Rustic Lentils and Barley ala crock pot

July 17th 2014

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You know that feeling when you finally feel like you are home? Well I haven't felt that way in quite a few years....and finally I feel that sentimental braingasm of belonging that isn't really familiar to me. With all the anxiety that moving brings we quite possible made the best decision we as a team (my husband and I) have ever made. Abraham Maslow theorized that every human desires membership, order, and meaning. In the hierarchy of needs we need all these things to be "happy" I don't know if its in a "Pharrell" kinda way or just having a sense of belonging. I actually find it quite hard to be my normal, cynical, self when everything seems to be coming up Zanny (my nickname). With this new optimism comes a rediscovery of things in the past I have been negative about....one I have realized I had unfairly judged would be the crock pot, slow cooker, whatever you like to call them.
They put the hand in handy and I recently had to transport a dish all the way to Seattle, and with the Tacoma back up traffic I was a bit nervous it wouldn't stay hot, well it did, and the dish a success....so in a way that which I had bashed in the past had saved my cynical ass...so I have a new respect for the crock pot. Which brings me to todays recipe which is a porridge of lentil and barley and garnished with stuff I like, the base recipe is vegan so depending on garnish this can be a healthy and affordable way to feed your whole posse and probably a small army as well!
So in a crock pot add ingredients in this order:
1/2 lb of brown lentils the cheap kind no fancy stuff
1/2 cup dried barley
1 12oz can Italian whole tomatoes crushed by hand
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp each cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
4 cups of stock
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Give it a quick stir, set to low for 6 hours or even overnight, or on high for 2-4 hours. In the words of the great Ronco infomercial guy "Set it and forget it!".
So for topping I used some raw spinach chiffonade (fancy shredded cut), some olives, feta (use a vegan option or none at all), and a drizzle of Lemon infused olive oil. You can chose your own adventure here, I really don't like the idea of having to make something exactly the way someone tells you to, removes the artistic nature of going to the effort of cooking in general....and yes I said "artistic" and "crock pot" in the same post!
The moral to this story is be willing to be wrong about something and then realize that, admit it, and appreciate it for what it can do....changing your perception of something even menial can give a look into what an adventure life can be. Happy crocking! CHEERS!