Pulse check

September 9, 2009

PulsesA couple of weeks I ago I traveled to Alberta to learn all about Canadian pulses. It was a great trip that will be remembered not only for good company, great weather and terrific meals, but also because I learned so much interesting information that I hope to organize into witty tidbits of scintillating prose in the coming weeks.

Although Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and chickpeas, I discovered that few people – even food professionals – can confidently define this term when asked. In fact, when I told people that I was going to the pulse harvest, I got a lot of quizzical looks!

So, for your big fat information, pulses are the mature, dried edible seeds of legumes such as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. (Although soybeans are legumes they are not considered pulses due to their high fat content.)

Apparently the average Canadian eats only about 1/4 cup (50 mL) of pulses a week. How do you compare to this average?

Lentils for lunch

April 29, 2009


While I’m really not liking this new marketing term “uber cocooning” (why not just call people shut-ins or hermits?) I worry I could be mistaken for one. You see, I do love a well-stocked pantry. It just makes life so much easier to be able to make a great recipe literally right out of the cupboard.

Case in point: this lentil salad that I made recently for my Sunday lunch. The genesis for this bowl of yummy stuff was a humble can of lentils that I drained, rinsed and put in a bowl. Subsequent scavenging led to the discovery of green pumpkin seeds, a carrot, a quarter of a red pepper, a hunk of a forgotten pomegranate, some coriander and a shallot. A little chopping and a very few minutes later, my salad was born as this concoction dressed with a curry flavoured dressing.

Delish on a dime and in no time!

What’s your favourite out-of-the-cupboard lunch?

By the way, here’s how I made the Curry Vinaigrette:

1 tsp (5 mL) curry paste
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each honey and minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) minced fresh garlic
3 tbsp (45 mL) canola or extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Blend the curry paste, honey, ginger and vinegar together until smooth. Stir in the garlic and while whisking, drizzle in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.