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How to Make Red Lentil Dhal and Bolognese at the Same Time

Now that my two-year old, Pinta, is sleeping better (fingers crossed on that one), I find myself more well rested, but busier in the kitchen. When she was an infant and through her first year, she was in the habit of waking at 5:00 in the morning. That is, when she was feeling generous. Other times, she’d wake at 4:30. It was the roughest eighteen months of my life. Memory loss being a symptom of sleep deprivation, I’m still not sure how I managed with so little shut eye.

During those long and dark mornings I retreated to the stove. I own much of my culinary development to Pinta, who I used to supervise by handing dull kitchen implements, stacking containers, spoons, and just about anything that wasn’t dangerous. She would sit and play with them as I cooked, and cooked, and cooked.

These days, she doesn’t typically wake until 6:30, or so. (We owe our sanity to an excellent counselor, Jean, at the Soho Parenting center. I suggest that anyone with a similar situation seek them out immediately.)

With less time awake in the morning, I have to cook faster. I’m getting better at it. It took me an hour this morning to knock off two of my signature dishes, the red-lentil dhal and a huge pot of Bolognese sauce.

Still, I’m considering getting a food processor in the hopes of increasing my speed. I’ve never worked with one before. Anyone have any suggestions about what to look for when buying one?

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