Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Delectable dahl

I'm going to have to find a good Indian restaurant in the city so I can experience more of their flavorful cuisine or find a place where I can get some cooking classes. So far, the flavors and aromas coming from homemade curry mixtures I've made completely blow my mind.

I was listening to a podcast from one of my vegan pals and she had an hour tutorial on lentils. The different types, where they come from, how to cook them, etc. On the way home from work, I decided I would make dahl again and this time use lentils instead of split peas.

Chris was helping Bella with her homework when I started preparing the lentils and began to get all excited from the awesome aromas. He knew I was up to something good.

I've already posted the basic dahl recipe, but I'll do it again with the lentil modifications. I topped the lentils with some seared summer squash with chicken sausage and then made a salsa with my home grown tomatoes and parsley.

Lentil Dahl
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large pot, place the lentils in the broth or water and bring to a simmer. Add the turmeric, cayenne, salt and pepper and cover. Allow to cook for at least 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat the onion, cumin, and cloves in the butter. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add the onion and spices to the lentils and allow to simmer for at least 5 more minutes. Add a dash of pepper and more salt if desire. Serve over hot brown rice or use as a base for veg or protein.

Chris and I agreed that we could have just had the dahl alone with the bread and it would have been just perfect. I recommend this dish to all! ;o)

The perfect summer food

No matter how many times I make rice salad, I still can't get it as good as my aunt Vivian's. Hers rocks! I remember how much I loved eating a bowl of rice salad on the beach. It was the perfect quenching meal for being outdoors. The salty air always complimented it so well.

Every now and then I make a big batch of rice salad. We eat off of it for days and it's a great way to clean out the frig or make a large dish for little money. I don't know if there are any rules to rice salad. Put in whatever you fancy. I'm sure mine is different each time.

This time I didn't have any canned tuna. In this version I had cooked rice, green bell pepper, capers, olives, onions, cucumber, chick peas, carrots, corn, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Next time I think I'll make a batch and take it to the beach and see if I can get a little closer to Vivian's recipe! ;o)

First attempt at tempeh

I regret and have to apologize for such the delay. April and May are a very busy time at our home. Many birthdays, an anniversary and work has gotten its hold on me again. Which leaves me little time for my wonderful and therapeutic blog. If I were a more organized soul, I would have blogged about the birthdays and anniversary! Maybe next year.

About a week ago I finally made a dish with some tempeh I had. I was nervous, but followed some key instruction and a little more of cooking sense and it turned out very good.

I created a toss about of sorts as I always do, but instead of adding chicken, sausage or other animal protein, I added the tempeh. To our surprise the tempeh had a lovely flavor and a great meaty and hearty texture to it. A texture that lacks when using a firm tofu.

I love tofu, but prefer it in soups when keeping its soft texture. Otherwise I like it breaded or baked to give it some heartier mouth feel. The tempeh has plenty of texture and can withstand being tossed about with veg.

So with the tempeh I cut it into large cubes and in a bowl marinated it with some soy sauce, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and some teriyaki sauce. I let it marinade for about 20 minutes tossing while I chopped the veg.

In a pan I seared some onion, garlic and pepper until wilted then added some halved Brussel sprouts and tossed until they began to develop some brown spots. I then added the tempeh and tossed some more before adding some veg broth and let simmer a few minutes. During this process I boiled up some macaroni and strained them. I tossed the macaroni in with the veg mixture and served hot.

I'll be using and making tempeh again. It was a nice surprise.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Playing with pesto

I'm not a really big fan of the intense heat of the Florida weather. I am thankful each day that we have a pool to cool off in when outside. It's already blazing hot out and it's not even July yet.

There is one thing I look forward to when the weather warms and that's growing the basil again. The more basil I have (or given to me from dad's - thanks dad!), the more pesto I make! This is a pesto loving establishment for sure. Some of our favorites include stuffed peppers, pesto tossed with wheat pasta and shrimp, pesto garlic bread, pesto over salmon, etc. Or just simply pesto spread on a good cracker! It's all good.

The other night I made a batch of pesto from basil that dad gave me. My basil is slowly getting long enough to use and I need to grow more to keep up with demand.
In my skillet I seared up a sliced red bell pepper and some asparagus until just tender. I don't like to over cook my asparagus. There has to still be some crunch to it. During this time I had my wheat fettuccine boiling away.
Some frozen petite peas thawed and ready.
Prepared pesto with basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and roasted almonds. I didn't have any pine nuts handy, so I used almonds. I believe most nuts will generally work for pesto for the exception of peanuts.
Before draining my pasta water I saved a about a cup worth to the side. I tossed together the pasta, pesto, peas, asparagus and peppers while adding the water a little bit at a time until I got the right consistency I was looking for. Very simple, very fresh and full of flavor.

Did I happen to say that I love pesto?