When I was a kid I disliked soups and stews, and hated even the idea of lentil soup. Fortunately I became more open-minded as an adult, and found that I absolutely love lentil soup. It’s very healthy for you, to boot.
The red lentils in this recipe break down and make a very creamy soup. Green and brown lentils may be substituted, but black lentils don’t work out well.
Dutch oven, or a large pot
2 medium carrots, diced or sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, about 1 ½ boxes of store-bought
Substitute with vegetable broth for a vegan soup
2 cups dried red lentils (about 1 pound)
Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear, roughly a minute
You can try other vegetables as substitutes or additions, including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms, celery, or whatever you have on hand.
Heat dutch oven over medium heat with olive oil, until it shimmers
Sauté carrots and onion until softened (maybe 5 minutes)
Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, thyme, and salt. Cook until fragrant (about a minute)
Stir in lentils, tomato sauce, and broth
Bring to a simmer and cover
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Optionally, stir in (up to) 5 cups of spinach before serving.
I am shocked, shocked I tell you! that my children actually enjoyed this recipe. I’m not sure why, perhaps they have given up all hope of enjoying a decent meal from my kitchen and now sullenly submit to my demands that they eat the goddamn food that I paid for and worked hard to put in front of them and it’s not like you do any chores around… Ahem. I got a little off track here.
Whatever the reason, they ate this one on my first attempt.
These are basically middle-eastern meatballs. You can cut in other things with the meat, serve them in a variety of ways, whatever floats your boat. (I rather enjoyed wrapping them in some naan with rice.) It’s a meatball. It’s the spices that make it.
The oven instructions are below. We haven’t grilled them yet, but they should do great, just use a little grill-sense. It’s a reasonably easy and fast recipe, ~20 minutes to prep and ~20 minutes to cook.
The recipe plus rice and other sides makes enough for 6-8 people.
2 pounds of ground beef – don’t get a lean mix! 80-85% seems good
mix in other ground meats as your fancy takes you, but you need some fats – don’t go too lean
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 1/4 cup dried
1/2 small onion, diced fine
1 red bell pepper, diced fine
Garlic, 3-4 minced cloves
Paprika, 1 tsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Cumin, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, 1/2 tsp
If you plan on skewering the meat, and you’re using bamboo or wood skewers, soak them in water for ~30 mins.
Preheat oven too 350°
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (don’t overmix)
Form the mix into oblong patties, about kielbasa-thick
If you’re skewering, shove in the skewers now or form the patties around the skewers
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or grill for ~20 minutes, flipping at least once
For the last couple of minutes turn on the broiler to brown the meat
Usual disclaimer with ground meat dishes: make sure the internal temp is at least 160° before serving.
Serve with some traditional middle-eastern sides, like:
The original recipe was pretty strict about amounts, but we’ve found that this recipe is pretty tolerant of variation.
4 cups very coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ medium head)
Substitute 1 bag of dry slaw, 2 if you’re really feeling it
2 x 7-ounce packages instant udon noodles
discard any flavor packets, if they’re included
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Ground pork, between a 1/2 and 1 pound
Substitute a similar amount of shiitake mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish
Scallions, around a half-dozen
Chop the white parts
thinly slice the dark green parts and set aside for later
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
⅓ cup mirin
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
Put six cups of water on to boil while you work on step 2
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set skillet aside.
While the cabbage is finishing on low heat:
Place udon in a large heatproof bowl (or pot if you don’t have one) and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit 1 minute, stirring to break up noodles, then drain in a colander.
Transfer noodles back to bowl and toss with sesame oil.
Transfer cabbage to bowl with noodles. Wipe out skillet.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high and add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs.
Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say “undisturbed,” that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing.
When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute.
Add chopped scallions (the pale parts), ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until scallions are softened and bottom of skillet has started to brown, about 1 minute.
Add udon mixture, mirin, and soy sauce and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds.
Remove skillet from heat and fold in 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and dark-green parts of scallions. Top with more sesame seeds before serving.
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste
Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands
Afterwards, fill the can about 1/4 to 3/4 way with water; slosh around to capture the tomato juices and bits, and set aside for a moment.
Use more water if you want a lot of sauce, or are finishing meatballs, or want it to simmer for a long time. Use less water if you don’t have much time
Slice the garlic cloves as fine as you can
Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
When the olive oil starts to shimmer, toss in the garlic and let it sizzle
BEFORE the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water from the can, and sprinkle on the oregano and pepper flakes. If you’re using fresh basil, lay it on top.
Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. It will get a nice orange-y color to the top. You can reduce it until there’s no visible water, but no more than that – remove it from the heat if you reach that point!
This recipe is great because it’s tasty and doesn’t take a lot of extra work, but it does take time. Expect prep plus cooking to be an hour.
You really want to use a heavy stainless pan, 12″ or larger.
Our local grocery store carries canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, and they are certified D.O.P., but they already have basil added (so we don’t actually put additional basil in).
I’ve tried using canned crushed tomatoes but it messes with the texture and flavor. Crushing them yourself is easy yet so satisfying.
Our best experience was making meatballs at the same time, and finishing them off in the sauce. The sauce picked up some extra flavors that made it sublime.
diced peppers (two colors, at least, for the pretty)
What is a glug, you ask?Tip over the jug, and stop pouring when it has made the glug noise the stated number of times. Yes, it is a technical term!
Pre-heat the oven to 350.
Mix all 12 eggs and the cream in a bowl using a whisk or a fork. It should get a little frothy, but not too bad.
Pull out a muffin pan, and either spray the cups with cooking spray, or use cupcake papers (which is what I do because my muffin pans are ancient and rusty).
Pour a roughly equal amount of egg/cream mixture into each cup.
Drop some of the peppers into each cup.
Drop a good-sized pinch of Mexi-cheese (or the shredded cheese of your choice) into each cup.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Understand – these are all guidelines. You don’t need to use peppers (asparagus is yummy), or Mexi-cheese. If you can’t handle dairy, coconut oil is a great substitute. Try things! Make mistakes! Enjoy!
Use metal cookie sheets, not a baking stone. You’re going straight from the fridge to a nice hot oven. The stone will not survive the transfer.
Use plenty of flour on your cutting surface.
Cut the dough into pieces of about a third of the dough each, and only pull one of them out of the fridge at a time to roll out and cut.
You are going to use so much plastic wrap with this recipe.
Its totally worth it.
To get the different colors of frosting, I usually get the biggest thing of vanilla frosting I can, and food color bits of it in sandwich bags. Cut off the tip of one corner and hey-presto decorating bags!
6 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c softened butter
1 c brown sugar, packed
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 lg eggs
1 c unsulphated molasses
Sift together the first three ingredients in a side bowl (not the one you plan on mixing everything in, you will regret that if you try)
In a mixer with a big bowl, cream butter and sugar
Add spices & salt, then eggs, then molasses
Slowly add flour mixture (not kidding about the speed – try to do it fast, and the whole thing explodes into a powdery mess)
Combine everything at low speed
Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Put down parchment paper and flour it really well
Roll to 1/8 inch thickness (WHO ACTUALLY DOES THAT? I usually do 1/4)
Cut with cookie cutters, and place them on the cookie sheet
This is a great side for pretty much any meat dish, especially on a cool fall day. The smaller, skin-on potatoes are tasty and not nearly as bad for you as a full-size, peeled and boiled starch-bomb white potato.
3 pounds of small red, white, and/or purple potatoes
Lots of supermarkets carry 2- and 3-pound bags of mixed, pre-washed small potatoes, which is really handy if you want more colors
6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
A couple of shakes of black pepper
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400° F
Halve and/or quarter your potatoes; chunks should be roughly between 1 and 3 cubic inches
Toss the chunks into a freezer bag with the remaining ingredients, adding enough olive oil to coat the potatoes, then mix in the bag
Spread the potatoes into a single layer on a pan or baking stone
Bake for an hour, flipping everything over at least once to keep things from scorching