Vacation is over and I’ve returned to real life (the washing machine is running as I write this), but I have wonderful memories of our two weeks at the lake. On the food front, I’m really pleased that I did so much smart cooking at the cottage; not only did we eat out less than in the past, but we also ate much more healthfully.
What was so smart about it? I made a few easy recipes in big batches using some ingredients that I brought from home and others that I sourced at the grocery store in the nearby town or the fruit stand a few kilometres from where we stayed. I spent very little time at the stove, a good thing when on holiday. We actually only prepared meat once, our traditional arrival-night T-bone steak on the barbecue. The rest of the time, we ate vegetarian fare and indulged our carnivorous impulses when we went out to eat (or when the Culinary Enthusiast drove to the local take-away for burgers or sausage on a bun to eat on the beach).
Neither of us mind leftovers, and it was a snap to heat up a bowl of soup or chili that was waiting in the fridge. The lentils that I cooked were so versatile, and we enjoyed them in lots of salads as an ingredient or the main component. I also used the last of them to make another batch of the lentil cakes that I blogged about recently. In the spirit of a rerun, you can find the recipe here. Making the best of what I had on hand, I modified the recipe somewhat, using more chickpeas and fewer lentils, and also less onion but adding some finely chopped red pepper. I changed up the flavours with a half tablespoon of cumin, and about 3/4 cup in combined total of fresh mint, thyme and parsley (in other words, what I could find in the fridge).
Using a quarter-cup measure, I ended up with twelve delightful little patties that were still a satisfying size. We enjoyed them for lunches and dinners accompanied by simple side salads.
The CE said he liked these even more than the first batch I’d made at home, not just for the flavour, but also because they were crispier. I confess, that’s because I went down to the beach for a quick dip while they were in the oven and they baked about 10 minutes longer than I had intended. And that, I’m happy to say, turned out to be a very good thing!
I love to cook at home, but there’s something about food prepared in a simple kitchen and served outside in a beautiful setting that made our meals at the lake really special. I’m glad I’ll have these memories and photographs to revisit in the months ahead when I want to escape to the lake again, even if just in spirit.