Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aromatic Lamb over Lentils with Curried Turnips

This is a perfect dinner for a cold, blustery day. It's warm and filling and the spices envelope your kitchen with wonderful smells. The rich lamb is balanced with healthy lentils and the turnips are given some personality with the curry.

  • Lamb chops
  • Green lentils
  • 1 large turnip (I prefer the larger, greenish variety as opposed to the small purple ones)
  • Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cumin, yellow curry powder, thyme or herbs de provence blend
For Lentils:
  • Rinse and drains lentils. Put in saucepan covered with two inches of water and a dash of salt.
  • Bring water to a boil and simmer for about twenty minutes. Lentils should be tender all the way through but not mushy.
  • Season to taste with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of cumin, pepper, and salt. Stir in torn parsley.
For Lamb:
  • Rub surfaces of lamb chops with salt, pepper, and a generous amount of cumin and herbs.
  • Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the pan with minced garlic.
  • When the oil is hot, place the lamb chops in the pan.
  • Brown on each side, ideally flipping only once. I used thin lamb chops so they didn't take long. They should be pale pink in the middle when done, not very rare.
For Turnips:
  • Peel and cut up the turnip. It's easier if you halve it first to give you a flat surface to stabilize it. It's ok if some peel remains. Cut into french fry shapes or little squares.
  • Sprinkle generously with curry powder and a dash of salt.
  • I like cooking the turnip in the pan the lamb chops were cooked in. It adds flavor, creates one less dirty pan, and can speed things along. If you do this, precook the turnips in the microwave a bit so it won't take as long (and your lamb won't get cold).
  • Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and get it nice and hot (but not smoking!).
  • Add seasoned turnips, stirring and turning as they start to brown. They should be completely tender and ideally a bit crispy when they are done.
This makes at least two large servings, and I promise it isn't as complicated as it sounds! Enjoy!
- Rori

Harvest Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Sourdough Gruyere Crouton

It's definitely fall now, which means it's time for soup again! Butternut squash soup is a cold weather must, and I like taking advantage of the fall apple harvest to add a slight twist.

  • 1 small to medium butternut squash

  • 1 very large sweet onion
  • 1-2 large apples (of the sweeter, red-yellow variety)
  • About 32-42 ounces chicken and/or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • About 1/4-1/3 cup light cream (optional, and you could probably substitute a blend of sour cream and milk)
  • Spices to taste: I used salt, pepper, thyme, ginger, and anise
  • A handful of parsley
  • Mince onions.
  • Peel and mince apples.
  • Remove seeds and skin from butternut squash. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Combine chopped ingredients in large pot with butter.
  • Cook on medium-high for about half an hour to soften, stirring frequently. Turn down heat if browning starts. Add spices as they start to break down.
  • Add 1/3 of the broth for the last 5-10 minutes and bring to a simmer.
  • Squash should be soft enough to mash, onions should be fully translucent, and apples should be nearly melting.

  • Two options: mash by hand for a chunkier soup or put in a food processor, blender, or food mill for a smoother soup.
  • Add the remaining broth and let simmer, covered, for up to an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Add cream in last ten minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Ladle into a bowl and garnish with some torn up parsley. Homemade croutons or crumbled bacon would also be a nice addition.
Makes about four large (entree) servings. Enjoy!

- Rori

Wheatberry Salad

This is a lovely, healthy dish that is great as a side or on its own. It's filling without being heavy and contains tons of good-for-you ingredients. I love making a batch of it to eat for lunches during the week. It's also perfect for experimenting with different flavor combinations and ingredients (pine nuts, apples, chick peas, red onions, tomatoes, grapefruit, chicken, etc.)

  • 1 1/2 cups wheatberries
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Dried cranberries or cherries to taste, roughly chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts chopped
  • A generous handful of parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt, Pepper, Spices that suit your fancy
  • Rinse wheatberries. Combine with 5 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for an hour, then drain any remaining water. If you'd like to make a smaller portion, reduce numbers or put some of the cooked wheatberries in the freezer for future use.
  • Sautee onions until they begin to become translucent.
  • Add green peppers for last remaining minutes of sautee.
  • After heated ingredients cool, combine everything.
  • Toss with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and spices to taste.
  • Store in tupperware in the fridge. It is best after it has been chilled for a few hours.
- Rori

Tuesday, September 29, 2009