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Mis en Place; a way of life

As we brace for quarantine we can find order in the kitchen.

Hello everyone! My name is Justin West and I am the new Chief of Culinary Operations here at Pure Joy Catering. I am so happy to be added to the roster here with this insane team of detail oriented professionals. After 12 years of owning restaurants here in Santa Barbara (Julienne, Wildwood Kitchen & Soul Cal Smokehouse) I am happy to be in an environment where my skills and knowledge can be directly applied to what I am best at, cooking.

What a time to come aboard here too! Just when we were getting ready to ramp up for event season and then.... COVID-19. This is a difficult time for all of us. But I believe food is a big part of how you get through this and it is my goal to give you as much motivation as possible to crush it in the kitchen during quarantine.

As you can imagine we have experienced some event postponements. Well, I thought I would use this free time to share some tips, ideas and recipes with you to spice up your meal plans.

Since this is my first blog post I am going to keep it short and sweet with this one idea for Lentils. This is an adaptation to Rice Pilaf. Grocery store was sold out of rice (every last grain) and I immediately remembered this bag of Red Lentils I had picked up from Ojai Valley Sprouts at the Saturday Farmers Market.

Coconut Lentil Pilaf

I start by sautéing the mirepoix (onion, celery & carrot) in a couple TBSP of Olive Oil. Then I add the garlic and the ginger.

Then I add the lentils and sauté those for a minute. This step here is why I call this "Pilaf" style because this is a step you would follow in that process.

After a brief sauté I add the coconut milk (I don't usually get the lite, but again, the grocery store was pretty sold out) and I continue to cook until the lentils are soft.

**A note about these lentils.

these lentils are from Ojai Valley Sprouts at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. They have a wide variety of sprouted legumes and seeds, in addition to actual sprouts. These particular lentils cook very fast and are great to eat with a little toothsomeness. If you are using dried lentils you will want to double the liquid (Water or chicken stock or another can of coconut milk)

Tonight I am going to eat these with Curried Tofu and Vegetables. But they are great with just about anything light; fish, pork or chicken. Or with some simple wilted greens.

Stay tuned with us as we cook our way through quarantine!

Thanks for reading! - Justin West - Chief of Culinary Operations at Pure Joy Catering

Coconut Lentil Pilaf

1/2 Cup Yellow Onion, Small Dice

1/4 Cup Celery, Small Dice

1/4 Cup Carrot, Small Dice

1 Clove Garlic, Sliced

1" Ginger, Small Dice

1 Can Coconut Milk

1# Sprouted Red Lentils


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