Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Indian Sprouted Lentil Salad

I'm on my own tonight as the Monster has a bidness dinner out. As soon as I learned he'd be gone I started brewing up a jar of lentil sprouts in anticipation of eating solo. Sprouting requires very little work and you end up with a more nutritious and easily digestible legume for your small effort.

To start, you'll need to rinse 6-8 Tbs of lentils and soak them overnight on the counter in a bowl of filtered water.
The next morning, carefully drain and rinse the soaked lentils. Transfer them to a clean jar (I use a recycled glass quart sized yogurt jar), cover the opening of the jar with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band. Now put the jar in a dark cabinet propped at a 45 degree angle, mouth of the jar pointing downward. I like to place a tea towel under the jar to absorb any moisture and keep the jar from slipping. You'll need to carefully rinse and drain the lentils twice daily until their sprouts are about 1/2" long. I think I started this on Monday night and it's now Wednesday...so give yourself a couple days. Once the sprouts are long enough, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and eat them whenever you feel like a nosh. Best eaten within the next few days though.

I didn't use the whole amount of sprouts in my salad since it's just li'l ol' me, so hopefully I'll have enough for a sprouted lentil dal tomorrow.

Indian Sprouted Lentil Salad:
(found on Recipezaar)

1 1/2 cups sprouted lentils
1/2 cup seeded and chopped cucumber
1/2 cup diced seeded tomato
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (durn...no viable cilantro tonight so had to sub parsley)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (I only used a little more than 1/2 tsp of Greek oreg.)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup small quartered red radish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Carefully rinse the sprouted lentils in a colander.
Add the chopped vegetables to a bowl and lightly toss them with the sprouted lentils.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Drizzle the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss gently again.
Allow the flavors to blend for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fresh Greek-Style Salsa

I'm not sure why this Cooking Light recipe I found was named "Italian-style" Salsa. The kalamata olives and feta make it seem more Greek to me. So Italian-style salsa...consider yourself renamed!
Takes all of 5 minutes to dress up a simple broiled fish fillet with this yummy stuff. In my book, that makes it a total keeper. I just riff on the amounts listed below depending on whether it's just the Monster and me, or more. And, I know for a fact that I don't put in as much red onion and raw garlic. Just make it however you like and it's sure to be good.

"Greek-Style" Salsa:
(Cooking Light)

4 plum tomatoes, chopped (I used tomatoes on the vine)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
12 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons drained capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Stir together first 10 ingredients, and, if desired, feta cheese, in a medium bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beet Tzatziki

Buoyed by my latest successes preparing beets in ways OTHER than roasting/marinating them, undaunted by the prospect of future "Jeez, you must really like beets!" comments, and being seemingly unable to pass by a nice bunch by at the store without tossing it in my cart, I find myself with a new keeper recipe. Tzatziki...love it. Beet tzatziki, how could I not? Turns out it is really good, AND the most gorgeous shade of fuscia to boot. The original recipe calls for using a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic with salt to make a paste. Lacking said mortar and pestle, I just used the flat edge of a large chef's knife and mashed them both on the cutting board. Just use whatever you've got. I'll be serving this up with whole wheat pita and broiled rainbow trout dressed with a fresh Greek salsa (in the next post).

Beet Tzatziki:
(NYT Online)

1 lb beets roasted and shredded (roast unpeeled beets wrapped in foil on a foil-lined sheet pan at at 400 for ~1 hour, let cool, peel, then shred on a box shredder or with a food processor)
2 cloves garlic, green shoots removed from centers
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice (I used more)
2 cups low fat Greek Yogurt
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill
fresh ground black pepper and more salt to taste

Make a paste with the garlic and salt, using a mortar and pestle or a knife and a cutting board.
If using the mortar and pestle add lemon juice and let it sit for 10 min.
If using board, scrape garlic paste into a bowl that you'll be able to fit the rest of the recipe into and let sit 10 min.
In a bowl, combine lemon, garlic, salt mixture and stir to combine. Add black pepper and adjust salt if needed.
Add in shredded beets and dill, stir until thoroughly combined.
Will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cold Pea Salad

Here's a recipe from Simply Recipes that's been languishing needlessly in my "to try" file. We really enjoyed this salad as a quick side and I can see making it often in the hot, hot summer to come. Freezy peas and bits of water chestnut, spiced with a bit of curry powder and enhanced with the slight smokiness of the almonds...yum and yum. I halved the amount of almonds and lessened the mayo from the original recipe. I used a light vegan canola mayo that we really like, to which I added a touch of fresh lemon juice for a little more perk.

We ate the cold pea salad as a side to lemon and herb baked tofu and some quinoa mixed with braised kohlrabi greens. I'd never even seen the greens before, but the kohlrabi we got at the farmers market still had the tops on...figured surely you could eat them. I munched a piece, double checked online to make sure they weren't akin to d'em pizzinous rhubarb greens, then braised them with some olive oil, garlic, tamari and a bit of water.

Cold Pea Salad:
(slightly adapted from the recipe discovered on Simply Recipes blog)

16-ounces frozen petite peas (do not thaw)
3 ounces smokehouse almonds, chopped preferably by hand (tamari almonds would also be great in this)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
6-8 ounces chopped water chestnuts (a can is 8oz., but I added less since I was unsure if the Monster would like them. I'd put the whole amount in next time)
a very scant 1/2 cup vegan canola mayonnaise (I only made 1/2 the recipe and used a scant 1/4 cup, so go by that if doubling)
2 tsp yellow curry powder
~1 tsp fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper to taste
salt only if needed

In a bowl mix together frozen peas, chestnuts, green onions and almonds.
In a separate small bowl stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder.
Add mayo mixture to pea mixture.
Add pepper to taste, and you most likely will not need any added salt due to the almonds.
Serve immediately.
If making ahead, leave almonds out until just before serving. Best the day of.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Warm Mustard Green Salad with Black-eyed Peas

We bought a luscious monster bunch of mustard greens at the farmer's market last weekend and they didn't disappoint in this flavorful recipe. I'd only made it once before, but figured it merited another go. The original incarnation has 2 strips of bacon in it (and sauteing the greens in the rendered fat) but I didn't go that route. I opted instead for sauteing the greens first in about a tablespoon of olive oil, then I added ~1/4-1/3 cup of broth, reduced the heat, covered and braised for about 5 minutes. I followed the original recipe from that point, apart from adding the bacon back in at the end that is...
It does have quite a lot of balsamic in it, so if you're not too keen on tart you might reduce the amount a bit. The vinegar serves to cut the bitterness of the greens nicely though.
I baked some Alaskan cod (at 450 for 10 minutes on a foil coated baking sheet) that I'd lightly coated with olive oil, and sprinkled with blackening spices. Made a great pairing with the salad.

Warm Mustard Greens Salad with Black-eyed Peas:
(adapted from Cooking Light)

~2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 cups torn mustard greens, stems removed (about 12 ounces)
~1/4-1/3 cup veggie, or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a serrano)
1 (16-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat ~1 Tbs olive oil in a Dutch oven, or equivalent (that you have a cover for), on medium-high. Add greens, sauteing until wilted, then add broth, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minute.

Combine greens, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, set aside.

Add another Tbs oil to pan. Stir in onions, garlic, and jalapeƱo/serrano and cook 1 minute. Add peas and cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add greens back into mixture, stirring to combine.

Serve warm.