lentils and spices

I finally got to prepare a meal with my new kitchen island!

That makes it sound like it is an appliance or something used to make the food itself… clearly it isn’t. But it definitely makes a big difference!

Plus I think that the ingredients are prettier when they are photographed on the wood counter instead of my greenish Corian counters.


I stopped by Central Market to pick up most of the ingredients. I had a few at home (onion and garlic) but most of them I had to purchase. It was my goal to buy things that were on my list to make the soup–and nothing more.


I knew of the market’s bulk food section but I hadn’t really appreciated it before now. My aunt had mentioned to me once that she liked to buy small amounts of spices she doesn’t use often from the bulk section instead of buying a bunch of something pre-packaged that wouldn’t be used. Plus, the spices in the bulk area tend to be less expensive.

I bought a small amount of turmeric and chili powder for my soup for less than a dollar total (30 cents for the turmeric and 44 cents for the chili). Even after using what I needed for my soup I still have enough left over for more cooking experiments.


(I also bought organic green lentils –on sale–  for the soup and some organic quinoa for fun… I’ve been meaning to try it and couldn’t resist!)


It turned out really, really good… it was my first time cooking with lentils, but it definitely won’t be my last!

And I stuck to my list pretty well. The fresh tortillas are always on my list whether or not I write it down. I can’t leave Central Market without them. I also picked up some yogurt to go with my morning oatmeal… oh yeah, and this. But even with those few extra items I think it would have been a lot worse if I didn’t have a recipe in mind and a list pre-made!

I followed the recipe for Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen… mostly. I didn’t measure my onion, celery, cilantro, lime juice or garlic… I just put in all that I had or happened to chop up. I also substituted green lentils for the red lentils in the recipe. (The red lentils were out of stock in the bulk section.) Oh, and I used chicken stock that I had made and frozen last month-ish instead of vegetable stock. So it turned out to be an almost-vegetarian dish.