If this past week is any indication of how CRAZY the next few months are going to be, I am slightly unprepared. In my mind. If my job was to lift 50 kilos and not give a damn, I would be so prepared but I’m not. So I worry. I think about how it was last year and I remember that this rush of events and planning things did not start until after my birthday. I was 25 going on 26 and being a big brat about it. I had finished working on my plans to eat vegetables grown on our balcony and that’s all I was really worried about. Then I turned 26 and whoa I found myself right in the middle of LIFE.
We hiked till our ankles were raw and I took photos of things that are still stuck in little film canisters. I started my new job and a we went to India (me, for 3 months). It all happened so fast and here we are, another year literally blossoming in front of my eyes. I want to write long poems to it and tell it that just like right now, I will remember these times as they pass by. I will think of that poor drunk man that fell on us at the bus stop after we ate a Dream Theater concert and watched half and half pizza. Switch that around. It was almost midnight and I laughed so much because it’s been so long since I’ve had a human experience in this place. I walk by so so so many of you everyday and I feel nothing. Let more people fall on me, I say.
I will remember every new flower and that man, that man on the bus who was talking about handwriting and the almost death of cursive. “I’m not scared of writing…I just write.”
It’s a couple of weeks away from May, which means: BIRTHDAY MONTH. It’s been a month since I’ve come back to my Washington reality and I love it except for the rain stuff but it could be worse. I’m thinking of story ideas, working on my writing and starting work tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this) at the same place I was working at last year i.e. mobile foooooods gluten-free (up-in-your) bizness. I hope not to blink and miss the really, really good things that are right in front of me, even though I still have oh-so-much to figure out. It’s this life stuff, I guess.
It speeds up in May, I already know this. Hold on tight people!
- 3 large-medium sweet potatoes, skin on
- 1-2 tbsp (for coating the potatoes) +2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup French lentils or black lentils, soaked for an hour or more (soaking reduces cooking time)
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 dry red chilli (chile d’arbol)
- 1 1/2 cups leeks, chopped (white and light green parts)
- 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ginger root, grated
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt to taste
For the topping
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2-3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- Zest of 1 lime
- Lime juice, to squeeze on top (optional)
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F, which in this house takes no time at all, if by “no time at all” you mean “I’ve outsmarted this oven. Who’s the boss now?”
Put the scrubbed, dried and skin-sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Take the coconut oil and coat the potatoes with it. They should start to smell like a tropical vacation at this point. Put them in the 400 degree oven and let them cook for 40 minutes, until they are soft. You won’t need to cover them with foil. Leave them open.
Take the lentils you’ve been soaking overnight and rinse them well. They will have increased in size to about 1 1/4 cups. Add them to a pot of lightly salted water with the bay leaf. You can add as much water as you like but adding water that goes above the lentils by 3-4 inches is the best amount. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Keep a watch on them so they don’t overcook. You need them to retain their shape. When ready, strain out the water and keep aside.
Now we will cook the leeks that will go with the lentils. (Are you ready?) In a medium or small skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the dried red chilli to it and let it release all its smokey flavour for about 1 minutes. Move it to the side of the skillet and then add the leeks, garlic and ginger to it. Stir around until the leeks are soft. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Add the garam masala, cumin and salt and sautee for a minute more before turning off the heat. Add the cooked lentils to the mix and let it all sit the skillet.
Make the yogurt topping by simply mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl. The sweet potatoes should be all cooked by now.
Now with the potatoes you can either A) Scoop out a little bit of potato from the middle or B) Make a slit in the middle of the potato so it has enough room to stuff things in it. Things being lentils and leeks and stuff. Take a spoonful or 2 or 3 of the lentils and put them in the potato. Add the yogurt to top it off and serve hot/warm. Squeeze a little bit of lime juice over it all.