Monday, December 31, 2012

Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

Savory cinnamon dishes are delightful, especially in winter. I got this recipe from a cookbook my grandmother gave me, Complete Vegetarian Cuisine by Rose Elliot.


  • 1 large onion -- chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves -- minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (optional)
  • 8 ounces red lentils -- washed
  • 15 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups water -- or use up to 1/2 cup red wine and the rest water
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces pasta. The original recipe calls for tagliatelle verde (spinach pasta.) I prefer linguine myself, when I can't find tagliatelle verde.


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, cinnamon, and optional herbs and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. If you're using wine, add it to the pan at this time, stir, and let it come to a simmer. Then add the lentils, tomatoes, and water and bring to the boil. Let the mixture simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. I recommend pureeing the sauce at this point, especially if you have a stick blender which makes pureeing so convenient. The truth is that although this recipe calls for 1/2 pound of pasta I usually go ahead and cook a whole pound. Pureeing the sauce makes it go further.
  4. Around the end of step 2, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta.

How to Make Happy Pasta

I was recently watching an Italian cooking show, and the woman said that the reason Italians cook their pasta al dente is that they add the pasta to the sauce and let it cook for another minute or so, absorbing the flavor. This is a good idea. Another good idea which I heard on another cooking show is to take a small amount of the pasta cooking water (after the pasta has been cooked) and add it to the sauce. The pasta cooking water has starch in it which helps to thicken the sauce. It's especially nice in a recipe like this one, because lentils are good at absorbing extra water.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Fear of Coming Out

So there's this guy who blogs about being the single father of an adopted child. I read something by him once, probably a post titled "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay," but I don't really follow him. Then I saw that he had come out as bisexual and I decided to read his coming-out post.
You see, I’ve never wanted to be anything other than straight. Since I was eleven years old, I’ve been desperate to only be attracted to those of the opposite sex. I’ve masked and obscured any feeling I’ve ever felt that threatened my place within the realm of what I’ve been coached is both normal and acceptable.
Much of what he says resonates with me. For example, he started his blog, which is fairly popular, after his second wife left him because she thought he was gay:
I started this blog as a way to save myself from myself. As a way to force myself to laugh again. As a way to maintain some sort of normalcy. And yes, even as a way to protect me from ever having to be anything other than straight.
I started my first blog shortly after coming out to myself as trans. At that time I had no intention of ever telling anyone else. I wasn't scared exactly, but looking back now I think it's significant that I started writing again around that time. It was a time for new beginnings. (I didn't start writing my trans blog until three years later.)

When Dan Pearce wrote his "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay" post, he said in it that he was not gay.
I certainly wasn’t lying to you. To lie, a person has to both know and believe a truth and then present it contrarily. I didn’t know and believe the truth. Not yet. In 32 years, I hadn’t even once been able to allow myself a truly open and honest thought about it all.
Now he's afraid that people will treat him differently. That his sister will no longer let him be alone with her children. That his parents will reject him. He knows his life will never be the same. I want to tell him that after the first shock, he'll discover that he's the same person he always was. That anything is better than living a lie - and he knows that, otherwise he wouldn't have come out. I can't tell him that everything will be all right. But it will be better.