Last night it was Matt's turn to cook, and upon request he served up one of his signature dishes -- and one of my personal favorites -- lentil dhaal. Matt learned somewhere that "dhaal" translates as "lentil,": hence, the dish's name, "lentil lentil."
He's never taught me the recipe, though I know it involves lentils, a red onion, garlic, chopped kale, and significant turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper. In the past, he's married everything together with a generous helping of coconut milk out of a can, but we've been unable to find any canned coconut milk without additives like guar gum. We considered purchasing a whole coconut and doing our best with that, but settled on the following box, discovered at Whole Foods:
The only ingredient listed is organic coconut, which swayed us to "do... organic" here, but as I post this photo I'm having a little trouble persuading myself that this is totally on the up and up. It is a box of dehydrated, powdered coconut ... does it really count as a whole food?
I guess it depends on what I'm trying to do this year. If I'm trying to avoid manufactured foods entirely, I may well starve, as suggested here. And I have to assume that a box containing only coconut grown organically, devoid of guar gum or anything else, is at least a step in the right direction.
And since we're following Pollan's Food Rule #63 here (namely, "COOK"), I think it's probably going to be okay...
The dish came out a little drier with the dehydrated coconut (just mixed with a little warm water) than the creamy coconut milk, but was, in my opinion, infinitely the tastier; the powder imparted a stronger coconut flavor, adding a tinge of sweetness to the spice. (Calorie counters beware, though: we only realized after the fact that using a whole box of the stuff had imparted about 1,500 calories worth of delicious coconut flavor...)
As a final note, you may have noticed the bottle in the background. Matt and I have especially taken to heart Food Rule #43: Have a glass of wine with dinner.
That is a very, very good rule.