So…I’m kind of having the lunch of all lunches today.
And I’m kind of freaking out. Big time.
And no, I’m not delusional enough to get this excited about red lentil-rice cakes and the best cauliflower I’ve ever had. Although….these were both amazing. Like, they are my new favorite lunch.
Probably at least until I have lunch today.
With….(cue drumroll)….LIDIA BASTIANICH.
Yes. I am totally for real. Today I am going to have lunch with LIDIA BASTIANICH.
Sometimes…food blogging totally has it’s perks. You forget about them on occasion when you’re covered in buttercream that won’t fluff or pie crust that won’t roll. But they’re there.
I can’t even take it. Can someone pinch me?
Or at least give me some guidance about what to wear?
This whole thing is a bit bittersweet because my dad LOVED Lidia. And he would have just been so proud. He would have been running around to all his (uber Italian) coworkers, bragging about it. And I just wish I could have called him to tell him. I just have to keep telling myself that he’s watching me from wherever he is, and sometimes I imagine him telling me things in my head (this probably makes me a little crazy but it’s super comforting to hear him and imagine that he’s somehow communicating with me) (although a fair amount of the time, he’s rolling his eyes…so it’s entirely possible that he is somehow communicating with me).
Anyways. The point of this lunch is that Lidia is making an exciting announcement about a new line of packaged food that she is launching in conjunction with Whole Foods, so I can’t wait to update you guys on whatever that is on Friday!
And until then…we have red lentil-rice cakes. And the best cauliflower I’ve ever eaten.
All Mediterranean flavor-infused in honor of Lidia…and totally delicious. Not too shabby.
**The winner of the Whole Grains giveaway is commenter number 103…MonsterAteMy! I’ll be emailing you today to get your contact info!
Red Lentil-Rice Cakes
Makes 6, adapted from Cooking Light
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 oz part-skim mozzarella, grated
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 egg
- Put lentils and basmati rice in a large pot and cover with water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until water has evaporated and lentils and rice are cooked. Let sit covered with heat turned off for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, red onion and garlic. Saute until tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add to the rice/lentil mixture, along with the mozzarella, panko, basil, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well and then put in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
- Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 tsp olive oil. In 1/3 cup increments, scoop lentil/rice mixture into the pan, spreading to form 3-inch circles. Let cook 5 minutes on one side, or until lightly browned. Flip over and cook 5 minutes on the second side. Remove from pan to a paper towel-lined dish and repeat with remaining oil and batter.
Spicy Cauliflower with Saffron, Honey, and Capers
Serves 4, adapted from Modern Mediterranean
- 1/8 tsp saffron
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 shallots
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 hot red pepper, minced (I used red fresno chilis)
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1 tsp honey
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- In a small bowl, combine the saffron with 3/4 cup warm water. Stir together and let sit while the rest of the recipe is made.
- Trim the cauliflower. Cut the florets into 1-inch pieces.
- Cut the shallots in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1/4-inch wedges, also lengthwise.
- In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add in the shallots and cook until they are just golden around the edges, 1-2 minutes. Add in the pepper, capers, and honey. Cook until shallots are browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, salt and black pepper to the pan. Stir so that the cauliflower is completely coated with the shallot/caper/honey mix. Add in the saffron water and stir to coat the cauliflower. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is tender, about 12 minutes.
- Uncover, sprinkle with basil, and serve.