Monday, November 30, 2009

French green lentil soup

6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried green lentils, rinsed and carefully picked over (Bob's Red Mill French Green Lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced (or an onion)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 6 cups water
Instructions
  • Saute leek, carrots, and celery in olive oil 5 minutes.  
  • Add garlic and remaining ingredients.  
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.  Add more water as needed.  
  • In a crock pot, cook on low heat setting 8-9 hours or high heat for 3-5 hours.  
  • Add at the end:
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Place in each soup bowl:
    • 1 teaspoon red miso
    • Dissolve the miso in a little of the soup broth or some hot water, ladle the soup in over it, stir, and enjoy.

Ghee

Ghee is butter which has had all the milk solids removed. The process of making ghee from butter preserves butterfat at room temperature for long periods of time. The other advantage of ghee as a frying medium is that it does not smoke and burn as readily as butter.

Ingredients
  • two or four sticks of unsalted butter
Instructions
  • Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan over low heat, and continue to heat while stirring from time to time. It is important to attend to the ghee frequently because it should not be allowed to burn. 
  • As the butter melts completely it will bubble, and the milk solids will float to the surface. Remove the milk solids using a spoon and continue to heat the butter. 
  • If you continue skimming solids from the surface, the foaming will stop in about 20 minutes and the butter will be almost completely clear except for some sediment that will be gathering at the bottom of the pot. 
  • Turn the heat off and allow the ghee to stand for awhile at room temperature. 
  • Most of the sediment will settle, and any remaining milk solids will float to the top. Remove these floating milk solids.
  • Carefully transfer the ghee (while it is still warm and liquid) into a clean jar, leaving the few tablespoons of unclear residue at the bottom of the pot.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature for several weeks or in the refrigerator for months.

*adapted from Flavors of India, Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff

Wild rice and porcini stuffing

This is the rice dish people ask for every Thanksgiving.
about 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup wild brown rice blend (Lundberg Wild Blend)
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (Melissa's Dried Porcini Wild Mushrooms)
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 4 ounces portobello mushrooms, cleaned & chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
 Instructions
  • Rinse rice and soak 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to make the stuffing, combine mushrooms and water in a small bowl and let soak for 20 minutes.
  • Use the strained mushroom liquid as part of the liquid to cook the rice. Cook rice until al dente (use the white rice/mixed setting on the rice cooker for soaked rice).
  • Coarsely chop the strained mushrooms and place in a large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil and ghee in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, celery, shallots, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir cranberries, parsley, thyme, and sage into the mushrooms along with the cooked rice.
  • Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Turn into a large, shallow buttered baking dish, cover, and bake in a 350 F oven until the flavors are blended and the stuffing is hot, about 20 minutes.
*adapted from Wild Rice and Porcini Stuffing, The 1997 Joy of Cooking, Becker, Becker and Rombauer