Monday, January 07, 2008

Simplicity Deconstructed

Okay, Erika, here they are! ;-) Finally......

This recipe is actually from the Spring part of A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, but what the heck - why not bring a little spring in? This recipe consists of 3 parts, the croquettes, the raita and the salad. As a whole, the recipe looks a little complicated, but each part is actually very simple and comes together quite quickly. It just takes a little planning since the lentil-rice mixture needs to be chill for 2 hours before hitting the pan.

The lentil-rice croquettes are seasoned with ginger and curry, but any combination of Indian-inspired spices would work well here. The croquettes were very good, but I thought they could use just a little more flavor and a little bit of heat (especially as a contrast to the cool raita). The raita is a simple combination of cucumber, garlic and yogurt.

Lentil and Rice Croquettes
What really surprised me though, was the romaine-mango salad. It's simple combination of lettuce, mango, lime juice, EVOO and salt. I could have eaten an entire bowl of this salad alone - there was just something about the fresh, simple flavors that really won me over and reminded me that sometimes less is more.

The only thing that I did not like about this dish is how it's constructed. You pile the salad, croquettes and raita on a pita - it looks pretty, but then what? It's difficult to eat - trying to cut through the toasted pita with a fork and knife while also trying not to turn everything into a big pile of mush. I would serve the toasted pita on the side next time - brush it with a little olive oil and season it a bit - it just didn't work as a base for me. Or - stuff it all inside the pita as one would do with falafel - that might work as well.

I feel indebted to this recipe for showing me you don't have to be afraid to simply let the flavor of fresh ingredients stand on their own and hopefully I will be able to incorporate this principle into my cooking more and more.


  1. Oh my, oh my. That looks and sounds so good! I like your idea of turning it into a sort of falafel. And it all looks very simple to do too. Thanks for sharing! It's going on my "try very soon" pile.

  2. Wow-those look wonderful. I've been restricting myself to the Winter section of the book, which I'm just starting to use, dspite having had it for a couple of years. These will definitely have to go on the to-try list.

  3. Michelle - I couldn't help but look at some of the out of season recipes! :)

  4. This looks wonderful. I also own this cookbook. I've opened it up more and more since I began making vegetable-based meals the focus of our meals. I can't wait to try this one.

    Your golden retriever is adorable. We have one that is 1 1/2 years old. Aren't they the most loving dogs ever?? I posted a picture of her as a puppy snooping in our pantry on my blog (

    Take care,
    Potomac, MD

  5. Karen - I think I have already cooked more out of this cookbook than just about any other cookbook I own.

    Bailey is so very sweet and loving - not one grumpy or mean bone in his body. I will have to check out pictures of your pooch. I need to post more of Bailey sometime...