Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkish Red Lentil Soup and Aloo Dosa

Sumac, cumin, paprika, and pepper are the primary spices in this hearty soup. I served it with lemon wedges, sliced red onion, and crisp potato dosi. I'll be serving it again, with a dollop of sour cream and thin-sliced leeks.

I fried aloo dosi, a fermented rice crepe, and enjoyed them with the soup. When I made these, I shredded raw potato, broiled it with olive oil and spices, then crumbled it over the top of the dosi as it was being cooked. Much like a thin pancake, I flipped it over and continued frying.
For breakfast, I filled potato dosi with stir-fried veggies.

Over the holiday I purchased "Saha - a chef's journey through Lebanon and Syria" by Greg and Lucy Malouf. (I had a 50% off coupon.) In the forward, Anthony Bourdain writes: "There is, perhaps, no major world cuisine as unexplored, unsung, underexposed, unappreciated or as inexplicably under-represented as Lebanese cooking."

I had a chance to enjoy quite a few Lebanese meals while on Pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, and was determined I'd buy a cookbook if the right one came along - something with gorgeous photographs, a tasteful layout, and abundant text with the recipes. This book is just that, beautifully done.

A Drive in the Country - Harts Lake

We spent Saturday afternoon driving through bucolic countryside and stopped here at Harts Lake. It drizzled off and on all afternoon, so we didn't hike or canoe. Just wanted to enjoy the drive. We stopped at a little cafe for BBQ Beef Brisket on a bun, with onion rings. It was sure good; because portions were huge, I saved half of my meal for Sunday's lunch. Made a coleslaw, and I was all set.

We also did some shopping at the mall - George got a new coat and jacket, each for $20.00 and saved $70.00. I bought new bath towels for George's bathroom and saved $50.00. Can't beat that!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Halls'

Rue and Annie lost their power for three days, so we held Thanksgiving at her parent's home. They did all the cooking, serving a wonderful meal - all of us went home with left-overs.

The warmth of the cozy wood stove and the babies - 2 month old Charlie, and 19 month old Daniel - provided all the entertainment.

George is putting plastic up on all the windows (yes, a tad late), and I've been keeping busy in the kitchen today.

I made White Fungus Soup using some of the Thanksgiving turkey; we seasoned the broth with lime, chile sauce, and cilantro.

These carrots were served hot, garnished with roasted coconut, currants, and Mandarin oranges.
We enjoyed these Apple Praline Cupcakes with Turkish coffee for an afternoon break today. I used my espresso machine to make froth for the coffee, which I added to the top. Then I poured the tiny brown bubble froth from the Turkish coffee on top of that. The caramelized topping on the cupcakes was made with walnuts, butterscotch chips, and Whidbey's Port Chocolate Sauce, given to me by Ruhiyyih this summer. Only a slight drizzle is necessary, so aromatic and flavorful.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Heaven is in the Details - Playing With Food

We are having our first real snowfall right now - beautiful floating flakes. The temps are quite cold for this area - in the high 20's. George finished his furnace tubing/insulation under the house, and so the system is now running more efficiently. His next project is to install new insulation under the floor.

Yesterday I went to the garden and pulled kale (a lawn-bag full), turnips and beets. I have so much produce, I'll probably have to juice most of it, to save the nutrients.
Kale juice has the most beautiful deep green color. I'm storing it in a small bottle in my refrigerator.

My friend Jim at the garden was pulling his root crops too, and gave me beets and turnips. I did some experiments, playing.
I shredded the turnips and made salad, with tart green apple, carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper, and peach syrup.
I served it raw one night, then steamed the next, adding fenugreek sprouts and moong bean sprouts for a crunchy texture.
I made a simple carrot-apple salad, a beet-red onion salad, and hummus for our pita bread, served with mounds of steamed greens, shallots and olives. I really didn't have a meal planned, but rather just played with variations of turnip, carrot, apple, beet and onions. It was enjoyable, experimenting with the ultimate effects of context, color and texture.

Just Keeping Track

Just marking these so I don't loose track of them: Taraz's videos of Louhellen, and our family's hiking/camping trips. The most joyous emotions are found in our connections with family, friends, and Nature. They are all on Facebook, so an account is necessary to view them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of Snowfall, Hot Curries, Dried Leaves, and Eggs

Found this beautiful image on Flickr, by Darvin Atkeson. A new dusting of snow, the fog creeping through the trees, Yosemite embraces transition into winter.

This is my favorite time of year - not autumn anymore, not quite winter. The new weather invites brisk hikes and warm curries. A recent purchase: Camellia Panjabi's "50 Great Curries of India", with a CD showing the markets of India, the cooking process, and her suggestions for adapting the regional cuisine of northern India to western palates. Much simpler than the more complex processes I've come to associate with south Indian food. Both approaches are impacted by Ayurvedic teachings and approaches; Panjabi offers a concise review - the sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent.

yurvedic menus focus on a balance of these tastes, all of which have impact on the body. She says that the best Indian food cannot be found in restaurants. It is prepared in the home. However, street food in India is some of the best in the world, served on dried leaves. I noticed this woman working with a bundle of leaves and wondered if she spent her day making leaf bowls. It inspired me to dry a few Laurel leaves from the tree in our backyard.
I shapied them into a vessel, and filled them with fried paneer.

This week I made two types of cheese using only one gallon of whole milk - a walnut/cranberry ball, and paneer.
This paneer was fried. I'll make Palak Paneer with kale, and a black olive sauce.
Chopped vegetables for soup, using the last of our garden beans.
Heating up: chorizo-vegetable soup. Thickened, it became a curry.
Greek Pita bread, seasoned with za'attar. Wonderfully chewy.

I partnered kale (still growing) with spinach noodles for a casserole. Carrots, cabbage, potatoes, beans, onion, leeks, and garlic are simmered with the kale, a smoked ham hock, and the whey left-over from cheese-making. Eventually the broth thickens, making its own sauce for the casserole. The cooked noodles and vegetables are poured into a casserole dish, topped with cheddar and mozzarella, and baked for 30 minutes. (Click on the photo, and you can see the detaiI.) I served this with tomato-huckleberry chutney, and yogurt.

And lastly, Sarah's beautiful eggs, which are so precious I had to take a photo of them, using the dim winter light in my kitchen.

Sure awakens a never-ending, wistful yearning to live out in the country.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Huckleberries Along the Gold Creek Trail

We've hiked this trail before and always found huckleberries. Fortunately, I brought along a plastic bag, so we picked a few.

When we arrived home I used the huckleberries for a beef tagine, with dried apricots, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, red pepper, onion, garlic, and spices - Turkish Bahrat and Panch Phoron.

Bharat and Panch Phoran are spice blends that impart stunning aromas and flavors in meat stews. Bharat is a blend of sweet red paprika, black pepper, ground cumin, coriander,
cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, and nutmeg. They simmer in the tagine for several hours. Panch Phoran contains whole seeds - cumin, radhuni, fennel, fenugreek, and nigella - that I temper, then grind, and add at the end of cooking - they add a punch that enhances the Bharat.

Hiking the Gold Creek Trail and cooking with the huckleberries - a real autumn treat!

Kale Cabbage Waldorf Salad - with Peanut Dressing

This waldorf salad has pears, apples, golden raisins and currants, red onions, red peppers, and mixed nuts. Dressing options: Peanut dressing (here); creamy poppy seed dressing; orange-walnut dressing - add Mandarin orange segments; huckleberry dressing - add huckleberries.

Radicchio-Red Pepper Au Gratin

Yes, even after a frost, the kale, chard and radicchio are still stalwart offerings from the garden. The radicchio-red pepper au gratin was served with a basmati rice/black sprouted barley blend, beef tagine, yam poriyal, and fried rice balls filled with cheese. Wonderful taste thrills, but the meal doesn't photograph well - abysmal indoor lighting; and stews, au gratins, and poriyals always look like they have been run over by a truck. However, all I had to purchase for this meal was one yam and a small steak - everything else was stuff I always have on hand.

A Sunday Devotional - Music and Waffles

Video from this devotional, availble here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Birth of Baha'u'llah Celebration at UPS

This is our next door neighbor, Jen, reading about the life of Baha'u'llah at Tacoma's holy day celebration, the Birth of Baha'u'llah. Twenty-seven students participate in the Baha'i Club at the University of Puget Sound.
They presented a program of harp music, readings and prayers. Prayers were recited and chanted in various languages, and a meal was served. We brought Erlinda, (shown sitting next to me in the last video). She was raised with her two sisters in a Baha'i orphanage in Honduras. She is studying Psychology at Pierce collage, and this was an opportunity for her to meet students in the Baha'i Club.
Over 50 people attended, many of whom are newly acquainted with the Baha'i Faith.

Colors For Lunch - Cuisine From South India

Dakshin is the word applied to south Indian cooking. The food is ablaze with intricate colors and textures, with every little detail uniquely its own. The soup here, called Rasam, is a blend of tamarind, tomatoes - and any vegetables left over from the garden. Sometimes it is thick like a sambar, and can be poured over rice; other times it is so thin it can be drunk like a watery V8 that is piquant and tasty.

I prepared coconut curd salad, made with home-made yogurt and cilantro, and tempered with mustard and cumin seeds. The carrot-currant-cabbage salad has a light lemon dressing, and has minute amounts of red and green peppers, some hot and fiery.
This broth is the beginning of squash soup, a mixture of pureed squash and chicken broth. Chorizo sausage and turmeric add the color. Potatoes are cooked, then fried, and added to this soup. Like east-Indian sambars, there is always a touch of buttermilk or cream.
When working out in blustery cold weather, the spices in these dishes are warming, lingering long after the meal is finished.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Bravo! To The Salishan Children and Teachers

This is Lisa, with some of the many children in the Salishan neighborhood who attend children's classes in her home. Feast was held last night, and about 25 children attended.
The children recited prayers, then had an art class.
They gave away all their projects, and now my refridgerator has a collage on it!
Needless to say, we were all proud of them and their teachers. Way to go! Simply wonderful!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Multi-grain Rye Bread and Chimichurri

I used flax seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, dried cranberries and peanuts in this rye bread. It was baked inside of a cast iron pot, with the lid on so the top crust wouldn't turn dark.
A spoonful of Chimichurri was spread on little slices, topped with shredded mozarella cheese. This would have been better with home-made feta-type cheese. I'll make some today.

Anatolian Cop Sis ~ Flatbread, Meat and Onions

This popular Anatolian kebab, cop sis, is traditionally made with lamb scraps - 'Cop ' means rubbish in Turkish. I added small lentils and other vegetables to this meal, to use up left-overs. I kept my flatbread crisp, but in the original recipe it is softened, and the filling is rolled up inside, with a sprinkling of lemon juice and fresh parsley.