What’s for dinner (lunch, etc) part 4
May 16, 2010 in Musings etc · 2 comments
A few of the things that came out of my kitchen in late April-early May:
- Matzo brei. This is a Passover classic, but we enjoy it any time if we have matzo around. Basically, you break the matzo into pieces, soak the pieces briefly in hot water, coat them in beaten egg, and then fry them. There are two ways to do this: you can keep stirring and turning the matzo pieces as you fry them to keep them separated (which is what I usually do), or you can leave them undisturbed and let them set into a fritatta of sorts (which is how my grandmother used to make matzo brei). I like to experiment with different additions to the matzo – favorites include cheese, caramelized onions, and soy chorizo.
- Oatmeal muffins. These muffins helped me survive the winter this year. Seriously. Well, they definitely made quite a few long and cold evenings cozier and warmer, paired with a nice cup of tea. I use this recipe but change it around quite a bit, using less salt, more sugar (a mix of regular and brown sugar), half the all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour only, soy milk instead of regular milk, and baking soda instead of baking powder. Also, I always add something to the batter because plain muffins are boring! I’ve tried chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins, coconut with either walnuts or raisins or both, and blueberries that I picked at a local farm last summer and kept in the freezer. As a matter of fact, I just used the last of the blueberries for…
- Smoothies made with soy milk and frozen blueberries or pineapple. Sometimes I throw in half a banana, other times I don’t. These have been my preferred snack in the past week or two, as the weather has been getting warmer.
- Split peas, pureed and seasoned with smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is my new favorite seasoning. I love how it gives food that meat-like flavor that I sometimes miss. Actually, it’s probably not so much about the flavor of meat itself as it is about the fact that we typically associate smoked flavor with meat (bacon, ham, sausage), so adding a smoky flavor to food tricks our mind into thinking that the food is made with meat.
- Barley pilaf with mushrooms, parmesan and thyme. This was delicious stuff. I don’t make barley very often (although I hope to start making it more), and I realized as I was making this dish that I really don’t like the smell of barley as it cooks. (Anyone else out there find that odor a bit off-putting?) However, once it’s cooked, and especially once it’s seasoned with things like mushrooms, cheese, and herbs, it’s wonderful.
- Lentil and tomato soup with garlic and cumin. There are lots of recipes for lentil and tomato soup out there. I came up with this one a couple of months ago, no doubt inspired by all the recipes I’ve seen but not following any particular one. It contains just two main ingredients – lentils and canned tomatoes, plus garlic, cumin, olive oil, salt, and sugar. The key is using LOTS of garlic and LOTS of cumin. I boil the lentils separately while cooking the tomatoes with cumin, garlic, olive oil, salt, sugar, and the reserved liquid from the tomatoes, which I add in batches (as you would add water to a risotto). I then puree the tomatoes with a hand blender and some of the cooking water from the lentils, mix everything together, and bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat. My husband loves this soup and doesn’t seem to mind that it’s meatless!
- Chana masala. My recipe is inspired by Molly Wizenberg’s but I use a slightly different combination of spices, omit the cilantro, add sugar (we like our tomato-based dishes on the sweet side) and decrease the quantity of onions, which I also chop finely rather than coarsely to make the dish more palatable to my husband, who is not a fan of cooked onions. A couple weeks ago, though, I made this dish with my mom when I was in LA to visit my family, and we really went to town with the onions (my parents and I are big-time fans of caramelized onions, with my dad’s devotion probably exceeding my mom’s and mine combined).