“I need a little peace and quiet“, I said to my daughter as I drove the 30 kilometers into the Chouf mountains and the village of Deir el Qamar. Enough of the high voltage hustle and bustle of Beirut. Enough of traffic and cars and noise 24/7.
I am not a fan of team sports; it did not matter. I still HAD to listen to the entire basketball game retransmitted with loudspeakers and a live commentator from the village into all residents, myself included; its happy conclusion (Lebanon BEAT Canada 81/71) was expressed with thundering fireworks into the night.
So much for a little R&R (rest and relaxation).
What about these lentils? Lentils are God‘s perfect food. No wonder Jacob traded his inheritance for a plate of lentils (check the Book of Genesis).
- 1 cup of brown lentils
- 1 onion, chopped
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- a few tablespoons of parsley, leaves chopped
- a couple of cloves of garlic, mashed
- dash of cumin, dried coriander, salt, pepper
- one eggplant, slices salted and drained and fried in olive oil (optional)
- a teaspoon of red pepper paste (optional)
- pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Heat some water in a saucepan (about 4 cups); as soon as the water steams, add the lentils; you need to have at least 2 inches of water above the lentils. Simmer the lentils gently, skimming the surface from time to time until they are tender to the bite, about 30 minutes. Ideally, they should have absorbed all the water. If a lot of water is left, drain them. Add a jiggle of olive oil to the lentils, blend and set aside.
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet; add the eggplant slices and fry on both sides till soft, about 30 minutes total. Drain on paper towels.
- Add to the lentils all the fresh vegetables: chopped onion, diced tomatoes, chopped peppers, parsley, spices (cumin, salt, pepper), garlic, blend well. Serve on a platter with the eggplant slices forming a ring around the lentil salad.