Warm lentil salad with sun-dried tomatoes

December 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm (Beans, F (0 stars, dislike), Peter Berley)

This recipe (from Peter Berley’s cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen) is for a warm lentil salad with Mediterranean flavors.  I was positive we made this recipe before (unsuccessfully), but I couldn’t find any post about it on my blog.  So we decided to give it another try.  Last time I think part of the problem was that the sundried tomatoes we used weren’t very good.  This time I used tomatoes from my mother’s garden, that she dried herself! Read the rest of this entry »

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Shiitakes, tofu, and miso

December 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm (Japanese, Miso, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

When I first moved to Saarbruecken there were no shiitakes to be found, but in the last three years they’ve started appearing at a few stores around town.  They’re quite expensive, but at least they exist! I splurged on a bag of shiitakes the other day, and ended up throwing together a quick, tasty stir-fry with an onion, the shiitakes, some diced tofu, and miso.  I sauteed the onion and shiitakes in just a touch of olive oil, then added the tofu and the miso at the end.  I don’t have a recipe, but I loved the combination, and so I thought I’d record it here so I don’t forget it.

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Roasted sweet potato wedges

December 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm (Fall recipes, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

I was in a rush to get some sweet potatoes roasted the other day, and so instead of baking them the usual way (stabbing them with a fork and roasting them whole), I cut them into long wedges (about 8 per sweet potato), and roasted them on a cookie sheet at 425 F.  I didn’t add oil or salt, and I didn’t peel the sweet potatoes first, just gave them a quick scrub.  They turned out really well, with a mixture of textures—some soft, moist parts like you’d get in a typical baked sweet potato, and some crunchier, more caramelized bits, like you’d get from a sweet potato fry.  Both Derek and I really liked the texture of the roasted sweet potato skin.  So don’t peel your sweet potatoes!

I made sweet potato wedges again a few days later, except that I sprinkled on a little salt and some olive oil.  The wedges ended up both a bit more moist and a bit more crisp than the previous time.  Delicious!

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Savory Indian chickpea pudding

December 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm (Beans, C (1 star, edible), Indian, Madhur Jaffrey)

Even after my experiments with Socca I still had some chickpea flour left, so I decided to try this recipe from Maddhur Jaffrey’s World of the East.  She calls it a savory chickpea flour “quiche,” but then goes on to say that it resembles a quiche only in that it’s like a set custard that can be cut and served in sections.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Red lentil soup with lemon and spinach

December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm (101 cookbooks, Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, Deborah Madison, Fall recipes, Indian, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

I already have two go-to red lentil soup recipes (Turkish and curried), but somehow I wasn’t in the mood for either of them, and I decided to try a new recipe instead.  This recipe is from 101cookbooks, and based on a recipe from Deborah Madison.  I followed the recipe closely except that instead of a bunch of spinach I used a bag of mixed greens (baby spinach, arugula, and baby chard).  I didn’t chop the leaves, which was probably a mistake as they ended up a bit stringy.  I didn’t serve the soup with brown rice, and we didn’t miss it.  We did try it with yogurt, and it seemed good both with and without the yogurt.

I don’t know why the recipe calls for yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones that most Indian recipes call for.  And they’re not popped in hot oil.  I’ve actually never cooked with whole yellow mustard seeds before.  I had to go out and buy some!

I ended up using the juice of two lemons, which made the soup quite lemony.  The first day it was perhaps a bit too much lemon, but as leftovers it was fine — the lemon seemed to mellow down.

This soup is more Indian tasting than my other two red lentil soup recipes.  Derek said it tasted similar to other dals I’ve made in the past, but I thought all the lemon juice made it taste a bit unusual.  This recipe has a lot of turmeric and salt!  I used kosher salt but still I found the soup a tad too salty for my taste.  Derek was happy though.  He ate the soup for breakfast several days in a row.

I’ll definitely throw this recipe into my red lentil soup rotation.

Rating: B
Derek: B+

Update Feb 2013:  I recently tried a red lentil and coconut milk soup from Deborah Madison.   The recipe is actually titled “fragrant red lentils with basmati rice and romanesco.” In addition to the coconut milk, the lentils are seasoned with ginger, turmeric, jalapeños  onions, cayenne, bay leaf, and black mustard seeds.  The recipe also calls for romanesco, but I couldn’t find any so I used cauliflower  The cauliflower florets are sautéed with the same basic seasonings as the lentils, then everything is combined and garnished with cilantro and yogurt.  The recipe was fine, but it was more work than other red lentil recipes I’ve made, without being particularly exciting.  I won’t make it again.

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Autumn Soup of Wild Rice, White Beans, and Olives

December 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Fall recipes, Rebecca Wood, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

It seems to be soup season around here.  I picked this recipe (from Rebecca Wood’s cookbook The Splendid Grain) because it called for wild rice, which I almost never use.  Wood says that the flavors in this soup are from the mountains of central Greece, and that the soup has “stellar colors and flavors…. a fantastic play of sweet, sour, salty, and pungent”.   It’s not Autumn any more, but I had a jar of roasted bell peppers in the pantry, and all the other ingredients are reasonably wintery.  If you’re not using jarred bell peppers then you should prepare the peppers a day in advance to give them time to marinate.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Leek and turnip soup with potatoes and chard

December 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Winter recipes)

This is a pretty simple soup recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast.  The unusual addition is 1 tsp. of whole caraway seeds, which are sauteed with butter, garlic, and two leeks.  Then you add turnips, potatoes, water, and salt.  The final step is to add a bunch of roughly chopped Swiss chard and lots of pepper. Read the rest of this entry »

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Socca (chickpea flour flatbread)

December 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm (breakfast, Fall recipes, Italian, Spring recipes, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I bought a big bag of chickpea flour (called besan in India) over a year ago, used it once in a recipe, and then didn’t touch it again.  I decided it’s been sitting long enough, so I went searching for recipes that called for chickpea flour.  The obvious first recipe to try was socca, a simple flatbread made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and liberal amounts of salt and pepper.  I actually had a version of socca a few years ago at a bakery in Florence, but there they call it Torta di Ceci. (In other parts of Italy they often call it Farinata).  Whatever the name, despite the rave reviews online, the version I got at the bakery in Florence had a somewhat odd texture (more creamy than crisp) and not all that much flavor.  Maybe a homemade version would be better.  I used Mark Bittman’s recipe on the New York Times website. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pumpkin, pear, and fennel soup

December 4, 2011 at 1:21 am (Fall recipes, Peter Berley, soup, unrated, Winter recipes)

I could have sworn I blogged about this recipe before, but I can’t find any post about it, so here it is again.  This is a recipe from the fall section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.    Despite the name, the recipe doesn’t actually call for any fennel.  At least, not the vegetable.  Rather, it calls for fennel seed, which Berley says brings out the natural sweetness in other ingredients.  I can’t vouch for that, but I really like fennel seed in savory dishes.  I was very excited to try the combination of squash, pear, leeks, ginger, and fennel seeds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pumpkin and feta muffins

December 4, 2011 at 12:47 am (101 cookbooks, breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Fall recipes, Winter recipes)

I wanted to use up some feta and milk and found this interesting looking recipe for a savory muffin on 101cookbooks.com.  It seemed a nice recipe for the cool fall (almost Winter) weather. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quinoa and winter squash potage

December 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Fall recipes, Grains, Quick weeknight recipe, Rebecca Wood, soup, Winter recipes)

Butternut squash season is short-lived here in Germany.  It seems to be available only for about six weeks, starting in early October.  I bought a bunch of butternut squashes, but somehow managed to use them all, save one, by early December!  I decided to use my last half of a butternut squash to try this simple soup recipe from the quinoa chapter in Rebecca Wood’s cookbook the Splendid Grain.  Wood is an expert on quinoa.  She was travelling around Peru and Bolivia researching her book Quinoa: The Supergrain in the mid 80’s, long before almost anyone else in the States had even heard of quinoa.

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