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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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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Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

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Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

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Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

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Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

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Persian Spiced Salmon Kabobs

Persian Spiced Salmon Kabob's

Persian Spiced Salmon Kabob’s

 

I love a good kabob and lately I’ve been craving them.  Salmon is such a hearty fish, and there are many great ways to prepare salmon, but when you want to switch things up a bit–grilled salmon is the way to go.  I made a paste to adorn this salmon, and it’s rich in Mediterranean flavors.  I used sumac, which can be found in any middle eastern store, or in your local Trader Joe’s–it’s where I got mine.  Sumac is tart,  sour and is often used in place of lemon in middle eastern recipes.   If you can’t find sumac, then by all means feel free to substitute with the zest of a lemon.  The flavor is this dish is fantastic.  The fresh thyme was amazing! I felt like I was eating at one of my favorite Persian restaurants.  Page really loved it, and my husband could not stop with the compliments.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

cook time: 7 minutes

Total time: 12 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1lb of salmon– dried with paper towels, de-skinned, and cubed into 1 inch pieces

1 teaspoon of sumac powder– can substitute with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of fresh thyme-stems removed

1 teaspoon of olive oil–or oil of your choice

sea salt to taste

Directions: To a small bowl add the garlic powder, cumin powder, fresh thyme and oil, mix well and set aside.

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Rub the spice mixture on the salmon,

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then add the salmon to skewers,

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Grill the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side, remove from grill, serve and enjoy!

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Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

Spice rubbed Salmon with lemon cream sauce

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

I love salmon, especially perfectly cooked salmon. When cooked correctly salmon is moist, tender, and oh so satisfying.  Most recipes for salmon include dill, lemon, garlic or some variation of those three ingredients. I’m a big fan of garlic and lemon, but dill is just not a flavor I’m in love with.  Besides, salmon is not a fragile fish, it can hold up to more bold flavor profiles.This particular salmon recipe is proof of that.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon fillet

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon of avocado oil or coconut oil

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Lemon cream sauce (optional)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream –can sub with yogurt

1/4 teaspoon of tabasco

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Mix the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Dry salmon fillet with paper towels, drizzle with oil on both sides, then salt, place on a foil lined bake sheet and set aside. In a small bowl mix together the paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin.

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Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon,

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Place the salmon in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how thick your fillet is.  My fillet was about 1/2 inch thick and it was done in 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon sauce and enjoy!

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Rosemary, Garlic, & Lemon Pototoes

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Rosemary, Garlic, and Lemon Potatoes

 

One of my husbands favorite side dishes.  He is a lover of all things potato, so I’m constantly trying to switch up the way that I cook them. The easiest way for me to do that is to switch up the herbs.  In this case fresh is best! The fresh rosemary really makes these potatoes sing! The pungent and earthy flavor of fresh rosemary paired with the lemon and garlic, make for a delicious potato dish!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

4 medium organic potatoes (cubed skin on)

1 Tablespoon of fresh organic rosemary finely chopped

1 teaspoon of garlic finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of lemon powder (can sub the zest of one small lemon)

4-5 Tablespoons of grape seed oil

Sea salt to taste

Directions: Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Place cubed potatoes in,

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Cook potatoes until they start to brown, tip, cook for 5 minutes on one side, brown and then flip to the other side to brown.  Once potatoes are brown and fork tender, add the rosemary, lemon powder, and garlic, toss for ten to twenty seconds, just until you can smell the garlic, turn the fire off.

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Transfer to a plate season with sea salt toss and enjoy!

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If you like these potatoes then you’ll love my recipe for Lemon and Garlic Potatoes! You might also like these Ranch Potatoes!