Lentil Spanakopita


Lentil Spanakopita Recipe

Filling:

1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red pepper paste
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 lbs. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1/2 recipe almond feta cheese (excluding herb oil), crumbled

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Boil lentils in salted water.  Simmer until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, set aside.

Saute onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Add remaining filling ingredients (including lentils, excluding feta, spinach and parsley).  Reduce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until no liquid remains.  Remove from heat and add spinach.

In a bowl, mix parsley and feta crumbles.

Crust:

1 lb box phyllo dough, thawed (1 used whole wheat)
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a large casserole dish.

In a small saucepan, heat Earth Balance and milk until melted, remove from heat.

To assemble, place two sheets of phyllo in the pan and brush with the EB mixture.  Spread a thin layer of the lentils on top.  Add two more sheets of phyllo, brush with EB.  Add a layer of the feta and parsley.  Continue layering until all the filling is used.  Finish with a layer of 2-3 sheets of phyllo then brush with EB.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.


Enjoy hot or cold!

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Funky Feta

I recently discovered that the April 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times featured a recipe for vegan feta cheese.  Some patience is required to make this cheese because it will not be ready to eat until two days after the beginning of the process. I’ve made two batches of the cheese, so far.  I modified the recipe for the second batch, and I think it improved the taste a bit.  My first modification was to omit the garlic.  I LOVE garlic, but I didn’t care for it in this cheese.  Second, I left the soaked almonds out on the counter for a couple days to develop a little bit of “funk”.  Probably, not the safest thing to do, but I didn’t get sick.

I was elated to find this recipe because it has allowed me to recreate many of the Turkish dishes I enjoyed as a child.  A great way to use the feta is in a grilled cheese sandwich.  Take a couple slices of good crusty bread and spread some Earth Balance on them, put some crumbled feta between the slices, and brown in a skillet.

Race Report: 2010 Workplace Indoor Triathlon

On Monday, I completed the indoor triathlon at my workplace.  I chose the “regular distance course” which consisted of 2,000m on the rowing machine, 3 miles on the stationary bike, and a 1.5 mile run on the treadmill.  It’s really not a race because the participants are completing the event at the same time.

I find that I perform better after a rest day, so didn’t work out on Sunday.  As a result, I felt very strong throughout the event on Monday.  I completed the row in 8:31, a seven second improvement over my practice race in January.

When moved from the rowing machine to the bike, I realized that I made a big mistake.  I forgot to adjust the bike before starting to row.  I didn’t lose too much time adjusting the seat, but adjusting the foot straps cost me about 2 minutes.  I was wearing my Vibram FiveFingers shoes which have a much lower profile than standard running shoes so when I got to the bike, the straps were way too loose.  The actual cycling portion of the tri went very well for me.  I finished the 3 mile bike in about 8:45, 26 seconds faster than my practice race.

Finally, I hopped onto the treadmill for the final leg, a 1.5 mile run.  Surprisingly, my legs and my heart did not feel fatigued by that point and I still felt very strong.  I started out conservatively to avoid crashing before the finish.  The strategy was successful and I completed the 1.5 mile run in 12:31, a whopping 2:17 improvement over my practice run of 14:48!

My overall time (including transitions) was 32:31.  I was a bit disappointed in the end because I lost so much time over a careless mistake, but I learned from it.  I’m still quite pleased with the progress I made in the past 3 weeks since my first practice race.  Now it’s time to start training for the real thing!

UPDATE:

I was just notified that my overall time was 30:39, not 32:31.  I guess I didn’t waste as much time adjusting the bike as I originally thought!