Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce
1 cup dried lentils (preferably brown or green), rinsed
3 medium carrots, well scrubbed and cut into large chunks
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
28 ounces no-salt-added crushed tomatoes or 3 cups homemade tomato puree
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves torn into small pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup dried quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lentils, carrots and water in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the oil into a medium saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat; cook until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and garlic, stirring to coat; cook until tender, 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor.
Once the carrots and lentils are cooked, transfer the carrots from the pot to the food processor, along with the tomatoes or tomato puree, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes and kale. Pulse until mostly smooth.
Add the quinoa and red wine to the pot of lentils, stirring to incorporate; cover and cook until the quinoa grains start to show their white tails, 6 or 7 minutes.
Stir the carrot-kale puree into the lentil-quinoa mixture; cook, covered, over low heat until the sauce melds and heats thoroughly, about 20 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
Serve hot, or cool completely before storing.
1 cup dried lentils, preferably smaller red, yellow, black beluga or French du Puy
Safflower oil, olive oil or grapeseed oil, for frying
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Put the lentils in a bowl with water to cover. Soak for 1 hour.
Drain the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer, shaking out as much excess water as you can, then lay them out on absorbent towels in a single layer to dry. (Gently shake the lentils around a bit from time to time to help speed up the drying.)
Set a paper-towel-lined plate and a slotted spoon by the stove. Pour the oil to a depth of1/4 inch in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a lentil on contact, carefully add just enough lentils to form a single layer. Fry, stirring occasionally, until they crisp and become slightly translucent around the edges, 5 to 6 minutes. (Red lentils will turn yellow; French du Puy lentils will turn brown.)
Use the slotted spoon to lift out the lentils in batches, holding and slightly tilting each scoop over the pan to let the oil drain off, then transfer them to the lined plate. Salt lightly.
Repeat with the remaining lentils, being sure to wait until the oil is instant-sizzle-hot before adding the lentils.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Lentils and Mozzarella
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, scrubbed well then finely chopped
1 cup dried French du Puy lentils, rinsed
Fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh dill, chives, basil or mint, or a combination, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into bite-size pieces
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (may substitute pine nuts)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic, celery and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
Add the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt and just enough water to cover. Increase the heat to bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so it is barely bubbling around the edges; cook until the lentils are just soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils.
While the lentils are cooking, combine the mustard, vinegar, herbs,1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt, and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor or blender, or in a small mixing bowl.
Drizzle in the remaining1/4 cup of oil, pulsing or whisking by hand to form a vinaigrette. Taste, and add fine sea salt as needed.
Spoon the warm lentils onto plates. Top with the mozzarella, and sprinkle the cheese with coarse sea salt. Scatter the almonds over the mozzarella and lentils, and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tacos With Spicy, Smoky Lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (drained, if oil-packed)
3/4 cup roasted salsa of your choice
12 small corn tortillas, flour tortillas or taco shells, warmed
1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
4 large scallions, chopped
1 avocado, sliced or cubed
1/4 cup sour cream
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat; cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, salt, smoked paprika and chili powders; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste, sesame oil, lentils, water, vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes; increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so the mixture is barely bubbling, cover, and cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender but not falling apart, 30 to 40 minutes. (If the lentils are dry before they become tender, add water 1/3 cup at a time and continue cooking.)
Serve family-style, setting out the lentils, salsa, tortillas, cheese, cabbage, scallions, avocado, sour cream and limes in separate bowls on the table and allowing diners to assemble their own tacos.
Golden Lentils With Soft, Sweet Onions
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
5 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
Ground cayenne pepper
Makes 5 cups.
Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions, stirring to coat; cook until the onions wilt, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are super soft and very sweet, 10 to 20 minutes or longer, if needed. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of vinegar during the last 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the lentils and water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low until barely bubbling around the edges (use a heat diffuser, if you have one, underneath). Partially cover and cook gently until the lentils are perfectly soft, about 40 minutes. The mash will be supple at this stage. If youd like it stiffer, cook uncovered for a little longer.
Add the lentils to the onions, stirring to thoroughly blend; taste, and add salt and/or vinegar as needed. Season to taste with black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons mellow white miso
Makes about 3 cups.
Pour the oil into a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the broth in a small bowl, stirring with a fork to create a smooth mixture.
When the onion has browned, add the thyme, sage and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the lentils, miso and the remaining 1 cup of broth (not the broth mixed with the cornstarch just yet) and heat through. Use an immersion blender to puree until relatively smooth.
Pour in the broth-cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for another 7 minutes, until the mixture is thick and silky. Taste for seasoning, and keep warm until ready to serve.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE RECIPES
MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE
2 cups milk
4 wedges of Mexican chocolate, or 2 quarter tablets
Put 2 cups milk in a small saucepan on low heat. Warm the milk gradually. Dont let it boil.
Unwrap a Mexican chocolate tablet. Cut/break off the wedges using the dull side of a knife.
Put the chocolate in the warm milk and let the wedges soften for about 30 seconds.
Use the wide end of the molinillo -- or a whisk -- to gently mash the chocolate.
Then use the molinillo or whisk to stir the chocolate milk.
When steam begins to rise from the milk, spin the molinillo (or whisk) briskly back and forth in the milk to create tiny bubbles that gang up together to become froth.
Carefully pour hot chocolate into cups and enjoy!
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup creme fraiche, softened at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped finely
Confectioners sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or use a hand mixer, and cream together the butter, creme fraiche and the sugars until light and fluffy using medium speed.
Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is fully incorporated. With the mixer back on, add eggs one at a time and vanilla extract.
Reduce speed on the mixer and add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the chocolate. Repeat twice and then scrape down. Mix again briefly only so that the batter is just uniform -- be careful not to overmix.
Transfer batter to the loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool on a rack before unmolding -- run a thin knife along the sides if its sticking. Serve garnished with confectioners sugar.
VALENTINES DAY RECIPES
SCALOPPINE IN LEMON SAUCE
4 slices turkey or chicken cutlets, about 3/4 pound
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled
1/2 lemon, with rind, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pitted green olives, cut into strips
2 tablespoons tiny capers, drained
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Pound meat slices between pieces of waxed paper to an even1/4-inch thickness. Season with salt. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Spread flour on a plate; lightly dredge meat in flour, tapping off excess. Lay slices, in batches, in skillet so pieces dont touch. Cook until edges caramelize, 1-2 minutes. Turn to caramelize other side; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining slices.
Increase heat to high. Add garlic and lemon slices to skillet; turn lemon to caramelize both sides. Add olives and capers; let sizzle 1 minute. Pour in wine and lemon juice. Heat sauce to a boil. Add 1/2 cup hot water. Boil sauce until reduced by half. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in pieces. Reduce heat to a simmer. Return meat slices to pan. Simmer to heat through; do not overcook. Arrange meat on a warm platter. Stir parsley into sauce; pour sauce over meat.
ORZO WITH RED PEPPERS
1 cup dried orzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced
Cook orzo in a saucepan of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain well; return to saucepan. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss with red pepper. Keep warm.
EGGLESS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1/4 cup whipping cream plus 3/4 cup chilled whipping cream, divided
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent to 80 percent)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Shelled, toasted pistachios
In a small, heavy saucepan, heat1/4 cup whipping cream to a boil; do not scorch. Meanwhile, chop dark chocolate; place in a large bowl. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Let melt 2 minutes; stir until smooth. Add vanilla. Cool until mixture is warm to the touch.
Whip 3/4 cup chilled whipping cream until stiff peaks form; be careful not to overwhip. Gently fold half the whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Mousse will be a bit soft.
Spoon into 2 serving dishes; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Can also be prepared the night before, covered and refrigerated. Remove about an hour before serving.
Serve garnished with shelled, toasted pistachios and more whipped cream, if you like.