Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lentil Caprese Salad

This is an updated version of that good old lentil salad. I slightly undercook the lentils, then let the acid in the balsamic vinegar finish the job of making them tender (at least, that's the idea). The basil and balsamic make the tomatoes taste downright sweet.

Lentil Caprese Salad

3/4 c dry brown lentils (1 1/2 c cooked?), cooked until just tender
big red tomato, de-seeded and diced
1/2 c yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, diced
2 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced
lots of basil, chiffonade
to taste:
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
red pepper flakes
smoked salt

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hot Weather Food

I'm not going to lie... the weather in Los Angeles has really been getting me down. October, and highs in the 90s? As someone who is pretty much always too hot, it feels like the end of the world. But even besides the temperature itself is the fact that there's no end in sight. Summer in Minneapolis or Chicago it can be 100 and humid, but it feels dynamic: on a micro level (it builds up and then blows off) and on a macro level (fall will come). There's a hydraulic aspect to the weather onto which you can map your own psyche. LA, by contrast, is unchanging, dirty, relentlessly bright, purgatory. Like something out of Camus...

Here are some things I've made in lieu of cooking.

Cucumber salad with lemon, dill, red pepper, smoked salt, and cashew cream

Potato salad with picked green beans, cherry tomatoes, dill, smoked salt, lemon vinaigrette

"Autumnal pickles": butternut squash and cauliflower with white wine vinegar, black peppercorns, sage, thyme, and marjoram

Cucumber salad with lime, peanuts, and blackberries 

Cucumber salad; roasted zucchini; kale salad with avocado, corn, and pickled tomato; brown rice; roasted tofu

Sunday, October 11, 2015

South Indian Chickpea Curry

Tasty South Indian chickpea curry from Holy Cow. More about the spices than the spiciness.

South Indian Chickpea Curry 
(from Holy Cow)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mushroom Ravioli with "Vodka" Sauce

Ravioli is so much work, but that very fact makes it a very satisfying endeavor. Think about it: how many food cultures have some sort of dumpling, or dough-around-filling type parcel, despite the fact that there are almost always easier delivery mechanisms for the same nutritional components (for example, sauteed slop on top of wheat berries)? No, there is something particularly attractive about a parcel of food--even the abominable Gushers fruit snacks enjoy some of this allure.

Adge had mentioned she really liked vodka sauce, which I'm not sure I'd ever had. I did some reading on why on earth you would ever put large amounts of vodka into a food (which sounds horrendous, even if most of it cooks off). But in addition to some pseudo science about flavor molecules that are only soluble in alcohol, the big thing is that there's cream in this tomato-based sauce (and maybe the alcohol helps stabilize the cream vis a vis the tomato?). So here's a tomato sauce with white wine and cashew cream. Other than that, it's pretty much the standard marinara-ish sauce I always make.

The method for the ravioli pasta, and the timing for filling, sauce, and pasta, are over here.

Mushroom Ravioli with "Vodka" Sauce
(filling was same as this one, except I used mushrooms for "something meaty")

For the sauce:

1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chilies, minced (remove some or all seeds)
1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/2 c white wine
1/3 c cashew cream (just blend raw cashews and water)
fresh basil
salt and pepper

In a medium-to-large saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute onion until soft, then add garlic and chilies with a pinch of salt and cook a few minutes.
Add tomatoes and wine, then turn down heat to simmer. Add oregano and marjoram (or the herbs of your choosing), and cook on low until tomatoes are soft.
When sauce is close to done, add sugar, cashew cream, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a bit longer.