Thursday, January 26, 2017

this is a defunct blog left up to preserve links. Expect no more updates.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lentils & Rice

Lentils and Rice

I had a coworker once mention that she was fascinated by my lunches. I looked down at my lentajes con arroz and just didn't understand.

You have so many different ways to cook lentils! She enthused. Not just φακή! You can actually eat lentils every lunch for a month and not get bored by them!

Could I?

Maybe. Let's not test that one out okay?

This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to make lentils-it's based off the Spanish lentajes con arroz- and it's the combination of spices that elevates it from dull to tasty.

you need:

  • broth
  • white rice (I usually throw in wild rice too-texture+nutrition)
  • lentils (I use brown since they take the same amount of time to cook as the rice)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • pimentón/smoked sweet paprika
  • black pepper
  • salt

-Lightly fry the onion and garlic in the oil.
-When they're soft, put in the broth, rice, and lentils to boil.
-Lower the heat and set to simmer.
-Add the spices.
-Simmer until the lentils and rice are tender. You may need to adjust the seasoning at the end.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lentils Like Baked Beans-veggie

Lentils Like Baked Beans-Veggie (on the stovetop)

adapted from this

There I was at a potluck held by my Scottish Country Dance society in the suburbs of Philadelphia and contemplating my vegetarian options.

They were shockingly few though they included deviled eggs. Oh! Beans-those should be okay (they won't be like mom's but maybe they'll be okay, said my Cuban side).

One spoonful and I was amazed. I was converted. I was
 -did she say franks and beans?-
deeply sad.

You see, I'd heard of baked beans but never in my life had them. In my life, beans went into the pressure cooker and cooked with sofrito and served over rice. Don't be silly.

It actually took longer for me to try refried beans than baked beans.

But let's walk away from that tangent and get back to these baked beans-delicious things they were, I was a zealous vegetarian at the time and so I resigned myself against them. And as an independent adult, I cook my beans in bulk and rarely because my advance planning is awful.
(usual scenario: think at work to set beans to soak. never do it. end up eating anything safe to consume without cooking as a dinner the day after.)

But then I saw this recipe- lentils like baked beans. Lentils just take 20 minutes! I have them in my cupboard! I own nothing that would be able to do this both on the stove and the oven but my experience had been with a crockpot method of cooking-stovetop it is! (Nothing was going to stop me, you see.)

So you folks who grew up with baked beans will probably find my version of the recipe to be sacrilege and just.not.right. but all I know is that I pre-portioned this for 5 lunches and ended up making more midway through the week.

you need: 
  • pimentón/sweet smoked paprika or liquid smoke, 
  • onion, 
  • garlic, 
  • lentils (mine are brown?), 
  • a lot of ketchup, 
  • syrup/honey (I used a combination of honey and golden syrup), 
  • oil (I used my strong Greek olive b/c I have nothing else), 
  • vinegar (I actually have no clue what kind of vinegar in my kitchen), 
  • mustard (mine is dijón), 
  • bay leaf, 
  • black pepper

-Fry the onion in some oil until semi-soft.
-Add in the garlic and some smoked paprika.
-Add the lentils, ketchup, water, sweet liquid, vinegar, mustard, bay leaf and set to boil.
-Lower the heat and cover to cook for like an hour or until lentils are soft.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Delight Rocky Road

(Turkish) Delight Rocky Road

I am an expatriate. I have been for many years. So many years that I am no longer sure of where I am an expatriate from.

If your upbringing is food then mine is the Caribbean fare my mother served day after day (I was a picky eater, it was the same 5 dishes every day). Or it was the fresh, tinned, or flash frozen seafood that had to have its origins at least off the shore of Northern Portugal (no southern was permitted-too Mediterranean) but preferably Galicia. I was about 16 years old when I realized that there were multiple (well-rated) brands of canned seafood and that no one else scrutinized the labels to check where it had been canned.

Supposedly these are supposed to be the groundings of my comfort foods-I've been explained to many a time that you cannot escape the food of your childhood. As an archaeologist, I agree. The strontium levels of your childhood diet are present in your teeth when you die but my lived experience is very different. I've lived immersed in different cultures and that includes its food which in turn embed themselves into my psyche.

Which is all a very roundabout, somewhat intellectualized way to say that I get very inexplicable cravings for foods I never had a child.

So I live in Greece where marshmallows are not really a thing that is common in supermarkets and a serious craving for Rocky Road left over from my years in the UK.

I spent 2 weeks thinking about rocky road. I tried making marshmallows but my stove is unconscionably high for safe food monitoring and I own no thermometer and they failed. Three times.

So here it is, an expatriate version of Rocky Road for the Eastern stretches of the Mediterranean.

you need:

  • loukomi (plain rose flavored Greek/Turkish delight), 
  • dark chocolate, 
  • biscuits
  • golden syrup (that you've carried from the UK in your suitcase) or honey, 
  • butter

optional: I've put in sprinkles and pistachios in other iterations.

-Take out your aggression on the biscuits and smash them to pieces.
-Chop the loukomi to smaller pieces than the cubes they usually come in.
-Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat.
-Put in the chocolate to melt.
-Add in the syrup.
-Take off the heat and stir in your loukomi and biscuit pieces.
-Pour into some sort of container.
-Set in your fridge.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
find it here

I think I could live on just sweet potatoes for the rest of my life. I mean that very seriously. Between the purple veined, white fleshed boniato I ate as a child, the unveined white sweet potato I ate in the UK, and the most common orange fleshed kind I've eaten pretty much everywhere I've lived, there's such variety in the sweet potato itself.

And when you roast it and smother it with cheese...well.

I fail to see how anyone could resist its siren call.

you need: sweet potato, olive oil, cayenne/smoked paprika, butter, flour, grated cheese (mozzarella and something sharper like cheddar or gouda)

-Slice the sweet potato and set it to roast tossed in oil and whatever spice (like cayenne pepper or pimenton) at 350F/180C.
-Set the slices at the bottom of a pan. Layer with cheese, another layer of potato, and another layer of cheese and so on just ended with cheese on top.
-Cover with tinfoil and bake for about an hour. Remove the foil and cook for a minute or two more.
-Let cool slightly before cutting in (so it's not watery).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pasta with corn, slow-roasted tomatoes, and garlic confit

Pasta with corn, slow-roasted tomatoes, and garlic confit
found here

This is an excellent recipe to take advantage of the height of the summer vegetables but it is versatile enough to be made with some satisfactory results in the depths of winter. Since I had gotten in the habit of slow roasting both garlic and tomatoes regularly, I can actually whip this up at any time. Especially since I accidentally made too much garlic infused oil once and can even skip that step!

It's remarkably tasty for something with such basic ingredients. I say remarkably tasty as if I didn't make it for 3 days in a row, greedily going for seconds.

you need: oil, garlic, tomatoes, corn, roast tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, pasta
optional: herbs

-Infuse oil with garlic. Set oil to simmer at a very low temperature with minced garlic pieces. The garlic should not get very golden-it should just get soft.
-Set tomatoes to roast in a 250F/120C oven in oil, salt and pepper, and some nice herbs if you've got them. It should take awhile for them to shrivel and darken-like 2 or 3 hours long.
-Dice the sundried tomatoes and rehydrate in the garlic oil.
-Smoosh the tomatoes and then let it roast for 10-15 minutes more.
-Cook the pasta.
-Break apart the garlic and put in a pot with the garlic oil, tomatoes (and their juices) and corn.
-Let the sauce warm up and add it to the pasta.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roast Garlic Soup

Roast Garlic Soup

I pretty much bring lunch every day to work. Since we have absolutely no way to heat up food and most of the food needs to be shelf-stable even in hot weather (which is feels).

As the spring heated up into summer (in April), I got into the habit of roasting, weekly, a head of garlic and a pan of tomatoes along with anything else I wanted to roast/eat that night. These two staples could then sustain me through multiple meals during the week without needing to fire up the oven. The garlic would get wrapped up and into the fridge. The tomatoes go into a jar covered with oil and then into the fridge.

One of the meals I swear on is this roast garlic soup with rice. It's like a risotto without the cheese and with a soupy component. It's creamy with a wholesome texture.

you need: roast garlic, onion, flour, rice, a few roast tomatoes, stock

-Saute the onion in oil until it's soft.
-Add in flour to become a pseudo-roux.
-Add the stock, the tomatoes, and rice.
-Let simmer until the rice is done.