Fast Friday without the bun

If you have exhausted every fast food you know for dinner, it’s time to try someobody else’s. Even if the food police don’t show up at your house at dinner, there is a limit to how many hot dogs and how much powdered soup mix you can eat. Plus, I am on a high horse at the moment with Ferdinand right now, trying to get him to think positively and with a sense of adventure about the wide, wide world of unfamiliar foods and outside of the hot dog box, so it doesn’t look good if I’m going on and on and on about the rest of the food in the world, and serving only dogs.
Red Lentils are fantastic because they look like a very recognizable legume that something very exciting has happened to, like they were possibly hit by lightening. The wow factor can be crucial with a four year old. Simmer them very slowly in plenty of water with a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a piece of shallot or garlic, salt, and a good spill of olive oil. After fifteen minutes, they should be nearly done. Drain well and remove the herbs and garlic. Meanwhile, cook some basmati rice using exactly the same method. (Look for the basmati; it is out there.) In a heavy saute pan, heat up a little olive oil and saute a two inch finely diced piece of giner, two to three minced garlic cloves, and one diced shallot. Saute over medium heat until softened and slightly caramelized. Add a teaspoon each of crushed cumin and coriander. Stir around, and then add the red lentils with a few spoonfuls of stock or water, and a quarter cup of coconut milk. (I keep mine frozen in ice cube trays). Taste for salt and freshly ground pepper. You can add a little fresh lime juice as well.
If you have another five minutes, dice up half the amounts of ginger and garlic, saute, and four tablespoons of cider vinegar. When it is cooked through, add four tablespoons of sugar, a small handful of raisins, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a teaspoon of honey. Cut up a large mango, add it to the mixture, and season with salt. Simmer, adding a little more water to keep the pot from getting dry, until the mango is soft. Taste and serve with the lentils over the rice and a bitter green salad.

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