Ottolenghi’s lentils with broiled eggplant

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The Real Talk portion of the post is as follows: I’m in a bit of a funk. I’m not feeling that inspired in the kitchen, even though fall’s just around the corner (respite from the heat, please come!), and it’s my favorite season for produce.

Part of it is my new job that’s keeping me busy. The new job is hard, you guys. It’s good to be challenged, and I keep reminding myself that this is what I was looking for, but I’m tired when I get home and don’t have a lot of extra oomph for cooking. It’s good that the thing that I do for the plurality of my time is challenging me to grow. It’s just made me wonder if my previous (somewhat) prolific posting was more of a coping mechanism for a job that had grown not right for me. I hope I can strike a balance, soon.

And the other part of it is that I seem to have put on a little additional padding ’round the middle and am reluctantly revisiting diet mode. Le sigh / le worst.

And, lastly, it’s so hot here. I know it’s such a ridiculous problem, but I just don’t want to turn on the stove. I just want to eat popsicles. See above problem.

I had an unexpected helper to break me out of it all, though, for this meal. I found a small box of “micro greens” at Trader Joe’s, which I thought would make my food look terribly fancy. So, obviously, it came home, and I shamelessly have been topping everything I make with micro greens. I feel like I’m eating at a fancypants restaurant.

And, yes, I’m still obsessed with Plenty.

Lentils with broiled eggplant
From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, recipe posted on The Guradian

2 medium eggplants
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 cup lentils, preferably the small, dark variety
2 medium carrots
1 bay leaf
1/2 yellow onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 cherry tomatoes
handful of basil leaves
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
salt & pepper

Pierce the eggplants in a few places. (This is important! Plenty‘s headnotes say that if you don’t do this, the eggplant explodes. Ain’t nobody got time to clean eggplant off their oven walls.) Place them on a foil-lined tray and under the broiler, turned to high, for about an hour. Turn them a few times. When the eggplants are done, the skin will be burnt all over, and the eggplants will be quite soft and deflated.

While the eggplants are broiling, you can prepare your vegetables. Dice the carrots and onion, halve the cherry tomatoes, and slice the basil into ribbons.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil and salt generously. Add the lentils and bay leaf, and boil until the lentils are done, about 25 minutes. Drain and remove the bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper, about half the vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil.

When the eggplants are done, remove from the oven and set the temperature to 275˚F. Let the eggplants cool slightly, and then split in half. Scoop out the flesh and let it drain on a colander for about 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and about half the vinegar.

While the eggplant is draining, toss the cherry tomatoes and carrots with a bit of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until the carrots are cooked (but not mushy), about 20 minutes.

To serve, combine the carrots and tomatoes with the lentils. Toss with the ribbons of basil and add more salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar if needed. Pile the eggplant on top of the lentils, and top with a spoonful of Greek yogurt.