Lentils find their way onto so many of those lists of foods we SHOULD be eating but in my house, shoulds are widely ignored. We eat what we crave, and finding ways to make lentils craveable was easier than I ever expected. Over the last year, I've fallen in love with the lowly lentil. From Mujadara (brown lentils, wild rice and caramelized onions) to Moong Dal (yellow lentil soup with carrots and potatoes) to my new favorite Spicy Red Lentil Soup. The pop of fresh herbs and the bite of hot peppers elevate this red lentil soup to a whole new level.
06 Jul 2012
In early June, we had lunch with friends at Santa Cruz Diner. The place is famous for its huge portions, relatively low prices and the diversity of its menu. This time 'round, I ordered their coconut curry chicken soup and I've been craving another bowl of it it ever since. I found a simple recipe for a coconut curry sauce and used it as base for my soup.
14 oz. coconut milk1 tsp curry powder 1 tsp Turmeric ¼ tsp sea salt
Toss all four ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken when it cools. I made my sauce the day before I was going to try the soup and simply refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I poached a chicken breast (simmering, not boiling water, which will tend to make the meat tough) and par-boiled a sliced potato and three carrots, chopped into large chunks. I emptied the container of curry sauce into the soup pot and added the following:
20 May 2012
I'm not supposed to tell you that this lentil soup (dal) is healthy. Kathy says that doing so will somehow rob it of its yumminess. And it IS yummy. Addictively so. Within 24-hours of whipping up that first pot, I had to make another. A cross between Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup in its comfort-food factor, this Indian staple was an immediate family favorite and will be in your house too. Served on its own or with a full meal, it will steal the show.
Yellow Lentils (Masoor Dal) are high in both protein and fiber and this super-simple soup is a perfect way to do something nice for your body without sacrificing taste. The flavor is mild enough that you can mix it up and add or substitute your favorite flavors. Spinach instead of cilantro or a drizzle of Sriracha on top. The possibilities only end at the bottom of your bowl. And as Kathy would tell you, having gotten over the "Healthy" hurdle, don't knock it until you've tried it and licked your bowl clean. (Recipe Below)
09 May 2012
I was thirteen when I ate my first bagel. At the time, my mother worked for an Optometrist and we received invitations to a brunch at his Temple. There, we were presented with a bountiful display of gloriously unfamiliar foodstuffs. Among them was a basket of bagels, already halved and nestled in beside a tray of toppings.
Oh what what what is this wonderful dense bready thing? And this brilliant cheese which spreads so creamy on top? You don't say! You can have your sweets, dear children, your donuts and muffins and coffee cakes. Just leave this basket of glory alone because it's me and these bagels and philly from here on out.
At eighteen, on a trip to San Francisco, I was treated to my first fresh-baked bagel, sprinkled with a flurry of Kosher salt flakes. I don't remember much about that trip, beyond the fierceness with which I clutched that bag of bagels on the drive home. Bagel-making is an art form and there are as many different schools of thought on the process as there are ways to flavor your bounty. The one thing all serious bagel aficionados can agree upon is that Real Bagels Are Boiled. New York and Montreal-Style (smaller and sweeter) bagels have been duking it for top honors for quite some time, but both originated in Poland with references as far back at the 16th century and arrived in the Americas via Jewish immigrants. I cannot thank them enough for that glorious gift.
I'm not going to post my bagel-making process here in its entirety but will direct you to some of the best basic bagel recipes on the web and let you in on the super-secret ingredients for my all-time-favorite variety: the Sun-Dried Tomato Bagel.
26 Apr 2012
There is something seriously comforting about stew on a rainy day, but for the longest tme, the only stew in my repitore was the standard beef and potatoes. In an effort to branch out, decrease our meat intake and increase the diversity of the vegetables we consume, I plucked a Moroccan vegetable stew from one of our cookbooks and tinkered with it a bit. The result is this Rockin' Moroccan Stew, chock-full of root vegetables, plumped up with chickpeas for protien and sprinkled with spices because, a little spice makes everything better. The recipe is super simple and from start to finish takes less than an hour to prepare. I serve it as a main course, but it would also make a great side and a tasty way to get more veggies onto the plate. You can mix and match your root veggies, use raisins or dried plums if you don't like figs, and up the heat by doubling the amount of crushed red peppers. (Recipe Follows)