I love New York City and every time I drive in I’m energized. It’s a city like no other; a melting pot of cultures, languages, music, food, art, and theatre. There is always something new to discover and that thrill spices up my day!
Summer in NY is fantastic - the city is less crowded, it’s easier to get restaurant reservations, and it’s beautiful to eat and drink outdoors in gardens and rooftops. Even though I admire art, I hardly ever visit museums. With my kids being away, I took a day this week as an opportunity to explore the Whitney museum in the Meatpacking district. It’s a beautiful, newly constructed structure - modern and simplistic. I went with a friend who is studying to get a masters in Art History, and she helped me understand the art exhibits from a different angle. Perspective in anything is so important. It is fascinating how two people can look at the same thing and perceive it in a completely different lens.
In one of the exhibits, the museum juxtaposes works that are made by famous artists along with those made by relatively newer ones. I thought this was interesting because it helped me look at the works with a different perspective. It struck me that art and food are so related in that way. A dish can taste so different even if the recipe is the same simply because it’s made by two different people. Each cook puts something inherently unique of themselves into that dish. As Thomas Keller rightly says, “A recipe has no soul; you, as the cook must bring the soul to the recipe.”
One specific piece that stirred deep emotions was a sculpture of a man made of wax with a wick on the top of his head. Each morning the wax man is lit and burns until the end of the evening. As the days progress, a portion of this man disappears. And within a few days, that sculpture will burn out with nothing but a memory left of him. This invoked in me the understanding that life and death are a never ending cycle. Just like another wax statue can be made, a life will get reborn and once it has lived its course, it will die again. However, the soul or art can never die because it is eternal. Food is art to me. I revel in the fact that even though once a meal is eaten it is gone, but the memories we create while enjoying that meal together will forever stay in our hearts.
Protein Packed Green Lentil Salad
¼ cup french green lentils, cooked
1 small red onion, diced small
1 cup sliced leeks
5 champagne mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup cooked corn kernels
½ Tbsp butter (x 2)
½ garlic, minced
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp basil chiffonade
1 tsp rosemary, minced
1 tsp thyme, minced
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
⅛ tsp red chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
In a glass jar add all the ingredients, close the jar and shake well.
Heat ½ Tbsp butter in a vessel. Saute the red onions till they begin to caramelize. Empty the onions in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan heat ½ Tbsp butter and cook the mushrooms on high heat for two minutes.
Add the garlic and leeks and cook again till the mushrooms have acquires a golden color.
Add the cooked corn kernels, lentils, and onions and give it a quick stir. Remove from heat.
Add the spinach, salad dressing and all the herbs and mix well before serving.