Saturday, July 23, 2011

Antique Wooden Spoons and A French Recipe

In a way, one of my favorite recipes is a souvenir from Paris. I first had this spiced lentil dish in a cafe in the Marais district called the Du Sergent. I had never had lentils served this way before and was impressed with its simple deliciousness. I couldn't get enough of it.

Not long afterwards I discovered the recipe that has become a sort of tradition in our household, and never fails to remind me of the wonderful experiences associated with it.


The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library of cookbooks in Festive Entertaining. And the simple dish really does make an occasion feel festive. It's also very easy to prepare.

I brought home my paper placemat from the cafe as a souvenir. It's on a heavier weight paper more like a museum poster, and was easy to roll up and transport in my suitcase. (Believe me, I have done wierder things.)

I also bought a small Vietri bowl when I got back home especially for serving lentils in which is quite like the one in which they were served in the cafe. So you can see what a sort of big deal I made over it all. We'll always have Paris.

I also recently came across these wonderful antique wooden spoons that have a fabulous patina and that are now part of my kitchen antiques collection.

Ladle handle detail.

These very soft all cotton towel/napkins are currently at Potterybarn 4/16.00. You'll be seeing a lot of them here on the blog. They come in a couple more stripe colors.

In a deep saucepan, combine the lentils and bay leaf. Add water to cover by 3 inches (7.5 cm) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the salt, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm. Green lentils can take as few as 15 minutes, so keep testing. When the lentils are done, drain well and place in a bowl. Add the 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) olive oil and the lemon juice, toss well, and set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and saute until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and lemon zest and continue to saute until the garlic is soft and the flavors are blended, 2-3 minutes longer.

 Add the cooked onion mixture to the lentils and mix well. Fold in the mint and season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6.

*For the best texture, make this dish no more than several hours in advance. If you make it ahead, fold in half of the mint, then add the rest just before serving.

Bon Appetit!

I hope you have a delicious weekend!
Ciao! for now!


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  1. Those wooden spoons remind me of my mom. That was all she used when I was little. The lentils looks so good. I never liked them as a kid but I love lentil soup now!

  2. Love lentils and may just have to whip that up soon. Great old spoons and thanks for the PB info. I love those and can always use more linens.

  3. Love the lentils, the recipe sounds fabulous. I will definitely give these a try. Your bowl is wonderful and the spoons and towels are fabulous. I also really like the demijohn. Hugs, Marty

  4. In all my trips to paris I can't say I remember seeing that soup? How interesting. Love your vintage spoons!

  5. The recipe sounds delicious, Jacqueline! The mint surprises me but probably makes the dish!


  6. Hi J,
    Mmmm... I love lentils and this sounds so good, the twist of mint is intriguing, and it's so abundant right now... I can't wait to try it! Lovin those spoons too... cool hook detail!

  7. A perfect post. Beautiful and inspiring.

  8. Wow, and such a simple recipe at that! I just picked up a couple of old wooden spoons as well. Love 'em.
    'hugs from afar'

  9. I love having things that remind me of favorite travels and if food is involved . . . even better.


  10. Love lentils and the old wooden spoons... a true French kitchen!

  11. Jacqueline~ You certainly know how to take lovely photos and arrange everything so well in the shots! A joy to see the spoons, bowl, & linens the way you shoot them! Thank you for including the recipe...we love lentils.:)

  12. I love the Marais district and will definately stay there again when I go back to Paris. The lentils look delicious and the photos are glorious. Wonderful napkins and spoons.

  13. Love those spoons and I must try this recipe ~ it sounds wonderful ;-)

  14. I bookmarked the yummy looking recipe! Thanks for sharing! The linens and spoons are wonderful!

  15. I bookmarked this recipe. Thanks for posting it! I've got to check out those P.B. towels as well!

  16. I love that you took the placemat home, that would be something I would do!

  17. I made a batch of the lentils today...they are delicious! I substituted onion powder for the sauteed onions because of a hubby who doesn't like onion pieces in his food, and it was still great :)

  18. Sounds yummy! I love lentils any way and the addition of the mint really set it apart. Gotta try it, THANKS!

  19. Jacqueline,
    Oh, la~la! I love lentils! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Your antique wooden spoons are gorgeous, dear. I've been eyeing those same linens from Pottery Barn with the red stipe for my French Country kitchen. Time will tell!

  20. Jacqueline, This earthy and spicy dish will be one of my favorites, I am sure! Your post is so rich and "french" and comforting!
    Beautiful and inspiring!
    Thank you for joining ON THE MENU MONDAY. YOu bring the OH LA LA to all of us!!!
    xo Yvonne


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