A day without ‘watch fiends’

A day without ‘watch fiends’

My favorite poet, William Blake, wrote, “There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find / Nor can his Watch Fiends find it.”

A day off in the middle of the week is like that – no “Watch Fiends,” which I like to think means clocks or a tight schedule. A day when you’re free to do anything, or nothing, at all.

As I write this, the fight in Gaza is still raging, but I hope to give myself, tomorrow, a day away from upsetting news – although I fervently hope that Israel will knock Hamas three ways to Sunday. I would think a fair number of Palestinians feel that way as well, for Hamas is the true author of their misery.

Meanwhile I plan to browse in old (and new) books and to cook one of my favorite noshes. Here’s the recipe, stolen from a magazine – I no longer remember which, so I can’t give credit. Warning: It’s somewhat labor-intensive and the ingredients list is long.

Warm Spiced Lentils

Note: You can serve this dish with pita wedges, but I prefer naan. Make sure not to overcook the lentils, or they will split and their texture will suffer. Substitute red or yellow lentils, if you prefer. Also, remember to rinse lentils first – dirt and small stones may be among them.


1 cup petite green lentils

1 small onion, peeled

4 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

1 (2-inch) lemon rind strip

1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil

3/4 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped seeded tomato

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 lemon wedges


Place lentils in a large saucepan, and cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Stud whole onion with cloves. Add studded onion, bay leaves, and rind to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Drain well. Discard onion, bay leaves, and rind.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chopped red onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato and the next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 2 minutes. Stir in lentils, cilantro, and parsley; cook 2 minutes. Stir in juice, salt, and black pepper. Serve warm with lemon wedges.

8 servings (serving size: about 1/3 cup lentil mixture and 1 lemon wedge)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 112(17% from fat); FAT 2.1g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g); IRON 2.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.2g; SODIUM 152mg; PROTEIN 7.4g; FIBER 8.2g