When The Husband’s Away The Lentils Will Play Curry

Curry has many meanings, but my fave definition, “sauce”, was shared by a cookbook writer years ago. He also offered a strategy for a quick lentil curry that at least two of us love. My daughter and I have eaten this dish straight from the pan, and although I’m not sure I adhere to all of the cultural particulars, this is the basic outline. Fast, vegan, dairy and gluten free. Feel free to vary by taste. When the lentils are cooked, it takes less than 30 minutes.

1 dry cup green lentils, cooked according to package instructions

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chapped

1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped (don’t touch your eyes)

Two handfuls cherry tomatoes, any color, halved

1/2 cup of broth or water

Handful of cilantro, chopped

Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (if you have it, I didn’t)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 pinches cayenne

1/2 a lime

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium heat. Cook onion for 8-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic, jalapeño and spices with half the salt at first. Cook for a couple of minutes to get the spices going. Add as many tomatoes as you like for a few minutes, stirring on occasion. The skins may wrinkle, 2-3 minutes. Combine the lentils and give it a good whirl to combine everything.

If anything sticks at any time, lower heat. Add enough liquid to make some sauce but not a lentil drink. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes.

Give it a taste, adjust spices. Stir in cilantro and squeeze the lime before servicing.

Enjoy,

B

When You’re Sick of Green Beans

My dad stopped by for dinner. When he left all the green beans were gone, and EVERYONE ate them (the roasted potatoes too, but that's not exactly a hard sell). Here's the recipe. Feel free to sub another Asian supermarket selection. We've rarely met one we didn't like (if it's spicy, add with care).

1 pound-ish green beans, ends trimmed

2-ish teaspoons hoisin sauce

Couple big pinches garlic powder

Tablespoon-ish sesame seeds

Veg oil

In large skillet add 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add green beans, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add hoisin sauce & garlic powder, stir it up. Add maybe 2 tablespoons water to steam beans. Put a lid on it for 2-3 minutes. Remove lid and raise heat if necessary to get rid of excess liquid. Add sesame seeds and finish cooking beans to taste.

The whole thing takes less time to make than explain.

Eat – B

Btw chopped fresh ginger is a great add in, fresh garlic too – unless you're lazy 🙂

 

No Recipe, Just Roasted Veggies

Incredibly flexible, super simple…big batch roasted vegetables help compensate for the loss of summer.

These babies all spent time in a 400 degree oven, with tougher stuff like squash, peppers and onions hitting the racks first, tomatoes going in last- 10-15 minutes til bursting. Prep time 10 minutes, cooking time for 1/2-3/4 inch chunks up to half an hour. Adding cloves of garlic in their skin add to flavor when you squeeze out the caramel goodness later.

While this veg batch is nearly naked (a quick toss with olive oil and salt), lots of other herbs could doll up the final result (cumin, coriander, cayenne anyone?).

Then have fun. An ez side dish. Serve with rice and hot sauce. Toss with pasta, fresh mozzarella & basil. Layer on your fave crusty bread with chicken and/or cheese . A little balsamic on the hot vegetables adds zip. Works for leftover lunches. If you purée with stock (and choose type and quantity of onion wisely) you've got soup!

My list:

Eggplant

Zucchini

Yellow & red pepper

Red onion

1 quart cherry tomatoes

*roast new or chunks of Idaho potato too – serve with fried or poached egg

Eat-B

 

Everything but the…Cauliflower



It's not a guarantee, but it's similar to high school yearbook status in my house. As in, "Vegetables most likely to be eaten..." If they're roasted and flavor dense or presented in a form residents are predisposed to like (i.e. puréed cauliflower and potato), I have a higher degree of success.

Thus the spiced and super roasted cauliflower is "most likely" or to be accurate, "more likely" to be eaten. I borrowed the high heat roasting technique from veggie guru Molly Katzen when she was in a phase.

Ingredients this time:

Cauliflower florets from one head
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 pinches cayenne

Preheat oven 425. Line baking sheet with baking paper unless you want a bigger cleanup. Combine spices-taste and adjust. Toss cauliflower with oil, then spices. Roast till golden brown or beyond - at least 15-20 minutes. We like it "burnt".

Eat - B

Note: spice combination is completely arbitrary according to personal taste.

 

Breakfast salad for Meat-free Monday

 

Despite my sweet teeth, I mostly prefer savory for breakfast. If grains and veggies are not your daybreak cup of tea, try this salad for lunch or dinner. It tastes the same.I made this as a single serving but double or quadruple. It keeps well for a couple of days and travels nicely too! 

Ingredients
1/4 cup barley, cooked 
1 pickling cucumber, chopped 
Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped 
1 tablespoon dill, chopped 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon-ish red wine vinegar 
1 oz feta, crumbled 
Salt 
Pepper 

Combine barley, pinch of salt & up to 1 cup water. Boil & reduce to simmer, cooking until it's just slightly chewy. Drain excess water if there is any. Cool slightly & combine all other ingredients. Adjust pepper, salt & vinegar to taste. I like to assemble it when it's warm. You could add red onion or chives, but even I don't indulge at breakfast. :)

 Eat - B

 

Zucchini Latkes

If at first you don't succeed, fry, fry again.

Really all but a few belligerent green avoiders will eat zucchini when it's pan fried into crunchy deliciousness.

Fry it, you'll like it!

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed through a sieve to dry out

3 scallions, chopped – all of the white and halfway up the green

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup matzo meal (in kosher section or international foods)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Grated pepper to taste

*2 pinches cayenne, optional

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

2-3 tablespoons veg oil

Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, stir in veg. Heat oil in fry pan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add spoons of mixture for desired size. Flip when crispy. Drain if you like, but paper towels deflate the crunch. Better on a cookie cooling rack. Sprinkle with salt (take that Mayor Bloomberg!)

Eat – B

 

Veggie Zoup

In my house we call it zesty zoup, not necessarily because it's zesty (although it can be) but because we like saying zesty zoup. This vegan big batch recipe is a late summer staple. Mid winter veggies work just as well. The addition of barley gives a whole grain chewiness. Try adding quinoa if you'd prefer a hit of protein instead.

Non vegans feel free to sprinkle your fave grated Italian cheese. Even better cook this baby with that dried out rind of Parmesan lingering in your fridge 🙂

Use what veggies you have and feel free to sub. Making soup uses up pieces and bits you would otherwise toss. Feel free to use you processor for slicing, chopping & dicing – no judgement!

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced thin

1 larger zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1 larger yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced

2 ears of corn from cob or freezer

1/2 cup puréed tomatoes, fresh, boxed, jarred or canned

1/2 cup barley

Olive or veg oil

In large stockpot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil of choice. Cook onions 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic for last 2 minutes. Stirring and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add carrots, zucchini, yellow squash & corn. Add barley and toss the whole mess together. Combine with tomatoes & 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes, until barley is cooked through. Check seasonings. Eat.

Eat – B

*note: Zoup can be made zesty with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs or pistou (blended garlic, basil, olive oil). Beans can be added for a heartier dish – jarred, canned or previously hydrated.