For the first time in years, I’m worried about my grade. Botany class is kicking my ass. Yes, a freshman entry-level course is really difficult for me. I’m not good with science, which is why I put off taking this gen-ed requirement until my very last semester. I can look at cells under a microscope all day and not learn a goddamn thing. This is why scientists amaze me.
So I don’t understand cells or science or microscopes or xylem or phloem. But I understand food. I understand that carotenoids are compounds that make vegetables like carrots orange and are a good source of vitamin A. I understand that peppers contain capsaicin, which is meant to ward off little critters from eating them, but in small doses is really tasty to humans. I can understand that the stew that I just made is a botanical marvel of many different plants: it contains roots, bulbs, grains, leaves, grasses, and even fruits. (That is: carrots, onions, quinoa, basil, wild rice, and lentils.) I know that by combining a variety of high-protein grains and legumes, and adding certain other herbs and vegetables, I can make myself a tasty dinner.
But good Lord, just don’t ask me to write a lab report about it.
Lentil, Quinoa and Wild Rice Stew
Two to three tablespoons wild rice
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup quinoa
1 jalapeno, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups soup stock (I used chicken bullion, actually)
Assorted spices: I used pepper, Italian seasoning, and chopped fresh basil
In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of oil and saute your onion. Meanwhile, dice up your other vegetables. Chuck your vegetables into the pot, give it a stir, and add your water/soup stock and bring it to a boil. Rinse the wild rice and stick ’em in. Let the wild rice simmer in there by itself for about 10 minutes. Then rinse your lentils and quinoa and add ’em in. Add in a few dashes of spices and the white wine. Cover tightly and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Check your stew, taste, add more spices as needed. When lentils are tender, it’s done! I topped this with torn basil leaves and some plain yogurt.