, including boredom on Saturday since we had carry-out a few times last week, our weekend moolah was gone. We basically sat looking at one another after our 5 mile hike and shrugged as to what to do next. We watched more Muppets.

Sunday…Sunday was the pisser of the weekend (even though it was my grandma’s birthday-happy birthday, grandma) when, as usual, we went to do our laundry because it’s half-price washer day. It was busy and I had to wait for a washer, no prob, then on to the dryer and that’s where the fun started. I don’t think it’s asking too much that when you place your clothes in a dryer along with the money and press start and wait for 40-50 minutes (reading at a table), that the clothes should come out dry. This was not the case. The dryer obviously wasn’t working, the same one I used last weekend that burned my fingers to gather the clothes when it was done. This place is infamous for the top dryers not working and I never use those.

Greg placed the clothes in a new dryer and tested it to see if it worked….it did not…tried another….nada. So after an extra $1.00 and about an hour more, we decided to go to the laundromat across town. This one overcharges and barely anyone uses it but we had already wasted about 3 hours at this point on one load. We found a dryer with 5 minutes left on it-hooray! We added another half hour and left to get some lunch and came back after 40 minutes to a cold and still very wet load of laundry. This part is hazy because I think I turned into what my great grandma would’ve called “the Miserable Hulk.” I just know cursing was involved, I may have thrown a washer or eaten some detergent, I don’t know. Next time, I will just use the washer and dryer in our apartment building even though it costs more.

Anyway, I made my lentil and rice salad Saturday which is my version of a Giada De Laurentis recipe. It’s easy, healthy and great for picnics.

Lentil and Rice Salad
Lentil and Rice Salad

Lentil and Rice Salad
Serves 4

1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ cup lentils
2 cups broth (I used chicken)
¼ cup of flat-leaf parsley, basil, rosemary, chopped (or some combination of fresh herbs)
2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
juice of one large lemon
2 cups of brown rice (or any rice you like)
½ cup kalamatas, chopped
crumbled feta
dried cranberries, cherries, or golden raisins-optional
crystallized candied nuts, flowers, ginger, lemon or orange zest-optional

Steam or prepare rice first then, sauté carrot, onion and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add lentils and 2 cups of broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes (keep an eye on the lentils as they might get mushy here). Remove from heat and drain. Cool and chop herbs and kalamatas. Place room temperature or cool rice in a large bowl and add lemon juice, herbs, kalamatas, salt/pepper, and dried fruit. When lentil mix is cool, add to rice and mix, add feta and anything else you would like. Serve or chill.

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