It’s Friday night, 7:18, to be precise. I’m taking a break from dinner while it finishes cooking to write down the recipe. I’ve already showered and have on pajama pants and a t-shirt. Anyway, I’m in the kitchen chopping vegetables and stirring pots; my music’s playing on the portable speaker. Bob Marley Radio on Pandora was the station I had selected when out of the blue, in between Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, I heard the beginning drumbeats of a song that flung me back to high school. For baby boomers, like me, the song is immediately recognizable after only the first TWO notes. The name of the tune is “Come and Get Your Love” and from the moment it was released I have loved it. Recently there has been a video floating around on the internet of a young father dancing his heart out to this song, dancing for the amusement and love of his baby boy. The baby grows to six years old and the father continues dancing for his little one, and anyone who happens to be close by, in his quirky, jerky fashion. Years pass and the father continues to publicly drop some serious dance moves, however, his son who is now in his late teens is embarrassed. In his 20’s, the advertisement shows the pair in a coffee shop, the father dancing to this same tune while the son positively shrinks in shame and maybe the smallest bit of condescension. Flash forward to years later, and the son calls his father on a smart phone. The song begins to play from the beginning and the son, cradling his own baby boy in his arms, dances for his father. And the father loves it! The thought occurred to me in the kitchen while swaying to the deep, bass notes, a big smile on my face, how my little brother, Tommy, is so like that quirky, goofy father in that advertisement. As members of the Wattley family, my three siblings and I, are… how shall I put it? Bohemian? Nonconformists? Off the wall? Certainly unconventional. My brother adores his two boys… adores them and is his happiest when entertaining or embarrassing them with song or dance. He cannot for the life of him take a decent selfie but that never stopped him. Struggling to take a selfie of himself while wearing an enormous gardening hat and pulling his teenage boy into the photo, his son exclaimed, “No means no, Dad!’ That just cracks me up. Haha. Many a time Tommy has been with his younger boy in a store or bank and has broken into dance and song while pointing to security cameras and crying out to his son, “Look! I’m on TV!” Why is it that embarrassing our kids brings us such happiness? Before his workday begins, Tommy drives miles and miles to get his boy to school and at the end of the day, he’ll get back into his truck and put in even more miles to take his younger son to basketball and tennis practices, games and matches. The days are often long and hard for my brother, as they are for all of us, but I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge his perseverance, his kind heartedness and his profound love of his boys. I salute you, Tomma!
What’s the connection between this dish and my baby brother? He’s crazy about curry. Crazy about it! We Wattleys enjoy a great piece meat every now and again but, more often than not, we lean toward plant based meals. This dish is right up our food and flavor alley. Spicy and well seasoned, curried lentils and potatoes satisfy both nutritional needs and flavor cravings. The dish is low in calories yet the potatoes fill the desire for carbs. It’s a pretty great meal. The spices are warm and savory yet a hint of sweetness is involved. Let me add the potatoes are simply out of this world. They sort of melt in your mouth. I can’t get enough so I often add more to the pot ensuring all get their fair share of the humble spud. I know the list of ingredients looks somewhat involved and extensive, however, all these ingredients are probably already in any curry-lover’s pantry. Feel free to add peas or baby lima beans to the pot toward the end of the cooking time for additional nutrients. Vegan and meat lovers alike enjoy this sexy, silky stew. Clean eating is once again brought to the forefront. Enjoy!
Curried Lentils & Potatoes
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons) olive oil
- 1 great, big onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 fat bunch scallions, sliced, any tough green tops discarded
- 1 thumb-size piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 5 tablespoons curry powder, I use a combination of curry powders found in the island section of Publix
- 5 cup of water or chicken broth, divided
- 2 BIG red skin potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cup dried, brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk, regular or reduced fat
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro leaves to garnish, optional
- In a large, deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent, stirring often.
- Add bell pepper, carrot, scallions, ginger, garlic and thyme. Stir well to coat all the vegetables with oil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add allspice, coriander and curry powder. Stir well to coat vegetables with spices.
- Add 4 cups water or broth, coconut milk, potatoes and lentils. Stir well.
- Taste for needed salt and pepper, cover and lower heat. Gently simmer for 35-40 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- If stew is too thick add 5th cup of water or broth. Stew will thicken as it cools so if you’d like more sauce add that last cup of liquid.
- Garnish with cilantro.