August 20, 2011

"L" is for Lentils and your Local Library

Ah….the National Lentil Festival.  What a wonderful event.  I am a “foodie” through and through.  So a two-day party to celebrate one particular ingredient is my idea of a grand time!  Every year I come away from this event inspired by the culinary talents on display as the Palouse celebrates its famous lentil.  And, as usual, my inspirations and interests lead me to my local library.  What, you might ask, do lentils and libraries have in common?  Read on legume-lovers!

Over the years, I have developed quite a collection of tried and true lentil recipes.  Many of these recipes were taken from books I checked out at Neill Public Library.  Books like The Pea and Lentil Cookbook by USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, Lentil and Split Pea Cookbook by Merilee Frets and  Local Flavors:  Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by vegetarian guru Deborah Madison.

My newest favorite recipe however, comes not from a book but from the husband of one of our library employees.  Executive Chef Jeff Wold has worked for WSU since 1984. Chef Wold’s creation of the Palouse Chocolate Lentil Cake has, for me, validated the use of lentils as a serious dessert ingredient.  Folks, this is the happiest marriage between chocolate and lentils that I’ve ever…well….eaten.  And Chef Wold receives his lentils from a local sustainable farmers group called Columbia Plateau Producers.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  With his permission, I now share his recipe with you.


Lest you think lentils can only be used as a cooking ingredient, I can tell you from experience that they make great pie weights too.  Actually, lentils are very versatile.  They are great for craft projects, science projects, used in beauty care and as a sleep aid.  Have I piqued your curiosity?  Excellent.  Consider visiting your local library today for assistance with these and all your informational needs. 
by Joanna Bailey
Temporary Library Services Manager
published 8/20/2011 in Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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