Saturday, February 28, 2009

Artemis' Lentil Soup

This soup is from my good friend Artemis who I met in Jordan. It's a seriously delicious lentil soup, much more than the sum of its parts. I've copied and pasted the recipe from an email, hence the narrative style.

Red Lentils
5-6 cloves garlic, WHOLE
4-5 juicy tomatoes

Start with a relatively deep layer of olive oil in the bottom of the pan on a low flame, add several(As many as 5 or 6) whole cloves garlic(they're going to get super sweet anyway, so don't skimp)(don't chop them, but if you really want, you can squish them a tad. DON'T BURN THEM!).

Cook garlic until it's fairly well cooked, then add onions. Cook onions for a while.

Now here's the trick to the whole thing- get several tomatoes(3-5), the rounder hothouse shape, not roma, and cut the stems out, and then in half. No more cutting, just in half. Then put them _cut side down_ in the pan, and let them cook for a while, until they get really cooked and delapidated- you can move them around, but leave them facedown the whole time. They should get quite juicy.(You can chop them up in the pan with a spatula or something once they're done, if you don't like big tomato chunks)

While they're cooking, add some oregano. I didn't measure, but I'd say 1/2-1 tablespoon. Don't make it overpowering- it should be relatively subtle.

When the tomatoes are really juicy, you can add more veggies given your preference(If you are adding veggies, I'd add the oregano then, since they'll be coated more nicely)- I put in cauliflower, but I'm sure you could add zucchini, or anything else you think would go well with the food.

At this point, add the water(I added some buillon, I think, too) and when it boils, add the lentils, then cook as per lentil soup.

Ooh, and I forgot one ingredient last time- this would NOT be an artemis recipe without lemon juice. At or near the end, squeeze in 1/2-1 lemon's worth of juice.(The best way to squeeze a lemon is to squeeze it into a cup first,then pour it through a fork into the food.)

Oh, and this recipe is schwarztbein friendly- so add some salt.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pasta with Sausage, Mushroom and Cream Sauce

This recipe is adapted from something in the local co-op's circular. The sausage we used was sweeter turkey-chicken sausage (similar to the stuff you get from Cost-co)

1 Tbsp butter
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. sweet sausage in small pieces
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
(Preferably dry) white wine
1 1/4 c. heavy cream/half and half (this takes longer to cook obviously)
Fresh parsley (approx 3 Tbsp - 1/4 c. minced)
Parmesan cheese
(optional: a small shake of cayenne)

Sautee garlic in butter briefly on low flame, then add mushrooms. Sprinkle with white wine and salt & pepper. Turn up heat, add sausage, and cook until browned. Add cream, parsley and some more white wine, then reduce until thick. Serve over pasta with shredded Parmesan on top.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chocolate covered strawberries

For Valentines, I whipped up a nice batch of chocolate covered strawberries. The original recipe I saw called for you to "drizzle white chocolate over the top with a fork" but it turns out the white chocolate I had wasn't terribly drizzleable. We ended up putting it in a plastic bag with a hole cut out of one corner, frosting style, and distributing it that way. It's hot - watch your fingers.

Chocolate covered strawberries:
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1-2 Tbsp butter
1 # strawberries, washed and dried well
2-4 oz white chocolate (optional)
1-2 Tbsp butter

Heat the dark chocolate double boiler style with 1-2 Tbsp butter - I put it in a ceramic bowl over a saucepan of water. When the chocolate is liquidy enough, dip in and rotate the strawberries one by one until each is properly covered. Place on a cookie sheet with wax paper. When you're done with the dark chocolate, you can heat the white chocolate (with or without butter) and drizzle however seems best.

Place in fridge to harden. Some recipes say 30 minutes, some say 8 hours. I think they'd probably be fine after an hour, but I recommend bringing them back to room temperature before eating if you have sensitive teeth.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I just realized that we don't have the family pancake recipe on here. I sometimes need to check it or give it to other people, so I'm going to upload it verbatim how Mom sent it to me back when I was living in the dorms. I prefer to add baking soda and acid as per the directions below - I'm sure we all have our own variations.

Mom's Famous Pancakes

Combine dry ingredients in bowl:

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon, cardomom, ginger (optional)
handful of nuts (optional)

Combine wet ingredients in something else:
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp. oil or melted butter

Mix blended wet ingredients into blended dry ingredients, but do not overmix. Have the griddle fairly hot, so they cook quickly, but do not burn. Paint or apply vegetable oil to surface before each batch. Fruit may be added to the pancakes as you go (blueberries, banana slices, etc.)

Flip them as soon as they look ready - usually, small bubbles will appear, they will start steaming, but check as you go, as each stove is different. If they are thick, turn down the heat and let them bake so they are not burnt and uncooked at the same time. You get the idea.

These proportions lend them well to doubling, tripling, increasing by a factor of .75, etc., as you can see: everything is two of something. I usually make 3's when everyone is home. It makes a lot. If you add a little lemon juice to the milk, you have buttermilk. Then add a little baking soda to the flour, and they will be very light and fluffy.


© 1980 M. Magidow All rights reserved. Portions will differ in some areas. Rules do not always apply. Void where prohibited.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Roasted Red Peppers (for tonight's pizza)

When peppers are on sale, it must be time for pizza! We got 8 big red ones and proceeded to roast them.

There are two rules to this: (1) it won't work on an electric stove, so don't even try (you can, however, roast them on a barbecue grill); (2) do not do this right after you have just cleaned your range.

Begin by putting each pepper above a medium-high flame. I was able to group two or three together on each burner. (I am really enjoying our "new" stove with the extra long burner in the middle. The pancake griddle that fits over it is seeing a lot of action). Using long tongs, turn peppers often. (I finally found the perfect application for my huge tongs with the silicone coated tips). You will begin to see the burn pattern from the flames and can turn them accordingly. The object is to blacken as much of the skin as you possibly can.

As each pepper is done, place it into something with a cover. I often see recipes that suggest putting them in a plastic bag, but this goes against all my beliefs regarding hot food storage.

When they are cool enough to handle, hold them under running water while slipping off the skins and scooping out the innards. If there is some black skin still attached, don't worry. Since washing them does not remove any of the flavor, I suggest this approach rather than the (very messy) dry method. The water will also wash away the seeds nicely.

Pat dry and then use in any recipe calling for roasted peppers. Or make something up. At this point, your peppers are just like pimientos or the ones you buy in a jar with some fancy Italian label. They can be stored for a short time if covered with oil - or just pickle them!

P.S. the pizza crust is from the King Arthur Flour cookbook, with no variations other than using all spelt flour in place of the regular flour. It worked just fine!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Black Bean Frittata

This is not a real recipe per se - just sort of a meal idea, and you can add and subtract as you like. I bet it'd be really good with a bit of meat (chorizo), and I didn't have any cheese on hand, which would definitely make it better. Note also that you need either a metal skillet that's oven friendly, or you can try to pour things into a baking pan in the last step. Anyway, it's a Magidow classic:

1 can black beans
1/4-1/2 Bell pepper, minced
1/4-1/2 Onion, minced
Jalapeno peppers to taste, minced
Garlic, minced
3-4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Saute peppers, onion and garlic with butter or oil on a low flame, preferably in an oven friendly skillet. While it's cooking, mince up some cilantro, toss it into the eggs, and beat. You could also add some cheese to the eggs as well. Add the beans, and whatever spices you want (cumin, chili powder, etc), cooking to reduce extra liquid if necessary. Remove from heat, pour the beaten eggs over the whole mixture (I also like to put some slices of tomato or avocado on top of the eggs), and mix just till the point where the ingredients will be more or less suspended in the eggs. Don't let it get cooked too much on the stove top or you won't get good fluffiness -  put the skillet directly in the oven and cook until the eggs are done.

I like to serve it with freshly warmed corn tortillas and good salsa.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ful Medames - Fava Bean Dip

It's hard to fathom how we don't have this recipe up yet. This dish is a standard mezze and breakfast item in much of the Arab world. It's often eaten during Ramadan because it's so nutritious and filling. You can use dry beans (Brown Egyptian Favas) by soaking them overnight and then slowly simmering them, or you can just use the beans out of a can. In some places they like to leave the fava beans whole, but in other places they like to mash up the beans (my preferred approach). The toppings are up to you and can range from simple to elaborate. Eat with bread.

1 can brown fava beans
1/3 c. parsley, chopped + garnish
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil + garnish
1-2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

I also add:
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 pinch cayenne

Heat the beans, liquid and all, until warmed through. Pour them into a dish. Mix in the parsley and garlic and then mash the beans with a potato masher (or leave them whole if you prefer). Mix in the lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and remaining parsley.

Other garnish ideas:
  • Slices of hard boiled egg
  • A sprinkle of paprika
  • Onion slices
  • Chopped green peppers
  • Tomato slices
  • Pickle slices

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cabbage Stuffed with Lamb and Barley

It's hard to find a good cabbage roll. Some of them are just absurdly large. Others are in a gross tomato sauce. A lot of them simply have too much rice and not enough spice. Well, problem solved! Here's my adaptation of this recipe from Almost Turkish.

The lamb makes these pack a flavor wallop, but you can use beef instead. I like the texture of the barley better than rice and I wanted to use a whole grain, but you can use any other grain or leave it out entirely. If you can find a loose-head cabbage this will be easier, but just work with what you've got.

1 lb. ground lamb
1 large head of cabbage
1/2 c. pearled barley
1 onion, grated
1/2 c. parsley, minced
1/4 c. fresh dill, minced (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tsp. ground black pepper
1 tiny pinch allspice
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 Tbsp. butter
hot water

Cook the barley (1:1.5, 15 minutes) until al-dente. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water. You can cook the rolls on the stovetop or in the oven--if you decide to use the oven, preheat it to 375.

Cut out as much of the core out of the head of cabbage as you can. Dunk the cabbage in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes until the outer layers look cooked. Run the cabbage under cold water and carefully peel off the cooked layers. If you tear a leaf in half at the mid-rib that's OK, you'll just have smaller cabbage rolls. Repeat this ~3 times until you've removed all but the smallest leaves. Cut the ribs out of the bottoms of the leaves where they're thickest. If you want smaller cabbage rolls, cut the leaves in half.

Mix together the meat, 1 c. of the cooked barley (you will probably have some extra), onion, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, herbs, and spices. Feel free to improvise with the spices (I think I may have added mint flakes and hot paprika).

Place 2-3 Tbsp. filling (more for large leaves) at the base of each leaf and roll it up as best you can. Don't worry--you won't be graded on this. If you're going to cook these on the stovetop, melt a little butter in a large, flat pan with a close-fitting lid. If you're going to bake them, melt some butter in a large baking dish. Place the rolls in your cooking vessle so that they stay rolled.

Pour the juice of one lemon over the dish and add hot water so that it comes 1/2-3/4 up the side of the rolls. Place small pats of butter on top of the rolls. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes if you're cooking on the stovetop, adding more water if need be. If you're baking the rolls, cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.

I served these with ful medames (fava bean dip), pita, and turnip pickles. They are great for lunch the next day, but be careful not to drip the juice on your shirt!