Bowl + Spoon {and Lentil and Rice bowls with Summer Vegetable Kebabs}

I love cookbooks.  This is evidenced by the fact that I already have a huge collection of them.  Also, both my grandmothers love to sit down and look at cooking magazines/cookbooks and I totally got it from them!

Also, because of the ubiquity of food blogs nowadays, cookbooks have become their own art form.  The photos are stunning and the layout and design are gorgeous.  How is my food- and photography-loving self supposed to pass that up?!

I most recently added Bowl + Spoon by Sara and Hugh Forte of The Sprouted Kitchen to my collection.  I was attracted to the idea of the book (NES and I both love Asian stir-fry or any other stir-fry that mixes rice/noodles and veggies in a bowl) and I hoped that I could surprise NES with some new meals from it!

First of all, I found the introduction inspiring.  Although we try to eat somewhat healthily everyday, and I love getting local produce when I can, it really made me think about how we eat, and has made me think more about how eating seasonally could improve our lives.

The photos are also gorgeous.  Each recipe also comes with a description and notes.  I actually read all the notes in cookbooks like this . . . like all of them.

I am really the most excited about the breakfast bowls and the sweet bowls (surprise surprise!) and there's a tropical smoothie bowl in there that I have my eye on!

I was a little worried about the big bowls (read: main dish) chapter.  As I looked, I was a little concerned about how many NES would actually like.  Many involve tofu, and I'm not sure I could get away with that at home.  There are plenty of things I plan on trying for me.  I also think I'll try some of the recipes with different protien choices for the two of us.  Sara does actually suggest that the recipes lend themselves to alterations, and boy am I excited about that!  Any cookbook that encourages making recipes your own gets brownie points from me! 

However, I made the lentil and rice bowls with summer vegetable kabobs (because they sounded amazing to me!) and both of us loved it!  I thought it was a little involved for a weeknight, but it really only took about an hour.  I think next time I'll get NES on sauce and kabob duty, and I'll make the rice and lentils.  That'll make it really do-able, and we get to cook together!  We're already talking about making them again very soon!

I did make a few minimal changes -- zucchini instead of eggplant, almonds instead of walnuts, and a little bit less onion in the rice than the recipe called for just to better suit our tastes, but otherwise, I was true to the recipe!  Oh, except I cooked the rice traditionally on the stove, since it was HOT out and I didn't want to heat up the oven!

Also, the sauce totally makes these bowls.  So good.

Lentil and Rice Bowls with Summer Vegetable Kebabs 
Adapted slightly from Bowl + Spoon

Sauce (Muhammara):
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 roasted red peppers, fresh or jarred
3/4 cup roasted almonds or walnuts
3 Medjool dates, pitted
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
3 tbsp. olive oil

Lentils (Mujaddara):
3/4 cup French green lentils
1 tsp. salt
5 1/2 cups of water, divided
1 cup brown basmati rice
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. butter or ghee
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 lb. small poatotes, cut to bite sized
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small eggplant or 2 zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 red onion, cut into 1 inch squares
salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Make the sauce by pulsing the garlic to mince in a food processor.  Add the red peppers, nuts, dates, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and olive oil.  Process until smooth.  This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Combine the lentils, 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 cups of water into a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer the lentils until they are just cooked -- about 20 minutes.  Drain the lentils and set aside.

In the same pot, add the rice, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 tsp. of salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cover.  Either turn the heat down to low, and cook until rice is soft, about 20 minutes, OR bake in the oven for about 17 minutes.  Uncover, fluff and add the spinach.  Stir to wilt the spinach.  I found that returning the cover helped wilt the spinach.

Meanwhile, while the rice and lentils cook, put the potatoes in a small pot, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender, or about 10 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic powder, cayenne, and a few pinches of salt and pepper from the kebabs.  Add the potatoes, eggplant/zucchini, peppers, and onion, then toss to coat.

Alternating colors, skewer the kebab ingredients.  Heat the grill.

Also while the rice is cooking, heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and add the butter and 2 tbsp. of olive oil.  Once the butter melts, add the onions.  Saute for about 15 minutes until the onions are quite soft and browned.

Oil the grill, and cook the kebabs, rotating occasionally until the vegetables are tender, or about 8-10 minutes.

Raise the heat on the onions to high and cook for 3-4 minutes more, or until the onions have a charred layer on the bottom.  Combine the rice, lentils, and onions in a large serving bowl.  Cover until the kebabs are cooked.  (The rice and lentil mixture can be made ahead and warmed when you are ready to serve.)

Serve in a bowl with a big scoop of lentils and rice, a few kebabs, the sauce and some feta cheese!

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


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