As frustrating as dealing with my landlord can be (“I’ll maybe fix the peeling ceiling after the holidays,” oh and there might be mice as evidenced by the large trap placed right by a hole in the back stairway, and one running through the bedroom, that trap seems super helpful), one of the things I love about where I live is the neighborhood. And specifically, the middle eastern bakery/grocery that’s a ten minute walk up the street. They do amazing, cheap hand pies that are great for lunch or breakfast, wonderful sides (dolma! baba ghanoush! pita!), they have a small fuckton of spices, and they have a lot of reasonably priced staples. Like say, the black lentils that are central to this recipe.

This is a simple, cheap, low energy, but amazingly filling recipe. I’ve been perfecting it over the last few months to my and boything’s taste, and the recipe as I have it currently is beyond perfect. My spices are a bit more haphazard than the ingredients list below suggests in terms of amounts, but I promise you you can adjust this to your own taste, easy. Throw this on the stove while a Destiny 2 or Overwatch session is going on, and voila.

Punjabi-Style Black Lentils
Makes enough for two and then a little meals for two

Ingredients

  • 2 T ghee (regular butter or oil also acceptable)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • .5 T ground cumin (original says seeds, I went with what I have on hand for simplicity)
  • 1 in piece of ginger, grated (original says finely chopped, I go with the ginger grating trick mentioned earlier in the blog these days
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 t ground tumeric
  • 1 T garam masala (usually more)
  • pinch ground chile powder
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 t sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 c dried black lentils
  • 3.5 c water (reduced from original recipe bc now I just use a whole can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, which is an extra cup up from the original recommended amount
  • 4 t salted butter
  • 2 T heavy cream (can be omitted if people don’t like it)

Over medium heat, melt your ghee. Once warm, add the onion and cumin, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned in places (pic 1). Add in the ginger and garlic, cook 1 minute more until fragrant, and then add the remaining spices (pic 2) and can of tomatoes (pic 3), and cook 3 more minutes, scraping up any bits that may be stuck to the pot. Add the salt, water, and then the lentils. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Cook 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender (see pic 5). If you want a looser dal, add more water. Adjust the spices and seasoning to taste.

To finish, ladle the dal into the bowl, add 1 t butter and .5 T heavy cream, and stir in to melt (see pic 6).

Advertisements

This is a pretty straight forward, budget friendly soup. Not my favorite I’ve ever had from the site it’s originally from, but solid enough. The spices on this are super light, and I would recommend experimenting with them significantly. As is, this didn’t make too much of an impression on me.

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup
Makes enough soup for a quart container and a little more

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • half of an onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minimum, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated (tip in recipe)
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 c dry red lentils
  • 6 c vegetable stock
  • 1 T curry powder
  • sea salt

Heat your olive oil over medium heat, and add the diced onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. To make it as easy as possible to grate the ginger (and what I’ve found gets the best flavor in recipes) is to freeze the whole root, and whenever you need it, take it out and grate it straight into the pot. Still fresh (even though the root’s been frozen, the grated ginger will warm up in the cooking process), and has even made recipes taste better. Saute until the onion is soft and transparent.

Then, add the pumpkin, lentils, veggie stock, and curry powder. Stir to combine, cover with a lid, and bring the heat to medium-high to bring the soup to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and bring the soup down to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring here and there. After 20 minutes, the lentils should be soft, and the soup should have thickened a bit.

Taste it and add sea salt and more curry powder to your personal taste, and enjoy!

This recipe is… I’m not entirely sure. One – caramelizing onions is touch enough. Two, add in conversion from metric, and a slight vagueness to the original recipe, and it’s a bit ???.The rice turned out solid, if not that flavorful, and the onions probably got a bit burned. Probably gonna workshop it – take a look at the recipe, both how I tackled it and the original, and let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Rice with Cardamom and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c rice (original recommends basmati, I went with the short-grained I had on hand)
  • 10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed (original alternately recommends 6 black)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T butter, halved
  • 2.5 c water 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 4 cm piece ginger, grated (I used grated ginger here, as my ginger is frozen; original recommends a 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 t honey

Put your water, crushed green cardamom pods, bay leaves, butter, and water into your rice cooker, and let it cook for the prescribed amount of time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, consult the original recipe.

Meanwhile, while the rice cooks, heat your olive oil over medium high heat, and once heated, add your onion slices, and fry for six minutes, stirring here and there, until golden brown (see the difference between pics 2 and 3). Then add your ginger, and fry for two minutes, until fragrant (pic 3). Then add your honey and cinnamon (pic 4), turn the heat to medium low (which I didn’t do, whoops), and stir frequently, cooking another five minutes until they’re a dark caramel in color (pic 5). 

Once the rice is done, spoon some out, add the onions on top, mix a bit, and enjoy!

So, when I originally made this, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for doing so (I think I only had half the necessary rice and tried to reduce accordingly), but what I got out of it was pretty good, and I definitely want to try making this again. Seems like a perfect spring type recipe, with the lemon, and especially with the herb garden I want to get going out here. 

Baked Risotto with Finnes Herbes and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped and well washed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 t sea salt
  • .5 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 c arborio rice
  • 1.25 c dry white wine
  • 3.5 to 4 c chicken stock, warmed
  • .5 c Parmesan cheese (I used parmigiano reggiano)
  • .5 t fresh lemon zest
  • (original recipe recommends .25 c fresh parsley, 3 T finely sliced chives, and 1 T coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, I think I did a bunch of dried parsley and tarragon, going to try that again once fresh herbs are more in season)

Preheat your oven to 425. Keep your chicken stock warm in a separate nearby pot. While your oven preheats, take a large (roughly 2 qt, I used this to break in my new dutch oven) baking dish, and lightly butter it. If you’re me, what you’ll do is just use that dutch oven for everything, making this a one-pot meal. If you don’t have a baking dish that’s stovetop usable, grab a separate pot. Whatever you end up cooking in, melt 2 T butter over medium heat. Once melted, add your chopped leek and onion, sea salt, and pepper, and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, which should take around 10 minutes.

Then, add your rice. Stir to coat in the butter, and cook until the rice starts toasting (you’ll get a nice nutty smell, and it sizzles and pops a bit), about two minutes or so. Then, add your wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer until almost completely absorbed, about three minutes total. (And yes, in accordance with the other risotto recipes, you absolutely need to drink the rest of the bottle of wine for science.)  Then, add 3 c of chicken stock, bring everything back to a simmer, and either just put it straight in the oven, or, if you needed a separate dish, put it in that. 

Bake your risotto for five minutes at a time, stirring every five minutes, for fifteen minutes total, until the stock is completely absorbed into the risotto. (See the difference between pictures 3 and 4.) Remove from the oven, and stir in your herbs of choice, the remaining 1 T butter, the parmesan, and the lemon zest. Then add the remaining .5 to 1 c chicken stock slowly, and stir until the rice is creamy. Season to taste with more sea salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Back in December/January, rib roasts were available for super fucking cheap because of the holidays, so I got to try a new roast recipe. Not sure if I’ll try it again, but if nothing else, the gorgonzola sauce that goes with it is pretty great. 

Sage Crusted Rib Roast with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Ingredients

Rib Roast

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 semi boneless rib roast (this one was appx 7 lbs, I want to say?)
  • sea salt and pepper for sprinkling
  • 2 bunches fresh sage (or, if you’re me, a whole bunch of ground sage)
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 c red wine
  • 2 c chicken or beef stock (I used chicken)

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

  • 4 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 6 oz gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Take your olive oil, and heat it in a large pan on high. Once warmed, sear each end of the rib roast, about 4 to 5 minutes a side, until nicely browned. 

In a roasting pan, mix together your stock and red wine, and add your sliced onion. Lay the roast on top of the onion, and then drizzle with the remaining olive oil, placing your sea salt, pepper, and sage to taste on the roast. Cover the roast with foil, and then roast at 450 for about 20 to 25 mins, and then reduce the heat to 350, roasting for another hour and a half (to get to rare). Here and there throughout the roasting, baste the roast with the wine/stock/juices mix. For the last half hour, remove the foil. 

In the last ten minutes or so, heat the butter, olive oil, and garlic over medium heat, cooking until the garlic is fragrant and soft, and just a bit caramelized, about five minutes. Add the white wine in and cook until reduced by a third, another fiveish minutes. Stir in the heavy whipping cream and gorgonzola, melting until you have a smooth sauce. Then, add in your pepper, a bit of sea salt to taste, and remove from heat.

Once your roast is removed, let cool for about fifteen to twenty minutes, serve with the gorgonzola sauce, and enjoy!

So, I’ve been meaning to try my hand at making chicken stock for a while, I’ve just been lacking a chicken carcass to do it with. As it happened, the gentleman whose apartment I’m taking care of was kind enough to leave me one in his freezer from right before he left for Paris, so with a pretty lazy Sunday in front of me, yesterday afternoon seemed like a good time to try my hand at it. And with a recipe of tithenai‘s that seananmcguire posted that’s been lurking in the back of my head a good long while, well, let’s just say I’m set for a meat soup base for a good long while. Also? This makes the apartment smell fantastic when you’re cooking it.

Tithenai’s Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • chicken carcass
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium to large (or 2 smaller) carrot, chopped
  • 1 leek, white to pale green bits chopped (save the tough green bits for vegetable stock)
  • peeled garlic cloves to personal taste
  • water
  • 1 large stick cinnamon (or 2 small)
  • 1 stalk rosemary

Take your chicken carcass, and chopped onion, carrot, and leek, and put them in a pot. Add your peeled garlic cloves, to personal taste. (I added in like five, because of my love of garlic) Add water until the chicken carcass is covered. Then, add in a stalk of rosemary, and your cinnamon stick. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover, and let cook for six to eight hours. I went with six. Stir at least twice an hour, and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting around hour two. Pictures four and five are after about one hour, and three hours, respectively. Picture six is what your stock will look like after about six hours, and with the heat turned off. 

Take a metal strainer, put a bowl underneath it, and slowly pour the contents of the pot through the strainer. (I ended up working in batches. Pic seven shows my strained stock, pot contents in the strainer on the left, and the already strained stock on the right. Be sure you have paper towel down around your work area to catch any stock that might jump out of the bowl as you pour.)

Then, take your stock, and use either immediately, put it in the fridge for a few days, or put in containers and store in the freezer until needed. 

This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)