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).

This is definitely a weekend recipe. Why? Because it takes a minimum of overnight prep, and a lot of watching of the waffle iron (because these waffles are LOADED with sugar, and a special type you might have to pick up from Amazon at that). 

Are they worth it? They were pretty sweet, and I’m not entirely sure they turned out properly, but the result was pretty damn neat. (I am sure there is someone here who has more experience with these waffles who can tell me if I fucked up.)

Liege Waffles

Ingredients

  • .5 c whole milk
  • .25 c water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 c flour
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 14 T butter, softened to room temperature, and separated into quarters
  • 1 1/3 c pearl sugar (you can find this on Amazon easy)

Take your milk and water, heat until lukewarm, and then add your brown sugar and active dry yeast, letting sit about five minutes, until foamy. Whisk together your eggs and vanilla, add the milk in, and then slowly add all but one cup of flour, and mix until well combined. Add the salt in, and mix until combined again

If you have a stand mixer, this is the part where I hate you, as you have things significantly easier – all you have to do is use a dough hook here. The rest of us, in adding in the 14 T of butter, will have to knead it in by hand. It’s going to take a long ass time, but the stretchy dough that results is worth it. Then, work in your last cup of flour. 

I used the fridge first method for making the dough rise – check the linked recipe for the other method. Take your dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and then put in the fridge for a minimum of overnight. The day you want to make the waffles, bring to room temperature for an hour, stir the dough to deflate it, and then let it rise for another two hours (see the difference between pics five and six). 

Once you’re ready to cook the waffles, knead in the pearl sugar. It’s gonna seem like a fuck of a lot, and it is. Trust me. You can do it, and it’ll be worth it. Heat your waffle iron while you’re doing this. Once the iron’s ready, break off a small piece of dough, stretch it out a bit, and cook until golden brown (usually about the same time as instructed by your waffle iron instructions). 

Keep any waffles you make warm (ideally in a 200 degree oven), and then enjoy the molten sugar caramelized amazingnes.

I was able to find this roast for $.99/lb quite a while ago, and it’s just been hanging out in the freezer waiting for the perfect recipe. This is definitely it. I would’ve never thought of using lemon zest in a rub, but as it turns out, it goes really well, especially with all the spices mentioned here. Definitely going on the keeper list.

Roast Chicken with Plums

Ingredients

Roast Chicken

  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 T ground sumac
  • 4 t sea salt
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced (I went minced)
  • whole chicken (original recipe recommended 2 4ish lb chickens, I went with one big almost 10 lb one)
  • 1 bunch thyme (or ground, if you’re me and don’t want to get the fresh herbs)
  • 1 T lemon juice (fresh squeezed ideal)

Plums

  • 2.5 lbs plums, halved, quartered if on the larger side
  • (original recipe mentions shallots, I omitted them, didn’t want to make the grocery run)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half
  • 2 T water

Take your lemon zest, and mix in the sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, the minced garlic, and 3 T of the olive oil. The resulting mixture should feel like wet sand. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including the insides. Take your thyme bunch and rest it inside the cavity (or if you’re me, just sprinkle a bunch of thyme in the cavity). Let the rubbed chicken marinate in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, or up to 24 hours. 

Either way, once you’re ready to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature, letting it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450.

While the chicken sits and the oven preheats, take the plums, honey, water, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaf, and toss together in a roasting pan. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the roasting pan. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, resting it on top of the plums, and roast for 30 minutes to start.

After 30 minutes, take 1 T of lemon juice and the remaining 1 T olive oil from earlier, mix it together, and drizzle over the chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven, and continue to roast for another 45 minutes, until cooked all the way through. 

Let your chicken rest under a foil blanket for 10 minutes once it’s been removed from the oven, and then enjoy!

If you have a rice cooker, this recipe is stupidly simple. To the point that when both my boyfriend and I ended up having overlapping stomach ick, I was real glad that I could manage to throw all this into the rice cooker and forget about it until my stomach was ready to handle the concept of food again. This recipe is simple, quick, and filling, and makes for a simple breakfast that you can take to work and reheat. 

Ginger Honey Okayu
Lasts 4-5ish breakfasts, depending on serving size

Ingredients

  • 1 c short grain rice
  • 4 to 5 c water (depending on how thick you want the porridge)
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 t sea salt
  • honey to taste for serving

Take everything except your honey, throw it in the rice cooker, set to porridge, and let the rice cooker cook it to proper thickness, occasionally stirring it. Literally, that’s it. That’s all you need to do. 

Once it’s done cooking, if you’re making it for breakfast for the week, scoop it into it’s own container and refrigerate it, but otherwise, just keep it in the rice cooker on the keep warm setting, and it’ll keep it warm (but not overcooked) until you’re ready to eat it. 

Once you’re ready to eat it, scoop some out, drizzle some honey on it, and enjoy!

Looking for a neat topping to have that only takes five minutes tops to make? I highly suggest this butterscotch recipe (with actual whiskey in it). Makes enough that you’ll have a nice small jar left over, and plus, as the recipe coming immediately after this turns out, it’s REAL good in hot cocoa. 

Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c dark brown sugar
  • .5 c light corn syrup
  • .25 c cold water
  • 1 t sea salt
  • .75 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T whiskey
  • .5 t vanilla extract

Whisk together and heat everything except for the whiskey and vanilla for five minutes over medium low heat, until the sugar dissolves, and the sauce starts to thicken. Then, add your whiskey and vanilla, and simmer for another two minutes. Taste it to be sure you’ve got the balance you want, and then spoon it into a jar, and keep it in your fridge to put on whatever.