It’s tough getting to the end of the regular season. If you’re a fan of an AFC team and your team hasn’t made the playoffs, you’re watching this weekend to see if your team ends on a high-note or with a high draft pick. For fans of NFC teams, this weekend revolves around Washington-Dallas, which is pretty much everyone’s nightmare. Or perhaps you’re a fan of raging garbage fires and are interested in seeing if the flames coming out of Ralph Wilson Stadium will reach the upper atmosphere.
In some ways though, a lazy Week 17 is a relief. Fantasy football is pretty much done aside of pick’em leagues and poorly run leagues which have their championship this weekend, so there isn’t the stress of starting Matt Ryan over RG III up until kickoff. There’s also something to be said for just watching Oakland-San Diego and seeing what shakes loose instead of Bengals-Ravens or Texans-Colts, four teams playing to avoid injury while not giving away their playoff playbooks.
Personally, I’m looking forward to an easy weekend of football. We’ve been traveling for nearly two weeks now; cross-country flights, 12 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a snow storm, going to the symphony, tailgating with my fantasy league and a hockey blogger in a Santa beard, cooking for my family, cooking for my in-laws, multiple bar outings with friends which — even as I type this post — have left my stomach and my head spinning. (It’s tough keeping up with Ape’s drinking, but I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. Apes are known for having quality livers.) I had planned on making one last spread of the season, but instead I think I’m to make something easy this Sunday to snack on. Crostini it is.
Warm Lentil Crostini
This is a recipe I passed on to Unsilent a few weeks ago for a party he was throwing over the holidays, after I had a version of it at an annual drunken sleepover with my girlfriends. Tricia had it at party before ours, but we all agreed the recipe needed to lighten up on the tomato and the feta and would be better served warm. (A quick internet search showed the original version of this mix popped up as dip on a few mommy blogs, sites I tend to avoid because, well, I’m not a mommy and the “model family” writing beat skeeves me out just a bit. Plus I once had a run-in with a mommy blogger who told me I didn’t understand the stress of cooking for a family. Don’t understand the stress of cooking for a family? Cooking for dozen hungry drinking football fans, omnivores, vegetarians, vegans with the clock ticking down so I actually don’t miss any of the game? Making a fantasy trade during the free thirty seconds before taking a bubbling dip out of the oven? Lady, that’s stress.)
Why bother with the tweaking? What I liked about this mix is that it lets the meatiness of the lentils shine through, filling without weighing the stomach down. The saltiness of the feta with the touch of tang from the garlic and tomatoes rounded out nicely once heated, great with both a porter and a hoppy IPA.
Look for steamed lentils in the refrigerator case, usually by the packaged sprouts and vacuum-packed items and mushrooms. Look for fresh bruschetta in the same area or in the dip section of your local grocery store, but if they don’t have it, you can use jarred in its place or make your own omitting the mozzarella cheese from this recipe I posted a few years ago. If you don’t want to go through the bother of toasting bread for crostini, I’ve found in the few times I tested out this recipe it works just as well on a plain sliced baguette or tortilla chips.
You will need:
1 package prepared steamed lentils,
1/2-1 cup prepared bruschetta topping
1/2 cup crumbled feta, about 2 ounces of feta
1 baguette, sliced and toasted with a touch of olive oil
In a small skillet, heat the lentils and bruschetta topping over medium low heat until the lentils have absorbed most of the oil and the water has steamed off, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Once warm, gently fold in the crumbled feta until it just starts to melt and then stop. Either place in a large bowl with a serving spoon for people to top their own crostini or plate each piece individually.
Serves 4-6 as a snack or a side.
I’ll admit, this is a nothing but a shortcut recipe, but again, we’re all tired from the holidays. Playoffs are here. Need to save the big stuff for my annual 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes extravaganza.