Tag Archives: food

Red Lentil Burgers


Last week, I bought red lentils from Whole Foods because, for some reason, they were out of every single type of other lentil (perils of grocery shopping on Sunday night).  Unbeknownst to me, red lentils cook a little bit differently than green or French lentils and end up really soft and smooshy.  In other words, they are not good for making a lentil salad.  But they are absolutely perfect for burgers.  So this recipe happened.  I served it with the same roasted eggplant that I posted here, but you could serve it with a salad, soup, whatever your heart pleases.

What you need:

  • 1 lb red lentils
  • bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, cut into 3 large pieces
  • celery, cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 t ginger

What you do:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add the lentils, bay leaf, carrot, celery and onion.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked (they’ll be a little mushy).
  2. Drain the lentils and allow to cool in a medium mixing bowl.  Add in the egg, parsley, garlic
  3. Once the lentils have reached room temperature, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until it reaches a burger-patty-like consistency and the mixture can be packed into burger patties without falling apart.  If you need to, add more panko bread crumbs.
  4. Heat about 3 T of olive oil in a large skillet.  Using, a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the lentil mixtures into balls and then flatten into patties.  Place in the skillet and allow to cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Enjoy!
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Chicken Tagine with Dates and Yogurt

I know it’s been awhile, but I’ve been so busy getting ready for school to start (it finally has!) that I haven’t had a moment of time to do this.  But, I promise, now that I’m in school, with a schedule, and learning new, exciting things about food every day, that I’ll update this much much more often.  My goal is daily, but we’ll see how that goes.

So over my break, I spent a lot of time cooking.  I had a lot of foods I wanted to make before being trapped in night classes.  Tagine was top on my list.  I first had Tagine when I was very young, and dates, olives and chicken were three things I hated the most, so I never thought I liked it.  Fast forward to my senior year of high school, when my family took a trip to Morocco.  You know what we had? Tagine.  I loved it and have been wanting to learn how to make it ever since.

This recipe is based off of a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, so you pretty much know it’s going to be good.  I changed it a bit though based on what I had on hand in the kitchen.

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Chicken Tagine with Dates and Yogurt (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

What you need for the Tagine:

  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced (don’t press it, it doesn’t taste as good)
  • 1 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (ground or minced fresh will do)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • zest from one lemon
  • 4 lbs skin-on chicken (I highly recommend legs or thighs, but breasts work too)
  • salt and ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • one large onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 carrots, cut into very large coins
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into sticks
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pitted dates, cut in half
  • 2 T of cilantro, chopped (you can add more if you really like cilantro)
  • 1/2 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt

What you need for the Couscous

  • 1 1/2 cup Middle Eastern couscous
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Start by combining 4 tsp of garlic, the paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the garlic and 1/3 of the lemon zest.
  2. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a dutch oven until very hot.  While the oil is heating, pat the chicken dry.  Once the oil is hot enough, place half the chicken in the dutch oven and brown on each side for about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the juices, then brown the rest of the chicken and transfer to the plate.
  3. Make sure there is at least 1 T of fat in the pan.  If you need to, add more olive oil, or drain off if there is excess.  Add the onion, the remaining 2/3 of the lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp salt and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic-spice mixture, the carrots and zucchini and cook until the spices are fragrant (should take about a minute).  Add the broth.  Scrape up any brown bits that form.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan along with any of its accumulated juices and bring it to a simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.  For thighs and drumsticks, this will be about an hour.  For breasts, it will take about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter fr the couscous in a separate pan.  Add in the shallots and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, and couscous and bring to a boil.  Simmer, covered, for about ten minutes or until the couscous is fully cooked.
  6. After the chicken is fully cooked, remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and transfer to a plate and cover with a tented piece of aluminum foil.
  7.  Try to remove as much fat as you can from the top of the broth mixture, then add the dates and bring back to a simmer until the carrots are softened and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 6-7 minutes).  Stir in the garlic-lemon zest mixture, cilantro and yogurt and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken back into the Dutch oven and serve.
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Baking with Pumpkin

I’m heading out to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend with my boyfriend and a bunch of his friends, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to escape DC for a little bit.  Since shopping is limited/much more expensive on the island, we’re all making food to bring and share.  I’m going to make a big batch of this butternut squash soup, but I’m also thinking some baked goods need to be involved.  I’ve been really curious about pumpkin cookies for a couple of weeks now, and I think now might be the time to try them out.

These are a few recipes I’m considering making, but I’d love to know if you have favorites that I should try!

These Spiced-Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Chow look awesome. And they have oatmeal so I can sort of pretend they’re healthy.

Source: Chow.com

Source: Chow.com

Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Cookies with Brown-Butter icing look heavenly.

Source: MarthaStewart.com

Source: MarthaStewart.com

These Harvest Pumpkin Scones from King Arthurs Flour also look pretty spectacular.  So many decisions!

Source: King Arthur Flour

Source: King Arthur Flour

Let me know if you’ve tried anything spectacular lately, I want to make it!

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Farmers Market Pasta Primavera

Farmers Market Pasta Primavera

I love summer squash.  This is a new love, but it’s a very real one.  My farmers market was teeming with all sorts of squashes last week, like yellow, zucchini and pattypan, and they all managed to find their way home with me.  When I was digging around in my cabinets and drawers last night trying to figure out what to make for dinner, squash was conveniently easy to find and therefore made my decision easy.

Pasta primavera is an easy dish that allows vegetables to shine.  I really love it because there are so many different colors, and more (naturally-occurring) colors usually means more vitamins and a more appetizing, flavorful dish.  This dish is also perfect for a Meatless Monday!

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 yellow squash, sliced into rings, then quartered
  • 2 pattypan squash, cut into eighths
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into rings, then quartered
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 2 cubes of frozen basil
  • Papardelle
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 T Parmesan cheese

Here’s what I did:

  1. Spread the squashes and the zucchinis in a glass 8×11 baking dish.  Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste until you have a nice, light coating.
  2. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes on 400 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, adding salt and olive oil.  Once the water boils, add the papardelle and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes.  Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  4. Once the vegetables are done, remove from the oven and add in the frozen basil and tomato.
  5. When the basil and tomato are warmed through, add in the papardelle and the pasta water, stirring to combine.  Add in the Parmesan and stir until spread evenly throughout.
  6. Serve as is or chop up some fresh basil and add it on top.  You can also sprinkle more cheese on top.
  7. Enjoy!
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Discuss: Lab Grown Meat

You’ve undoubtedly seen the news that came out last week about the lab-grown meat that was produced in the Netherlands.  Scientists apparently were able to take cells from a cow, turn them into muscle, and then form a burger patty out of them.  Scientists believe this could mean a sustainable way to produce enough meat to keep up with the growing demand for food and possibly a solution to ending world hunger.

This method of meat production clearly means less animals would have to be killed for human consumption, and could also possibly mean the end to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where animals are crammed into buildings and treated in an inhumane fashion.  So that’s a definite positive.

My issue with this stems from the fact that the meat that is produced isn’t natural (obviously).  The grown-meat is white in color, and scientists have to add food coloring to make it into the red meat color that we’ve grown to recognize.  I am also a huge believer that food should be as close to nature as possible and unadulterated by anything such as food dyes or additives.  I also have to question if this kind of meat is going to have the same vitamins and nutrients that farm-raised meat would have.

In short, I can’t make up my mind on how I feel about this lab-grown meat.  What do you think?  Would you eat meat that was grown in a lab?

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Peach and Blueberry Whole-Wheat Crisp

Peach and Blueberry Whole-Wheat Crisp

Ever since I got a cast-iron skillet for Christmas last year, I’ve been trying to come up with new fun ways of using it.  I’ve done cakes in there, eggs in there, anything I can think of, I use that cast-iron skillet for.  So when my sister showed up two nights ago with bags of produce (including tons of peaches and blueberries) I decided to go ahead and make a crisp in the skillet.

What I used:

  • 2 fresh peaches, cut into slices
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature

What I did:

  1. First I combined the flour, sugar, vanilla and butter in a bowl using a fork until it became crumbly.
  2. Then, I arranged the peaches and blueberries in the cast iron pan.  You can grease the pan if you want, but you don’t have to.
  3. Next I spread the crumbly mixture on top of the fruits and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until it was bubbly and the crumbly mixture was golden brown.
  4. Let it sit until cooled down and serve with frozen or regular yogurt (or ice cream, or whatever else delicious you want to put on top).
  5. Enjoy!

Peach Blueberry crisp

Let me know if there are any other kinds of fruits you like to add to your crisps!  I usually stick to the basics (strawberries, blueberries, peaches and rhubarb), but I’d love to know if you have any interesting suggestions!

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Farmers’ Market Finds

Pork Loin

/>I love the farmers’ market by my house on Friday nights. Especially now that there are tons and tons of peaches and tomatoes that are at their absolute peak. I’m planning on using these tomatoes and watermelon (not pictured) to make gazpacho tonight.

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