Dal with Vegetables

26 01 2012

Well I just booked a luxury suite at the EconoLodge in beautiful Groton, Connecticut. It comes equipped with desk and lamp. For only fifty dollars!!! Mmmmm lamp. I have no idea what Groton is like or what smells to expect from this motel, but I’m sure it will be a welcome place to lay our heads after me and my friend get back from seeing Motorhead/Megadeth at the Mohegan Sun Casino this Friday. Mmmm Lemmy and gambling.

I wanted to get in at least one new recipe this week so I decided on this one, though it’s very similar to one that I blogged about from the same book a few months back, the lentil bhuja casserole. This has a lot of the same great flavors, minus having to make thousands of infuriating fried lentil balls that would not hold together in oil.

Cauliflower in a creamy tomato sauce is out of this world and the other vegetables just melt in your mouth; a real easy to throw together dinner that you can pack for lunch throughout the rest of the week. I’m going to try stuffing it into some pita bread tomorrow.

Dal with Vegetables
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

2/3 cup yellow lentils (or just brown ones…)
2/3 cup red lentils
1 tb. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tb. fenugreek seeds
2 tsps. ground cumin
2 tsps. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
2 carrots, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
5 1/2 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup whipping cream

Rinse the lentils separetely under cold water until the water runs clear, then drain well. If you’re using yellow lentils, place them in a small bowl, cover with water and leave to stand for 30 minutes, then drain well. If you’re using brown lentils, move right along to the next step.

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add all of the lentils, tomatoes, and stock, stirring well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the carrot and cauliflower, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, covered for a further 5-10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the vegetables are cooked.

Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like, serve with some chopped, fresh cilantro and naan bread.

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Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions

18 01 2012

My mother eats quinoa for dinner pretty much every day of the week. She’s one of those Dr. Oz health-conscious types; clinging to every word he says about wheat berries, fish oil, whatever it may be. Now I know these things are great for you, but I don’t need it indoctrinated into me by some television health guro who resembles a cross between grown-up Eddie Munster and a legit vampire.

Anyways. Quinoa. It’s a dinner staple for her. Quinoa with a green and a protein; the blandness meal on the planet. In truth, it has made me loathe quinoa. I think of it as the flavorless, boring mans meal. It tastes like air and it makes me envision myself being trapped in some cruel hell of having to eat the same food every day. I would rather be shark bait.

I came across this recipe while looking for a way to use up some leftover scallions and decided to give the ancient grain a chance, and ya know, I actually liked it! Quinoa adds a lot of body to the soup and I can imagine it adding it to pretty much any kind of veggie soup. The broth is flavored using just the quinoa cooking water, but emits a real smooth and earthy flavor, very similar to a chicken stock. The tangy feta and sweet pops of corn make every bite a flavorful surprise…in your mouth!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed well
2 tbs. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 bunches scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 lb. feta cheese, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach, corn and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped egg and some more crumbled feta.