Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

(recipe from fatfreevegan.com)

2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. whole cumin
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. ginger paste or 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups water or broth
3 cups dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 - 2 Tbsp. mild curry powder (to taste)
salt to taste
1 bunch kale

In a large pot, saute the onions with oil or cooking spray for about 5 minutes.  When they are becoming translucent, push them to one side and pour the cumin and mustard seeds directly onto the bottom of the pot.  Pour the canola oil over the seeds and stir them lightly.  As soon as the seeds begin to pop, mix them in with the onions.  Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for one more minute.  Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 1 Tbsp. curry powder.  Stir well.

Cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour.  Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don't stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary.

While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib.  Chop the leaves coarsely.  When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot, season to taste with salt and additional curry powder, if necessary, and add additional water if the soup is too thick.  Cover the pot.  For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup.  For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

(I couldn't find yellow split peas in Whole Foods Market!!  So I used green split peas.  This soup is not exciting, but it is hearty and satisfying.  The sweet potatoes and kale add a little interest.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harissa Spaghetti

(recipe from 101cookbooks.com)

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a big pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. harissa paste

8 oz. (1/2 lb) spaghetti (I used a quinoa/corn/amaranth pasta, since I'm trying not to do wheat)
1 small bunch kale, washed, deveined, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted (I also cut these into quarters)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of 1 lemon

Bring a big pot of water to a boil.  In the meantime, place the cloves of garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle them with a big pinch of salt.  Crush with the flat side of a knife.  Now crush and chop, crush and chop until you have a garlic paste.  Alternately, you can use a mortar and pestle.  In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic paste, harissa, and olive oil.  Set aside.

Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook per package instructions.  Just before the pasta is done, add the kale to the pasta water, count to six, drain and set aside.

Heat half of the harissa dressing in the now empty pasta pot.  Add the pasta and kale, black olives, pine nuts, and lemon zest.  Stir over the heat for a minute or so, then turn everything out onto a platter and drizzle with the remaining harissa olive oil.  (I just stirred all of the harissa olive oil into the pot along with the other ingredients.)

(Amazing.  At first, it seemed a bit too salty, but after a day (I split this up for lunches over many days) the flavors blended into an amazing spicy yummy dish.  So good.  And with that, I finally used all of my small can of harissa!  Yay!  What a culinary adventure!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Butternut Squash with Shallots and Sage

(recipe from Gourmet: Italian Kitchen magazine)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup broth or water
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. finely chopped sage
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

(I overcooked my squash, so it became more of a mash.  Ah, well.  Very yummy, with strong shallot flavor, hint of sweetness, herby sage, and the balsamic pulling it all together.  Flavorful!)