Tag Archives: vegetables

Red Lentil Dal with Greens

This recipe was inspired by an interview I heard with with Madhur Jaffrey.  Apparently, collard greens are a staple food in Kashmir province, often served  as a main course with rice and dal.  I couldn’t find collard greens at the market, so I used curly kale instead.  I also combined the greens with the dal.  The creamy lentils and chewy kale are almost addictive in their appeal.  The spicing is subtle, the dish is all about texture.  Be sure to taste for salt before serving, though.  Chances are, you’ll need to add quite a bit.  This makes 2-3 servings. Enjoy!

1 c. red lentils
4 c. water
¼ tsp. turmeric, divided
3 T. canola oil
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
½ tsp. whole cumin seeds, crushed or ground
½ tsp. coriander seeds, crushed or ground
1 red hot pepper, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large bunch curly kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp. tamarind paste
1 T. hot water
Sea salt

Lime wedges
Cooked Rice

Rinse and sort lentils and place in a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam and stir in 1/8 tsp. of the turmeric. Partially cover pan. Turn down heat and simmer lentils until they begin to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop, about 1 minute. Add the remaining turmeric, cumin, coriander, and hot pepper and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and onion and cook over medium-low heat until soft, stirring frequently.

Add half the chopped greens to the skillet. Use tongs to press and toss greens into the oil and spice mixture, adding a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Turn heat up to medium. Cover and steam greens a little to wilt them down. Add remaining greens to the pan and toss mixture again. Add a tablespoon or so of water to the pan and cover. Cook covered greens until soft and wilted, about five minutes, taking care to stir them once or twice to promote even cooking. Remove cover and cook off any excess liquid.

Stir tamarind paste into 1 T. of hot water. Mix into the lentils. Add the lentil mixture into the kale and stir to combine. Add salt to taste. Bring back to a simmer.  Serve with hot cooked rice and lime wedges on the side.

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Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Hot Pepper Honey

I found the most wonderful hot pepper-infused honey at beekind in San Francisco.   I used it Sunday night on roasted baby rainbow carrots.  It was absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!

1-2 bunches baby carrots, rainbow-colored if possible
Olive oil
Coarsely ground sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 tsp. hot pepper honey
Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Peel baby carrots but leave whole (you can leave some of the tops on, if you want). Toss carrots with enough olive oil to coat, and spread single-layer in a 9x13x2-inch glass or enameled baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place carrots in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes, shaking pan 2-3 times to turn different sides of the carrots down on the pan. The carrots are done when they are soft with crispy, caramelized edges.  Dribble with honey and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Roasted Portabellas With Spinach and Feta

These stuffed mushrooms are hearty enough to serve as a meatless entree, but I often use them as a side dish.  Omit some of the butter, if you want, but be sure to pull them out of the oven before the topping dries out. Enjoy!

3 T. butter (or less)
4 Portabella mushrooms, cleaned
Salt and pepper
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ c. crumbled feta
¼ c. pine nuts, toasted
3 T. finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place butter in a small dish and melt in the microwave. Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Using the edge of a spoon, scrape out the dark brown gills on the underside of each mushroom and place, upside down (like a small bowl) into a greased shallow baking pan. Brush the “bowl” of each mushroom with a little melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Turn oven down to 325°F.

Meanwhile, place the thawed spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring to remove as much moisture as possible. Place spinach in a mixing bowl.  Using your fingers or two forks, pull the spinach into soft shreds.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently to combine.

Mound equal portions of the topping onto each of the par-roasted mushrooms, pressing gently to fit.  Drizzle melted butter over the top. (Mushrooms may be made to this point up to a day ahead. Cover with saran wrap and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.

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Thai-Inspired Peanut Dipping Sauce

The other night I made summer rolls– neat (or not-so-neat!) packages of cilantro, basil, carrots, green onions, radishes, cucumber and tofu wrapped in softened rice paper.  I had hoped to serve leftovers the next day for lunch, but there were none! Thought I’d pass along the recipe for the Thai-inspired dipping sauce.  It comes together quickly, and my kids think it is the best they’ve had (take-out included!). Enjoy!

¾ c. all-natural peanut butter, preferably smooth
½ c. pineapple juice
3 T. tamari sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1 clove garlic
1 4” piece of ginger, peeled
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
½ – 1 T. crushed red pepper flakes

Stir together peanut butter and pineapple juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Add tamari and brown sugar.  Use a microplane or fine grater set over (or into) the pan to mince in the garlic, scraping the garlic and juice off the back of the grater and into the pot.  Do the same with the ginger, discarding any of the fibrous interior that won‘t mince.  Stir in sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Cook over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture darkens slightly, stirring, being careful not to burn.  Serve warm.

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Vegetable Beef Soup

Toward the end of the week, I usually make soup out of whatever odds and ends are in the fridge.  I throw it all together, maybe round it out with canned tomatoes or a cup of dried peas. Voilá, I have an easy, economic, no-brainer lunch for the weekend.  Not so today.  Today, I craved something hearty, perhaps meat-based, and guaranteed to sooth.  So I made vegetable beef soup. I cannot remember where this recipe originally came from, but I pretty much make it as is.  I might throw in a handful of cabbage, or my current obsession, kale, but the soup is darn good as written. Why mess with perfection? My only caveat is that it takes some time to cook—It is the long, slow simmering process that melds the flavors together into something that tastes like cozy.  This makes about 8 servings.  Enjoy!

Olive oil
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into ½” chunks
ground celery seed (opt.)
Salt & pepper
2 large onions, diced & divided
6 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves

2 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium white potatoes, diced
1 c. chopped parsley
1 large can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
1 small can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
15 oz can Northern beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
2 pinches cinnamon

1 c. frozen peas
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Red wine (opt.)

Heat oil in soup pot over medium high heat. Season meat with salt, pepper, and ground celery seed. Brown beef in oil with half of the onions. Add water, stock and bay leaves. Bring to boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 90 min.

Add remaining ingredients, except for peas, vinegar and wine (if using). Add water, if necessary, to barely cover veggies. Return to a simmer. Cook until broth is no longer watery, about 2 hours.

Add peas, vinegar, and good pour of wine (about ½ c.), if using. Simmer 5 min. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.

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Braised Red Cabbage

Not sure where this recipe came from.  It is not mine (though I wish I could take credit).  Everyone I’ve served it to (and I’ve served it a lot) loves it.  Perfect for this time of year.  Enjoy. 

¼ c. butter
1 2-lb red cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 14 cups)
½ tsp. (or more) of salt
3 T. dry red wine (or hard apple cider)
1 T. red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)

Melt butter in heavy large pot (I use a dutch oven) over medium heat. Add sliced cabbage and ½ tsp. salt. Stir and toss continuously until cabbage begins to wilt, about 7 minutes. Add red wine and saute until liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar; stir constantly until cabbage is tender and turns a bright fuchsia color, about 13 minutes longer. (Note: I start tasting for doneness after 7 minutes or so.) Taste and adjust seasonings.

Note: May be prepared up to one day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm, stirring over medium heat, before serving.

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