Hey Dal Face!

May 21, 2011

Red Lentil Dal with Garden of Eve spinach

Since learning that BPA is in the lining of most canned foods–and not wanting to serve it up to my baby along with her beans–I’ve begun cooking more dried legumes. Specifically, the red lentil. It cooks quickly, practically purees itself and provides protein, fiber, iron and folate. Here are two red lentil recipes I gladly eat alongside my little one:

Red Lentil Dal with roots & greens

Red lentils are thickened with root veggies and get their green hue from fresh spinach (organic spinach came from our winter CSA share with Garden of Eve farm). Packs a good amount of Indian-spiced heat. Freezer-friendly!

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1 large organic golden potato, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder or Garam Masala
  1. Add lentils, potatoes and onion to a medium pot. Add 3 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add peas, carrots, spinach and spices and cook until carrot is tender and the lentils are a stew-like consistency, about 20 minutes. Stir in a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
  3. If serving to baby, use an immersion blender to puree to desired consistency.

Lentil Quinoa Banana Bars (not pictured)

These bars were one of baby’s very first finger foods and could stand in for a meal in a pinch. In my opinion, they are what snack bars should aim to be–balanced nutrients, faintly sweet, unprocessed and portable.

  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 5 Tbsp flour (unbleached, whole wheat, or gluten-free variety)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a 2 qt saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add lentils and quinoa and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, mix banana, flour and cinnamon. Add cooled lentil mix. Spread into an oiled 8″x8″ baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Cool, cut into bars, and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Cut into bite-size cubes if serving to baby.

(Both recipes are adapted from Baby Bistro)


Potato Pancakes Go Purple

October 26, 2009

How do you celebrate Oktoberfest, a pile of purple spuds, and an amazing 7-0 TCU Horned Frogs football season?

You make potato pancakes, and you make them purple.

We held a tame (lame?) Oktoberfest celebration in our living room last night: no meat, one can of beer, and a Coen Brothers flick. I mashed up a pile of purple spuds from our CSA to make a dense & hearty pancake, a slight departure from the traditional grated, crispy variety. Below are some photos of the cakes and all the accoutrement–caramelized onions, strained yogurt and applesauce–along with a super easy recipe.

Oh, and Go Frogs!

Purple Potato Pancakes with caramelized onions, strained yogurt and applesauce

Purple Potato Pancakes with caramelized onions, strained yogurt and applesauce

Purple Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Onions

  • 7-8 medium purple potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • generous pinches of salt & pepper
  • Spray oil (Pam)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup strained or Greek yogurt, or low-fat sour cream
  1. Put the potatoes in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender 15-20 minutes. Strain and let cool.

  2. In a small pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook over medium-high until some browning occurs. Turn down heat to low and continue cooking at least 20 minutes.
  3. Peel the potatoes with a paring knife (skins should come off easily), and run through a ricer or mash with masher. Add butter and mix with fork. Add milk and egg and mix. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out potato balls (about 15) onto a plate. Heat a nonstick griddle to medium and spray with oil. Cook four at a time, flattening the potato ball with the back of a spatula (spray spatula with oil to prevent sticking). Cook about 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown.
  5. Serve with the applesauce, yogurt, and caramelized onions. Enjoy!
Mashed potato balls, cafeteria style (pre-smooshing)

Mashed potato balls, cafeteria style (pre-smooshing)

The super-sweet caramelized onions

The super-sweet caramelized onions

My simple yogurt-straining contraption (paper towel and a take-out container)

My simple yogurt-straining contraption (paper towel and a take-out container)


Sunny Eggs with Mediterranean Baba

Summer veg fusilli_3

Eve's tomatoes and broccoli with arugula pesto and mozz

My first taste of Baba Ghanoush. It was college–I was a late Ghanoush bloomer–at a Middle Eastern restaurant in the Lower Greenville neighborhood of Dallas. I took one bite and exclaimed, “this is baba-gha-burnt!” Clearly I was not a fan of the strong smoky flavor of tahini.

I still find tahini a bit harsh, so why was Baba Ghanoush the first thing to pop in my head when we got a gorgeous purple-striped eggplant from our farm share? I’ll blame the raging August heat that is begging for some cold food. A cool, versatile spread that can get you through the week without turning on the oven? Priceless, right?

Well, okay, I used the energy-efficient toaster oven. The eggplant halves just fit onto the toaster oven tray. Meant to be. Check out the Mediterranean-inspired (tahini-less) recipe below.

I also pulled a container of arugula pesto from the freezer. Its spiciness pairs well with the naturally-sweet farm produce in the fridge–heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, baby eggplants and broccoli–to name a few. So, I’m getting some miles out of my spreads and it’s only Wednesday! Some pairings to try:

Goat cheese and Baba quesadillas with arugula pesto and sweet corn

Sungold tomatoes with Baba dip

Whole wheat fusilli with arugula pesto, farm veggies and fresh mozzarella (pictured)

Sunny-side up eggs on Baba-smeared flax toast (pictured)

Mediterranean Baba

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, not rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 7-8 cleaned basil leaves, julienned or coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts, optional
  1. Preheat toaster oven to 350. Cut eggplant in half and rub with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cut the tips off the garlic cloves & rub with oil as well. Place eggplant on a bake sheet, cut side down, with garlic and roast 25 minutes. Turn off oven and let the eggplant sit in warm oven another 5 minutes. You should be able to easily pierce the eggplant with a fork. Let cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, pour chickpeas and smash with the back of a fork to desired texture.  Scoop the room-temperature eggplant from its skin and into the bowl (but don’t throw out the skin, it’s delicious!). Squeeze the roasted garlic  into the bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, the vinegar or lemon juice, and basil. Mash together until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with pine nuts, if using.
  3. Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate several hours or overnight (dip will thicken). Enjoy as a dip with vegetables, on quesadillas, pizzas, sandwiches, or by the spoonful!

Fancy Me a Scone!

July 13, 2009


Overflowing with blueberries at your house too? You can only make so many blueberry pancakes!

This Blueberry Oat Scone recipe comes from Molly Wizenberg, who authors the food blog, Orangette, and the “Cooking Life” column in Bon Appetit magazine. I’ve been a fan since discovering her blog, and like to think of us as kindred spirits…both born & bred Oklahomans who split for a coast to cook, eat, and write about it.

Follow the link to the recipe–enjoy!

Blueberry Oat Scones

Wheat and Wild

July 9, 2009

pasta_zucchini3Salmon_nicoise2My overstocked fridge continues to inspire more home cooking this week. Homemade Whole Wheat Fettucine with Zucchini and Beans fed us at the beginning of the week, when I had energy to roll out fresh pasta like my Grandma Efrosina (with the pin, not the crank). Salmon Nicoise Salad with yogurt-cucumber-dill dressing was a way to highlight Garden of Eve‘s beautiful lettuce and farm-fresh eggs. The salmon is wild Sockeye from Alaska–far from local, but worth purchasing when in season and shipped fresh.

I try to choose wild salmon when possible since there are both health and environmental risks to eating farmed. Since wild salmon can be prohibitively expensive, try buying beautiful fillets and steaks once a year when fresh, and choose frozen and canned the rest of the year. Most canned salmon is wild Alaskan and is already cooked and ready for salads and, my favorite, croquettes.

To better understand the differences between wild and farmed fish and for recommended servings per month, please click the link:

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide

If you will be in the NY area this fall, The Hunger and Environmental Nutrition group of the Greater NY Dietetic Association will be hosting a discussion on sustainable seafood September 10th (more details to come). Come hear the latest  recommendations on what we should eat (and avoid eating) from local and international waters. We have an excellent panel of experts lined up representing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Blue Ocean Institute, and Reclam the Bay (RCTB).

Also, please check out the first major documentary about “the imminent peril facing the world’s oceans due to the devastating impact of overfishing,” End of the Line. It may be playing at a theater near you!

Chard_black bean_saladBlueberry_bars2If you can’t stand the heat but still want to stay in the kitchen, here are some no-cook dishes featuring Garden of Eve’s Swiss chard and blueberries. The recipes are adapted from Jackie Newgent’s Big Green Cookbook, which is full of low-carbon cooking techniques such as marinating greens that are traditionally slow-cooked, and baking in the microwave.

The Swiss chard & black bean salad was a hit at yesterday’s July 4th BBQ. The spice & acidity of the jalapeno-lime dressing was a nice palate cleanser between bites of Nathan’s famous-ly fatty & rich hot dogs.

For those of you looking to tote something healthy to a summer pot luck, this is the perfect alternative to a humdrum lettuce salad. You can dress the chard ahead of time and not worry about a sad, soggy mess. Actually, the longer you marinate, the better the texture and flavor.

The Blueberry crumble bars, pictured above, were 100% microwaved! Made with whole wheat flour and a whopping pint of blueberries, these can be a hearty dessert, breakfast or snack. Toss all thoughts of previous microwaved disasters, after these bars take a spin on your microwave carousel the topping stays crunchy and the bread super moist!

Tomato, Chard and Black Bean Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

  • Juice of 1 lime (2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 small jalapeno with some seeds, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 packed cups (1 bunch) chopped fresh chard leaves and tender stalks
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained, not rinsed
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  1. Whisk the lime juice, oil, jalapeno, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the chard, beans, tomato, and red onion and gently toss.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

Blueberry Crumble Bread Bars

For bars:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (local if possible)

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted organic butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  1. Grease a 2-quart microwave-safe dish (glass Pyrex rectangle works well).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the egg, soymilk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto the the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Gently fold in the berries and spread into the greased dish.
  4. For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Blend with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over the batter in the dish.
  5. Microwave on medium (1200 watt microwave) or high (800 watt microwave) about 13 minutes, rotating the dish halfway for even cooking. Let cool 20 minutes on a rack. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.

Mind Your Peas & Eggs

June 28, 2009

Pea_risottoBoiled_egg_greens2Highlighting some of our CSA foods this week with two simple preparations. Wednesday’s dinner was risotto with sugar snap peas, pea greens, garlic scapes and cilantro, while my lunch salad featured our farm’s mixed greens and eggs. Pretty sure I eventually ate the mesclun greens, but honestly, the eggs stole the show!

Pea Risotto with Garlic Scapes and Cilantro

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 rounded cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 garlic scape, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, chopped crosswise into 1/2″ pieces
  • 6 cups uncooked pea greens, steamed and chopped
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsps butter (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Combine the broth and water in a 2 qt saucepan; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and keep on a back burner.
  2. Heat the oil in a 4 or 6qt saucepan and cook onion 3 minutes over med-high heat. Add rice and stir until well-coated and starts to make a slight crackly sound, about 1-2 minutes. Add wine; stir continuously until wine almost evaporates. Stir in the garlic scape.
  3. Bring the broth back to a low simmer and add one ladle-full at a time to the risotto pot, stirring continuously.  Once the addition of broth is absorbed by the rice, add the next ladle-full (you will continue this process for 18-20 minutes). Around minute 15, add the snap peas. Around minute 18, add the pea greens. When the rice is nice and al dente, but creamy, add the cilantro.
  4. Finish the risotto by adding the butter and stirring vigorously for one minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Hard Boiled Egg

  1. Place the number of eggs you want into a dry saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Just cover with cold water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil then immediately remove from heat and cover with a lid.
  3. Let the eggs sit 13 minutes. Drain the hot water then run eggs under cold water until they are cool enough to handle, 3-5 minutes. Peel immediately.