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Red Lentil Fingers

In January it was baklava and this past Saturday it was red lentil fingers (I can't recall the Turkish name of the dish). The friends that I made through the Multicultural Arch Foundation are still hosting cooking gatherings and each month I look forward to our time together. The dish we made this weekend is a combination of red lentils, bulgar, and a slew of veggies and seasonings.

Once everything is all mashed up together, you form little rolls (or "fingers") with your hands. My Turkish friends were grabbing the mixture with two hands, forming a little roll in each hand in about half a second, and then putting them both on the plate. They were trash talking each other about how slow the other person was and how much faster "my mom can roll the fingers..." It was hysterical.

You eat the lentil fingers wrapped in lettuce and they are so good! As always, our gathering is a full on Turkish feast via potluck. I recognized the colorful potato dish from our last gathering, only now it was in little individual bites instead of one huge cake. The rolls were also served last time, but this time there was a from-scratch apple pie tart thing and from-scratch simits (Turkish bagels). Yum-my.

Of course the meal was closed with tea...beautiful, rich, dark Turkish tea.

One of the women just celebrated her first Valentine's Day and while admitting that she didn't understand all the candy and flowers, she liked the idea of "making a special time to express love to everyone in your life, not just to your darling." She gave us all a ceramic plaque, each with a different saying on it, and a card with a quotation about love written inside. She found sayings from religious leaders and secular scholars all over the world, everyone from Gandhi to Fethullah Gulen, Gordon Hinckley to the Pope, poetry, sonnets, and more. When she gave us each our card it was her way of "recognizing that everyone is similar and wants peace and love." Beautiful. This was the statement in my card:

Only those who overflow with love will build the happy and enlightened world of the future. Their lips smiling with love, their hearts brimming with love, their eyes radiating love and the most tender human feelings - such are the heroes of love who always receive messages of love from the rising and setting of the sun and from the flickering light of the stars.
(Fethullah Gulen)

Turkish Tea Set

Consumption is an ethical issue