Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew (MISR WOT)

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

 

So I’ve decided that this will be my last post until the summer is over.  Mainly because we’ll be traveling for at least  three weeks in August, and today is Page’s last day in her summer program at school.  We have about a week of lounging around and playing in the back yard before she starts her Spanish immersion summer program.  I want to spend as much time as I can with her, without looking at my phone to do all that blogging requires of me.  I’ll be sure to update my Instagram account with all of my food adventures–as usual.  So if you aren’t following me on Instagram, click on the link to the right to do so.  Now to the recipe. Berbere Chicken was one of the first recipes that I shared on this blog.  It’s one of Page’s favorite chicken dishes–although lately it is getting some strong competition from Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Garlic. She still love this chicken nonetheless. After making the chicken the last time, I was so impressed with the flavors, I wanted to add it to something else, and then it occurred to me how awesome this seasoning would be on lentils, in a soup.  As I walked around my kitchen, grabbing ingredients and  formulating a recipe in my head, lentils, tomatoes–because my garden is overflowing with them, onion, garlic, lemon, and berbere spice, it occurred to me that I had these flavors before in a dish at an Ethiopian restaurant.  Sure enough there was a recipe for a stew by none other than Marcus Samuelson.  While I did not follow his recipe exactly, my own isn’t so far off.  I used some Organic Green French Lentils, which I sprouted.  His recipe and I guess the traditional recipe calls for red lentils. I added some of the preserved lemon salt  I made to my bowl as a finish.  If you haven’t made my preserved lemon salt yet, a little preserved lemon would be awesome with this.

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Ingredients

1 cup of sprouted organic green lentils

1 large tomato chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of oil –your choice I used butter

2 tablespoons of berbere spice

1 lemon cut into wedges

3 cups of water

Ingredients for Berbere Spice

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons of Paprika I used a smoked
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds or ground cumin
1teaspoon of ground turmeric
1teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, or seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander
6 cardmom pods or 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
8 whole cloves

Directions for spice blend:
Place all the spices in a dry cast iron skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until toasted about 3-5 minutes. Cool completely  place all ingredients in a spice grinder or blender until finely ground. Transfer to an air tight storage container for up to 3 months.

Directions: Heat the oil along with the onion, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.

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Add in the lentils and berbere spice.

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Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the tomato,

 

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cook for another minute or two,

 

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then add in the water.  Bring to a boil, then allow the lentils to simmer for 20-30minutes, or until lentils are tender.

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You can serve at this point, by adding the stew to a bowl and squeezing a few lemon wedges over the soup.  I wanted a little more texture, so I blended a quarter of my lentils then added them back into the stew.

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It made the soup thicker and creamier.  Delicious either way!

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Grilled Zucchini and Avocado with White Wine Vinaigrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Viniagrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Vinaigrette

T’is the season–for zucchini that is.  It is at almost every stand in my farmers market, piled into beautiful towers at my local Whole Foods, and in glistening plastic packages in my local Trader Joe’s.  There is no escaping it–not that I’d want to. Zucchini is one of those vegetables that if you plant it–you will be rewarded with an enormous bounty–so it’s no wonder that it is everywhere right now. So what do you do with an enormous bounty of zucchini?  Cook it. Pickle it. Give it away–even in secret as some of my neighbors have, by leaving an anonymous  bag full of zucchini on my doorstep.  It’s a good thing that I happen to like zucchini.  This recipe happens to be something that came about as an accident.  I was planning on making my favorite saute of zucchini and mushrooms but my plans and Page’s needs sometimes collide and I had to make an adjustment.  In this case, I had some deliciously ripe avocado’s that Page insisted that I serve her for dinner.  I had already begun to slice the zucchini so I had to cook it. So I decided why not just combine the two and make a salad of sorts. Boy, am I glad I did. I used a white wine vinaigrette, but this is great with a lemon garlic vinaigrette too!

 

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Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 large avocados, sliced

1/4 cup of feta cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil or grape seed

2 tablespoons of butter or ghee

sea salt and black pepper to taste

For Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

sea salt to taste

Directions: Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan.

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Once hot, add the zucchini slices to the pan and cook until brown–about 2-3 minutes on each side.

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Transfer the zucchini to a plate, season with sea salt and black pepper.

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Slice the avocado and arrange in a single layer on a plate.  Top the avocado with the grilled zucchini.  Sprinkle with feta if using, then sprinkle with parsley. Lastly top with vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!

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DIY Tater Tots–How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

How amazing are potatoes?  I love them in every form.  So does Page.  I have been wanting to do a tater tot for her for a long while now.  They are super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  You just throw the potatoes in, and the processor does all the work.  All you have to do is form the tots. If you’re not into forming a few hundred tiny balls of potatoes, this also works as a recipe for hash browns–yes a two for one! I’ve used potato starch in this recipe, but feel free to use all purpose flour if you so choose. You can also substitute almost any potato in this recipe.  Sweet potato tater tots are pretty awesome!

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Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes peeled–I used fingerlings and purple

1 tablespoon of potato starch (can sub for any flour you’d like)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 tablespoon of potato starch

1 cup of high heat oil like safflower or grapeseed

sea salt to taste

Directions: Place the potatoes in a pot in cold water–enough to cover them, and bring to a boil–allow to cook for 6-7 minutes,

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then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Once cool, grate with a box grater, or grate in a food processor.  Once grated, wrap the shredded potatoes in cheese cloth and wring out all the water that you can,  transfer to a large bowl, add seasoning, and potato starch, and form tater tots.

 

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TIP: If your dough is sticky wet your fingers, balls will be easier to form. Heat oil in a skillet. Once hot fry tots in batches until brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with salt and  serve with my recipe for ketchup and enjoy!

 

 

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Miso Buttered Salmon

Miso Buttered Salmon

Miso Buttered Salmon

 

So now that you know how to make miso butter,  what do you do with it?  The truth is, there are a myriad of things that you could use miso butter on, one of my favorites is on veggies.  Especially corn.  Page loves corn, and I buy organic non gmo corn at the farmers market whenever it’s in season.  I shave it and freeze it.  Then I throw it in a pot with no water and allow the water to cook off, once it has I add in miso butter, and let the butter  brown.  The kernels get the nutty flavor from the brown butter, with an unami flavor from the miso–talk about delicious!!  Besides corn, I love it on green beans, sauteed spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage–just about any veggie you can think of, miso butter makes it better.   Do you know what else miso butter makes better?  Meat! Almost every kind of meat.  Steak with miso butter is a revelation! Seafood with miso butter is ascension!   This recipe is so delicious, I find it hard to eat salmon any other way.  Every bite of this deserves it’s own moment of silence, it’s own moment of indulgence.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon steak, patted dry

2-3 Tablespoons of miso butter

1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt more if you desire

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F.  Season salmon steak with garlic salt.

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Using a butter knife apply a thin layer of miso butter on the top and sides of the salmon.

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Place the salmon on a foil lined baking sheet, then place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.  In my experience 10 minutes is usually the perfect time, you only want to go longer if you salmon steak is thicker than 1 inch.  Longer than 15 minutes and your salmon is probably over cooked.

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Remove the salmon from the oven.  It should be nice and caramelized on top.  Serve and enjoy!

 

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DIY Onion Soup Mix–Copy Cat Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix

 

DIY Onion soup mix

DIY Onion soup mix

There are three seasonings that I can rely on my mom to have in her cupboards at all times: Lawry’s seasoning salt, Lemon pepper, and Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix.  In fact while writing this, I was tempted to call her, and have her take a picture of what is inside her cupboards, just so that you guys could see, but she’s not that technologically savvy.  She barely knows how to get the pictures that I send her of Page through text.  When I was growing up my mom would rent  4-5  movies and make a bunch of snacks for us watch over the course of the weekend.  One of those snacks was a sour cream and onion dip.  She’d take a container of sour cream and mix in a package of the Lipton Onion Soup mix–simple but delicious.  We’d happily nosh on potato chips, celery, and carrot sticks dipped in the onion dip while we watched the latest movie release from Blockbuster video–yes I just dated myself!  Oh the memories!  I haven’t had that dip in years!  I’d say a good 10-12 years, maybe longer.  It’s not something my mom makes any more.  I wanted to make it for me and my hubby, but I didn’t want to buy the Lipton’s seasoning. I had an idea of what was in the seasoning–or at least I thought I did– dried minced onion, onion powder, dried green onion–but to be sure I called my mom and asked her what was on the ingredient list.  Sure enough she had a box in her cupboard and  the ingredient list she read to me was anything but simple. Besides the MSG, onion powder, and cornstarch, there were a list of ingredients that had  nothing to do with onions. So I set out to do what I do best and made my own–without all the added preservatives and coloring.  I used the organic onion powder that I made myself, and added minced onion and a few herbs.  A perfect match! Tastes just like I remember it! Delicious!!

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Makes the equivalent of 1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons of organic dried minced onion flakes

3 teaspoons of organic onion powder

1 teaspoon of organic dried chives

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, if you don’t plan on using this right away, transfer it to an air tight container for later use.

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Crispy Pork Larb!

Crispy Pork Larb

Crispy Pork Larb

This is one of those dinners that is both healthy and delicious.  Trust me when I tell you when you take one bite of this you will be forever grateful that I started this blog–yes it’s that good!  For those of you who do not know, larb is a thai street food.  It’s so good that it’ll make you question how we do street food in America.  It’s bright, fresh, and full of the umami flavors that will make you go Mmmmmm… If you don’t fancy pork, no problem, you can try this with ground chicken, turkey, or even lamb and beef.  Check out my recipe for Chicken larb here.  This is one of my favorite ways to use ground meat, it’s so simple that this meal almost makes itself!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

3 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1/4 cup of diced red bell pepper

1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

1 head of romaine lettuce, leaves removed to use as cups

1/2 cup of sliced persian cucumbers

1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon of a good quality fish sauce, I used red boat

2  tablespoons of soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

Sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons of cooking oil of your choice

red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Heat oil, garlic and red bell pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant–about 15 seconds.

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Add in ground meat season with sea salt and cook until brown about 5-7 minutes.

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Once brown, add in soy sauce, fish sauce, water and red pepper flakes if using.

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Cook until liquid evaporates and pork is brown and crispy about 2 minutes. Add in lime juice, toss well, remove from heat.  Add the meat to the lettuce cups, top with a generous amount of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, red onion, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of additional lime juice, enjoy! So good!

 

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Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

 

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini  Sauce

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

Whenever I eat out at a Mediterranean restaurant, I find it hard to not just compose a meal from the appetizer menu.  With things like lentil soup, lemon and garlic potatoes, hummus and pita bread, fattoush salad, grape leaves, and fried cauliflower on the appetizer menu, who needs a full entree!  I often find myself struggling not to order one of every thing on the appetizer menu.  I usually settle upon the potatoes or the fried cauliflower.  The fried cauliflower is amazingly simple.  Unlike most fried things that come dusted in flour or some other type of breaded base, this doesn’t.  This recipe calls for only one ingredient, cauliflower!  The tahini sauce is great with this, but the cauliflower is pretty amazing on its own.  Your kids will love these cauliflower florets, mine did!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower

2 cups of grape seed oil or another high temp oil

Sea salt to taste

Ingredients Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

4 tablespoons of tahini paste

8 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of lemon juice, more if you like

2 cloves of garlic grated

Directions: Pre-heat the oil to 320F in a deep fryer.  Add ingredients for the tahini sauce to a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy, then set aside. If you want this to be extra creamy, place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy, then transfer to a bowl.

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Cut the cauliflower into florets.

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Add the cauliflower florets to the deep fryer.

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Fry until golden brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with sea salt, serve and enjoy!

 

 

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