Ivory Lentil Mediterranean Salad

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The Stein Eriksen lodge is a beautiful hotel in Deer Valley, Utah. The namesake is the gold medalist Stein Eriksen, a downhill skier from Norway.

The hotel has such a wonderful Norwegian ambiance with its unique furniture, textiles, and design. We fell in love with the hotel itself, but best of all was discovering brunch at the hotel’s restaurant, the Glitretind.


We’ve been going back as often as we can – just for brunch. We’ve taken our children there, children with friends, then children with husbands, then grand children. The restaurant is family oriented, and definitely skier-oriented during ski season, but still maintains high-end, high-quality food in a cozy, European-style setting. The view from the Glitretind is also stunning, no matter what time of year.

Recently we took my mother there for brunch on her 91st birthday. And, as always, it was a perfect experience, including a surprise treat for my mother. And let me tell you, this brunch is a buffet. I’ve never been a buffet fan. Somehow, the Glitretind pulls buffet off well.

So, while brunching at the Glitretind with the birthday girl, and perusing the salads, one caught my attention. It was an ivory lentil salad. I’m familiar with tan, brown, green, and black lentils… but ivory?!! I just had to have it. And the salad was wonderful.

So I went to my favorite online grocery store, Amazon, and I found ivory lentils sold by Barry Farms, which is a company that sells high-quality grains and beans. Turns out ivory lentils are the insides of black beans!

This is my version of a Mediterranean salad using ivory lentils, with roasted vegetables and some extra goodies, all tossed in a creamy dressing.

Ivory Lentil Mediterranean Salad

16 ounces ivory lentils, pre-soaked for 4-5 hours

1 large purple onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 small lemon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato paste or a few sun-dried tomato halves
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
Salt

Canned artichoke bottoms or hearts, quartered
Sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Kalamata olives, sliced

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F, or to a high roasting position.

While the oven is heating, start the lentils cooking using water or vegetable broth. This step took me 20 minutes with the pre-soaked lentils.


Rinse gently and set aside to cool.

Toss the onions and bell peppers in a bowl and toss with the oil, salt, and pepper.

Pour the vegetables into a roasting pan, and when the oven is at temperature, roast the vegetables until nicely charred, about 20-25 minutes.

Turn off the oven, let the vegetables cool.

Place the slightly warm lentils in a large bowl along with the roasted vegetables and any remaining olive oil in the pan.

Add the quartered artichoke bottoms. I am in love with this product.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in about 1/3 of the vinaigrette and gently combine.


To serve, place the salad in a shallow serving dish.

Top with the sun-dried tomatoes and olive slices.

If desired, drizzle on a little more dressing.

So many ingredients could be included in this salad, like feta cheese for example. But I really liked the simplicity of what I created, which was inspired by the salad I enjoyed at brunch.

I will definitely purchase ivory lentils again, mostly because they’re so pretty. They don’t have the same flavor as Le Puy, which is my favorite lentil variety, but then, they’re really not lentils.

Ancho-Spiced Bloody Mary

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As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I was inspired to make an ancho chile pepper infused vodka, by the discovery of Ancho Reyes, an ancho chile liqueur. I wasn’t inspired to make a chile pepper liqueur, but a vodka, on the other hand, was really intriguing to me.

I proceeded to make the ancho, chipotle, and coffee flavored vodka, and waited one week. It was finally time for the unveiling.

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The vodka has a beautiful reddish-brown color to it, and had a nice chile pepper aroma. I decided to keep things simple, and just mix this home-made vodka with a bloody Mary mix I enjoy, which is called Zing Zang.

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So here’s what I did:

Ancho-Spiced Bloody Mary
To make 1 drink

Lime and Salt for the rim, if you like your bloody Marys salted
2-4 ounces of the vodka, strained
Your favorite bloody Mary mix
Spear of jicama, optional
Garlic-stuffed olives, optional

Run a slice of lime over the rim of the glass. Sprinkle some salt in a small plate, and dip the top of the glass into the salt.

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Then add your preferred amount of the ancho-infused vodka.

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Fill up the rest of the glass with the chilled bloody Mary mix. Actually, if you prefer, you can include ice before you begin making the drink.

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For fun, I added a spear of jicama.

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As well as a few jalapeno slices and garlic-stuffed olives.
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verdict: This was a surprisingly successful vodka experiment! The bloody Mary was fabulous. The next time I might add two more chipotle peppers, and definitely include coffee beans. Unfortunately, I can’t think of any other drink that this vodka would be good in, but perhaps some of you have some suggestions?

Ancho-Infused Vodka

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A while back on Facebook, which is so educational and such a good use of my time, I discovered a post on Ancho Reyes – an ancho chile-based liqueur! I had mixed emotions when I discovered this. First of all, I really wanted to try it. Secondly, I was wondering why I’d never thought of it.

I reposted the link to this liqueur on Facebook, and not surprisingly, my friend Richard from REM Cooks messaged me and wrote, “I wonder if I can make this?!!”

See? Facebook isn’t a total waste of time!

I thought I’d leave the ancho chile pepper liqueur to Richard. However, I talked to my husband about making an infused vodka with dried chile peppers instead. And surprisingly, he mentioned that it would be good in a bloody Mary!!! He doesn’t even drink bloody Marys!

Then I couldn’t quit thinking about this vodka or the Bloody Marys. So I made it. Here’s what I did.

Ancho-Infused Vodka with a Touch of Chipotle

1 750 ml bottle Voli coffee-infused vodka
2 ancho chile peppers
2 chipotle peppers

First let me say that I’ve owned this coffee-infused vodka for years. I’ve been too scared to use it seriously for a night time cocktail, for fear that I’d never get to sleep. I have no idea if it causes a caffeine buzz, but I don’t want to find out the hard way. I like sleeping. So, this vodka really needed to get used.

And what better vodka to go with a chile pepper flavor than coffee?!!! There are many versions of rubs for steaks that include both ground chile peppers as well as coffee powder, so I thought that the combination would be perfect. If I hadn’t used the infused vodka, I would have added a few crushed coffee beans to the recipe.

And the chipotles? They’re just my favorite flavor when it comes to dried chile peppers, and the smokiness will really enhance the anchos.

I thought about other ingredients like a cinnamon stick or a few allspice berries, but nixed them. Maybe for the liqueur, but not for the vodka. Especially for a bloody Mary.

I even thought about bay leaves and garlic, but decided to keep it simple.

So I got out the ancho chile peppers and the two smaller chipotle chiles.
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I removed all four stems, and then cut the peppers into strips.
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I placed them in a clean bottle.
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Using a funnel, I poured the coffee-infused vodka into the bottle.
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Then I closed her up and decided to store the bottle for one week. If the vodka is too chile-flavored, I can always “thin” it with more vodka, but I wanted the infusion to really count.
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In case you’re interested, here’s the Ancho Reyes website for the liqueur. There are even cocktail suggestions. But no bloody Mary! Stay tuned for that!

Hair of the Dog Breakfast

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Not that I would ever need a hair-of-the-dog kind of breakfast (!) but this is it for me if I was ever in need of one. What’s better than eggs, liver, onions, and all of that topped off with a bloody mary?!!!

Now I promised there would be at least one liver post in 2013, and this is it. I happen to be a fan. Maybe some of you should give it a try, after all, it’s really inexpensive!

I think liver and eggs are the only reasons I made it out of college alive, because they were all I could afford. Eggs were cheap, and a carton of beef liver cost under a dollar and could stretch me three meals. (This was back in the 70’s.)

These days, eggs are a little more expensive, but liver is still cheap.

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I prefer beef liver with my eggs, as opposed to chicken liver, which I use only to make pâté. I prefer the texture of beef liver, and the servings are good-sized. So here’s what I did the morning after my last holiday hurrah:

Liver and Eggs
to serve 2

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, halved, then sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 “slabs” beef liver, blotted dry on paper towels
2 eggs, or 4, if you prefer

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until they are nice and brown, about five minutes; place them in a bowl and keep warm.

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Heat 2 more tablespoons of butter in the same skillet and cook 2 slices of liver. Give them at least a minute on one side, then turn them over. I usually turn down the heat slightly and cook a little more on the second side. I like mine rare, but I don’t want the liver too seared on the outsides, with raw insides.

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Remove the liver to a plate, and then cook the eggs; there should be enough butter in the skillet to cook them. If not, add a little more butter.

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To serve, place a liver slice on a plate, put your cooked egg next to it, and top everything with the onions. Don’t forget the bloody mary!