February 2011 archive
Meaning far-out flavor! Plus, I wasn’t exactly sure what ethnic category this stew belonged in. I started out thinking I was going to make an Indian curry dish, and ended up somewhere in Africa. Either way, I knew I didn’t want a standard lentil stew. Regular lentil soup can conjure up images of potluck feeds and I received a bored look when I told BL I was making a new lentil soup for dinner. Lentils often gets a bad rap but to me they are a perfect. Ready to soak up any spices you pair them with, light but satisfying enough to fill you up… not out. This was definitely a one-way trip into flavor town.
I used green french lentils in this but you could use brown. I prefer the green ones and use them in most of my dishes. No matter what type you choose, you are eating one powerful legume! They are a good source of folate, fiber, protein and iron. Need I say more?
1 white or yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup green lentils
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup butternut squash soup (can sub 3/4 cup diced butternut squash or more broth)
1 can garbanzo beans (or 1 1/2 cups, cooked)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated or 2 tbsp. ginger paste (or substitue dried)
Vegetable broth -about 2-4 cups depending how thick you want your stew
1/2 tsp. cardamon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tbsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender. In a separate large stockpot, add 3 tbsp. canola oil, garlic, ginger and onions. Stir until onion is translucent about 5-10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and spice blend. Stir to combine and cook and additional 10 minutes until the carrots are soft. If the vegetables start to stick, add a bit of vegetable broth. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth and butternut squash soup. Stir together and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, peas, and beans. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 30-40 minutes.
Serves 8. Per serving: 305 calories, 4g fat, 18g fiber, 18g protein
Yum! We had it over brown rice one night and with crusty bread the next day for lunch.
It might be raining outside, but it is spring in my mind! This has been my go-to salad as of late, for potlucks, lunch and cooking demonstrations. You could sub any grain you like, but I have been on a couscous kick and I think it works perfectly here.
1 1/2 cups couscous
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced and peeled (optional)
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 handful basil, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add couscous, cover, and remove from heat. When couscous is done, about 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a dry skillet, add pine nuts and toast for a few minutes each side until lightly browned. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add couscous, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and basil. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a blender or small bowl. Add dressing to salad mixture and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts.
Per 1 cup serving: 307 calories, 13g fat (mostly monounsaturated from olive oil and pine nuts), 4 g fiber, 7.6 g protein
Made this dessert for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day. Wine poached pears stuffed with walnuts and chocolate, tied up in phyllo dough. It’s like a mini pear pie!
Ingredients for 2 pears:
2 tbsp. walnuts, chopped
3 tbsp. chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips, chopped
6 sheets phyllo dough
4 tbsp. earth balance butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
1 cup red wine or port
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
2 tbsp. cinnamon
2 cardamon pods
1 tsp. ginger, chopped
Peel and core the pears. If a stem is attached, try to keep the stem intact for presentation. Bring poaching liquid to a boil. Add the pears, adding more water if needed to cover the pears. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and poach for 10-15 minutes until pears are tender. Remove pears, set aside the liquid. (I prepared this step a day before and placed the pears with the liquid in the fridge until I was ready to assemble the following night. Worked great! )
Mix together the chopped walnuts and chocolate. Divide in half and stuff into the core of the pears. On a clean, dry surface, place 1 sheet phyllo dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a generous pinch of sugar. Add another layer of phyllo dough, brush with melted butter and sprinkle sugar. Continue to layer until all the phyllo dough is used.
Divide the dough in 1/2. Place 1 pear, base side down on the center of the phyllo. Start with one corner of the dough and wrap up the side of the pear. Twist the excess dough or pinch off. Brush any remaining butter on the outside of the pear and lightly sprinkle with sugar.
When ready to serve, place the reserved poaching liquid in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook 20-25 minutes until it forms a syrup. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Place syrup on the bottom of a serving plate, top with the baked pear and drizzle more syrup on top.
How was your Valentine’s Day?
This is my take on chili and cornbread. Creamy polenta topped with a hearty stew is perfect winter comfort food.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large can hominy, drained
1 can kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 qt. vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried thyme
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cups soy milk or other milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup cornmeal
3 tbsp. earth balance butter
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and 1 tsp. salt and cook 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add spices and cook an additional minute. Add drained hominy, tomatoes, beans, broth and jalapenos. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for at least 20 minutes stirring frequently. Add cilantro just prior to serving.
Polenta: Heat broth and milk over medium high heat. When bubbles start to break on the surface, gently whisk in the cornmeal and stir together. Reduce the heat to low, and let cook for 15 minutes until thick, stirring often. Stir in butter the once polenta has finished cooking.
Serves 6. To serve: place 2/3 cup of polenta in a large bowl, top with 1 heaping cup of stew.