Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Cauliflower, Baby Kale, Peas and Potatoes

red lentil stew with many veggies

What the heck does an Ethiopian eat? I know they typically scoop their food with injera, a spongy flat bread. They also cook with wonderful spices such as a spicy Berbere Blend. The blend I purchased from Summit Spice and Tea consisted of paprika, onion, cayenne, garlic, ginger, salt, fenugreek, basil, pepper, turmeric, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, clove, and mace. Whew, that's a lot of spices so save yourself some time and just buy the blend.

This recipe was inspired by Anshu's Red Lentil Sambar in Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson. I've made it before and every time I change ingredients depending on what I have on hand. The recipe in the book uses Indian Sambar spices. I've also made it with Panch Phora (a whole seed blend of fennel, cumin, brown mustard, nigella, and fenugreek). This is a very forgiving recipe and it's easy to mix and match. This is even better reheated.

Ethiopian Berbere Stew
1 cup red lentils
3-1/2 cups water
splash of avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 med. onion chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 TB chopped fresh ginger
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp brown or black mustard seeds
1/2 to 1 tsp Berbere spice blend
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup vegetable broth
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 TB Tamari
1-1/2 tsp Bragg's liquid amino sauce
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 medium russet potato, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 handfuls baby kale

Pick through the lentils and rinse off. Place in medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil, cook for about 30 minutes until soft. Set aside. Do not drain.

Heat oil in large stock pot and saute onions, carrots and ginger until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for a couple minutes. Add spices, stir and cook for about a minute. Add rest of ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until cauliflower and potato are soft. Add cooked lentils, peas, and baby kale and cook for about another 5 minutes until kale is wilted and everything is good and hot.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Time to Clean Up with Beet Detox Juice

beet juice in a glass

Who doesn't feel the need to start the new year with healthier eating habits? A simple strategy is to crowd out bad foods with whole, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods. To motivate and energize, here is a detox drink to the rescue. Full disclosure, I dislike beets. I've tried them different ways but still can't get excited about them. So I was very skeptical of this beet juice however gorgeous it was. But Santa brought me a new juicer for Christmas so I feel the need to juice everything in sight and then some.

The original recipe for Beet Detox Juice is from the blog For the Love of Food. This Beet Detox juice turned out to be quite delicious and absolutely gorgeous. I cut back on the ginger so the predominant flavor was garlic. Perhaps I should have followed the recipe and used the full amount of ginger. The beet flavor was fairly unobtrusive. Beets are much easier to enjoy in a drink like this.

1 small garlic clove (large clove if you love garlic)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
5 kale leaves, stems stripped off and discarded
1 lemon, peeled
3 small beets, with the stems and leaves
2 medium carrots, top trimmed off and discarded

Process according to your juicer directions and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Amazing Zippy Ginger Green Juice Drink

granny smith apple, kale, cucumber, and ginger

This is an "oh wow!" kind of green drink. I wanted to make a green juice with just the basic ingredients: kale, cucumber, Granny Smith apple and a tiny piece of ginger. The very first green juice I made was super grassy and just okay. This one was zesty, refreshing, and quite delicious! I was really surprised at how great it tasted, I was afraid that I was going to have to "acquire" a taste for the green. I think the ginger helped to tone down the kale. This time I juiced only kale leaves, no stalks. I could have used a milder green such as spinach or chard but I really wanted the nutritional punch of kale. Kale is such a powerful green! I will be using it more in 2013 and hope to post a simple kale salad very soon.

about 2 cups of organic* kale leaves
1 whole organic cucumber
1 organic Granny Smith apple,
with the seeds and stem removed
1 very small piece of organic ginger,
about the tip of your finger

Follow your juicer directions and juice.

*I have specified organic produce since you will be juicing the skins and all.

glass of fresh carrot juice
I also juiced some fairly fresh carrots. How did I know they were fresh? They still had the tops on. I did not juice the carrot tops – yet. I found the carrot juice sweet and a bit bitter, probably because they were not peeled. I think I want to try making carrot juice again next spring when I can get local produce.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Omega 8006 Juicer Maiden Voyage

I get these wild hairs about kitchen appliances and decide I just have to have a certain something. This time it was a juicer. Maybe it's the "hunt." Figuring out which one will fit my needs, looking for the best price and finally acquiring it. I did have a lot of fun researching juicers, watching videos on youtube, reading reviews, browsing the local stores, etc.

There are three main types of juicers: centrifugal, masticating and twin gear. The price can be fairly inexpensive (less than $100) to very extravagant (over $1,000).

After much deliberation I decided on a masticating juicer, the Omega 8006 Nutrition Center (less than $300.) It makes a quality juice with fairly quick clean up. It's called a nutrition center because it does other things in addition to extracting juice – nut butters, grind grain and coffee, extrude noodles, and make frozen desserts. I'm hoping to make nut butters and try out the pasta extruder.

It was quick to set up and get going.

Here's a plate of vegetables and fruit – a couple stalks of kale, one carrot, one small apple, and one cucumber.

Here's the juice I got from that plate of produce; about 1-1/3 cups of juice and a bit of very dry pulp.

Here is my green juice. My first reaction was "hmmmm." Barely sweet, kind of tart and grassy. It did grow on me as I drank it. And to be honest, I felt very energized and peppy the rest of the day.

I am looking forward to more experimentation. I think for the green juice I want it a bit sweeter. I'm also going to try it with just carrots and see how that tastes. Cheers!