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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Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup

28 09 2011

The main reason I chose to make this soup, minus the fact that it harnesses some great autumn veggies, also minus the fact that I had some tahini kicking around in the fridge… was that in the cookbook picture, it looked so creamy, like a spiced pumpkin puree.

I had just spent the night at a friends grandparents house out in Chemsford, MA and part of dinner was a pumpkin soup that was so yummy and had the same texture that I was dying for; the kind where you can swirl imprints with your spoon that will hold just long enough. Sadly, my soup didn’t turn out that way. Maybe I didn’t use enough squash, or too much broth. Maybe I’ll just keep blaming myself. Stupid stupid stupid. Maybe I’m a victim of metric system conversions. The book was published in Australia.

Either way, it’s a thinner soup than expected, but don’t let that deter you. It has a mellow, sweet flavor with the occasional hint of hotness. If I made it again, I would add some roasted garlic and some herbs, I’m thinking sage.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 tb. olive oil
1 long red chili, seeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tb. tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the chili, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Reduce the heat to low, add the squash and sweet potato, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, put the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Process the soup in batches in a blender, add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and gently reheat. Season to tase. Serve garnished with chili.





Lentil Bhuja Casserole

7 03 2011

I’ve taken a crappy picture. I haven’t been updating. I know this. But last night, I decided, I love food, I love these recipes so much and I love getting other people excited about food, so no matter how difficult it is, or how little free time I have, or how damn lazy I feel, I will update. Hoo rah.

This update almost didn’t happen though. And this recipe almost got chalked up to the list of my recent food failures that have gotten angrily hurled out the back sliding door and into the yard (Yogurt muffins, parsnip pancakes). If you can suffer through, and yes, you will suffer, the difficulties of making these sticky little lentil balls, I promise you that it will be well worth the looming threat of a food-induced panic attack. Anyone else get these when a recipe goes wrong? My boyfriend has stories.

After being refrigerated, they will stick together a little bit more and will hold up in the oil as they fry into crispy goodness. But don’t be disappointed if they start to fall apart a bit in the sauce. Lentil balls or lentil mush, the dish is superb. Many different layers of flavor, but doesn’t become overwhelming. Instead, it’s all mellowed out with the creamy tomato sauce. The carrots melt in your mouth and the lentils are extremely filling and satisfying.

Here’s a giant space cat.

Lentil Bhuja Casserole
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 large onion
1 large all-purpose potato
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tb. ginger, grated
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup whipping cream
7 oz. green beans, trimmed
2 carrots, sliced
Pita bread, for serving

Put the lentils in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight. Drain well and place in a bowl.

Grate the onion and potato, place in a clean dish towel and squeeze to remove any excess moisture. Add to the lentils, along with the spices and flour. Mix well. Using dry hands (OK, this is the most aggravating thing ever. Your hands MUST be dry. Even if that means washing/drying hands after each ball. Or, you can use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture, and just wipe it down with a towel after each one.) roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place on a foil-lined tray. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat about an inch of oil in a pan. Add the lentil balls in small batches and fry over high heat for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Heat another 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium heat for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato puree, stock and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the lentil balls, beans and carrots. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Serve hot with pita bread.





Lentil Burgers

27 01 2011

When I’m not too busy sleeping in late, I do other things, like write a food column for a Cape Cod news site. For this weeks column, I originally intended to write a fluffy piece on homemade veggie burgers. I’ve been out of town for a few days. Picking up my boyfriends mothers dog to bring home to the Cape and dog-sit for a week. Here’s LucyWhich has led to most of my brain space being devoted to preventing our cat Ché (AKA El Gato, The General, there he is below, taking up the whole damn counter) from hunting and killing this mini chihuahua. We’ve been watching over Lucy like she’s the president and we’re secret service. So it has come down to the night before my column is due. I’ll just write about veggie burgers. I’ll make these lentil burgers that I made a while back, snag a photo, boom dee doom. But while writing my article, I get stuck on a political tangent about how so many organic food brands are actually owned by agribusiness giants and disgusting corporations. AKA:  Boca owned by Kraft, ConAgra owning Fakin Bacon, etc.

So what was originally a pretty basic article has become a diatribe against these corporations, calling them out by name, citing cases in which they fought against labelling GM-foods. And now I’m wondering if my editor is even going to publish this. I’m sure I could drop a note to her saying that if necessary, all politics can be cut from the piece, and the readers will be left with a cute lil’ article on makin bean burgers. But that’s why I’m drinking limeade and vodka now, because I’d hate to take a pussy compromise on things that matter. Oh, and because it’s Wednesday.

Here are my infamous lentil burgers. Even my boyfriend likes them and he ate about 8 Tyson’s chicken patties today.

Lentil Burgers
Adapted from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah
½ cup dry lentils
1 bay leaf
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tb. olive oil
1 ½ tbs. peanut butter
2 ½ tbs. ketchup
½ tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. parsley
dash of salt
dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 cup dry bread crumbs

Cover the lentils with water in a saucepan and simmer with the bay leaf for about 30 minutes. Once cooked, drain the lentils and throw out the bay leaf.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, then place all of your ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 15 seconds.

Pour contents in a large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs. Form into patties and cook in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat until the center is firm and the patties are slightly browned. Serve with all your favorite burger fixins!





Pizza Bombay

16 01 2011

This is less a pizza, but more an Indian flatbread. In place of raita, we smothered it in yogurt. Delicious. In place of wine, for the romantic dinner Ryan and I made, we stole a bottle of Sweet Rose Korbel from our landlords. Nothing like a pink champagne to accentuate some curry on the palate.

But really, this “pizza” is great. I’m addicted to nan anytime I’m out at an Indian restaurant, so to add some lentils and spinach to it and make nan the whole meal, top notch! Here we are chowing down on romantic curry night.

Pizza Bombay
Adapted from Vegan Planet

1 tb. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tb. curry powder
1 10 oz. bag of spinach, chopped
1 cup cooked brown lentils, drained
1/4 cup caramelized onions (optional)
Pizza Dough
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, stirring to coat the onion. Add the spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the lentils, adjust the seasonings and set aside.

Punch the dough down. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out into the size of your baking pan and about 1/4-inch thick. (I used a half-sheet baking pan.) Transfer to the lightly oiled pan and bake on the bottom oven rack for 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top with the spinach-lentil mixture. Brush the edges of the crust with olive oil and bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Serve hot and with plain yogurt.





Lentil Loaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

2 10 2010

 

I have a really hard time saying Lentil Loaf without laughing. I’ve been meaning to blog about this since last week. I’m still eating leftovers of it because this recipe made a shit ton. 4 cups of lentils to 2 cups water, really? That’s what the original recipe called for but there is no way that works, especially if you want some broth leftover. So adjust as you see fit. Besides that, I left out the carrots because I hate the carrots.

It’s a tad bit dry, but I found the perfect solution to that. Gravy. Boat loads of it. The gravy recipe from the Chicago Diner Cookbook is one of my favorite out there and is pretty much intrinsically created to make this dish craveable. Not to mention drinkable. Gravy gravy gravy, gravy the world. Go listen to some Gravy Train!!!! and bake this comfy dish up.

Got back from a trip out to Andover, MA a few days ago and picked up some new craft beers from one of the best liquor stores I’ve ever been too. Fabulous selection and they gave us free Octoberfest glasses! So yeah, time for my Friday night sampling of La Fin Du Monde’s triple fermented beer and the Williams Brothers Seaweed Ale!

Lentil Loaf
Adapted from The Chicago Diner Cookbook

Beans:
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
4 cups lentils (like I said before, this may need to be adjusted)

In a large pot, bring the water, bay leaf, and lentils to a boil. Cook on a low simmer until tender. Save 1 1/2 cups broth.

Grains:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bulghur

In a second pot, boil the water and add the bulghur. Stir, cover, and remove from heat.

Vegetables:
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced onions
2 cups diced celery
2 tbs. oil
2 tsps. sage
2 tsps. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tb. parsley
1 tb. tamari
2 cups quick-cooking oats

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a sheet pan, toast the seeds & nuts until they become aromatic. Set aside. Increase oven temp to 350. In a large skillet, saute the veggies in the oil until soft. Add the herbs, except the parsley, and cook 10-12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and tamari. Add the toasted seeds & nuts, lentils, bulghur, and oats and stir well. The final mixture may need some of the saved broth if it’s too dry to hold together. Season to taste. Place the loaf in an oiled 4 x 7-in. bread pan (my version made enough for 2 of these), and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Cover with foil and bake another 20-25 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Gravy
Adapted from The Chicago Diner Cookbook

Spice Mix:
2 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1/3 cup dried parsley
1 1/2 tbs. salt
1 1/2 tbs. dried dill weed
2 1/2 tbs. celery seed
2 1/2 tbs. onion powder
2 tsps. each of basil, oregano, and thyme
1 tsp. rosemary

In a small dry bowl, mix all the ingredients well; store in a dry container.

Roux:
1/3 cup oil (not olive, thinkin canola or soybean)
1/3 cup unbleached flour

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. When hot, gently whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, until the flour develops a nutty aroma. Be careful of burning!! Set aside

Base:
4 cups water or veggie stock
1/3 cup tamari
1/4 cup Spice Mix

In a medium pot, bring all the base ingredients to a high simmer. Gradually whisk in the roux and cook to desired thickness. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.