This August, I’ll be coming up on the 1-year benchmark for posting regularly on this blog. I actually started the blog a year earlier, in 2010, but it took awhile to find my rhythm and figure out what I actually wanted this space to be. It took another three months or so to figure out what good photos and lighting could do for food shots. Remember the tomato cobbler? It’s probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in the past year, but back in September, I was still surmounting the steep learning curve of DSLR and coming to grips with the fact that Photoshop can’t transform harsh 70-watt overhead lighting into soft natural light. Now, all of my shots are done in natural day light with some thought to food styling and composition. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve made some good progress.
And then something like this red lentil dal comes along which absolutely resists having a good photograph taken. From any angle, it still looks like what it is: Red lentils cooked to bursting with some wiggly red onions and asparagus. The photos don’t help brag about the flavor, how the red lentils cook down to what turns out to be an excellent sauce for the asparagus and onions and how the Indian spice blend infuses the onions to perfection.
So without the help of photos, how can I convince you that you absolutely must make this recipe? That in the course of a few weeks, this dish has made many appearances on our dinner table, and it’s been a delight each time?
How about this: Once you buy the few spices needed which may not already be in your spice rack, this is one the absolute cheapest dinners you can cobble together, and you can do it again and again without needing to hit the grocery store each time. Continue reading