Chef Dina

Now available for Bay Area full service catering in conjunction with "A Fork Full of Earth" organic catering, intimate dinner parties and weekly meal preparation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Catching up; lentil soup and pickled carrots

If you have requested a recipe in the last 5 months and I have failed you...I am sorry! I have finally built this little internet canvas to share with you my not-so-secrets (and unfortunately, some not-so recipes).
So...VOILA, honored are your requests:

Adas Magroush (red lentil soup)
A typical middle eastern soup. "Adas" means lentil in arabic. My Tata (grandma) always made it chunky and with brown lentils. I learned to make it this way (and like it much better, sorry, Tata) working one of my first restaurant jobs at Aladdin restaurant in Milwaukee. I do not have details for this one, I've been making it for years and never used a measuring cup. Make it more than once, and you won't have to either.

red pepper flakes
cumin seeds; roasted and ground fine (use pre-ground if you want, but details matter...)
salt & pepper
Chicken stock; please do not buy the bullion cubes loaded with MSG and preservatives. Recommended brands: better than bullion base or kitchen basics. Look at the ingredients.

Dice up a good amount of onion and carrot and sautee in some oil. Add a little more cumin and turmeric than you think you might need (not TOO much, cause you can always add more later), a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, some salt and pepper (again, not too much now...there is always later). Add the red lentils and stir to coat. Add enough chicken stock to cover the lentils by a couple inches. Cook it for a little while, adding chicken stock as necessary. Red lentils are one of the faster cooking lentils, so this really shouldn't take too long- maybe 20-30 minutes.
Once the lentils are really mushy and falling apart, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice and puree with an immersion blender. Season to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedge.
*If you like some chunks in your soup, you can reserve some carrots cut in half moons, and throw them in after you have pureed the soup and simmer until soft.
**I also like to tear Kangaroo pita bread up into little chunks and throw them in.
***Want to make it with a twist?? Add some unsweetened coconut when you add the lentils, and finish it with a pour of coconut milk. I would also use coconut oil to sautee the onion and carrot. YUM!

Moroccan Pickled Carrots
Pickles that don't take weeks! A good snack to have around, I try to reach for them instead of the cheese...doesn't always work, but good to have around anyway. Kill two birds with one stone and make a cheese dip for them. HA!

Basic Brine ratio:
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 Tb kosher salt
1-2 Tb sugar (depending on your tasty buds)
some cumin seeds
coriander seeds
Red pepper (whole or flakes, whatever you have)
Crushed garlic
lemon slice
sliced shallot

I usually make a bunch of brine, use what I need and then keep some in the frig for when I want more pickles on the fly.
Cut the carrots (or use those cute little loose baby carrots from the farmers market) to the size of the jar you are using (a quart jar works nicely). Blanch the carrot sticks for no more that about 15-20 seconds. You can also just use them raw if you are in a hurry, but I have done both and for some reason the blanched tasted a little better. Put a handful of (mixed) spices in the jar, a couple cloves of crushed garlic, one lemon slice is enough, and the sliced shallot. Pour some boiling brine over the carrots and run a butter knife down the side of the jar to get rid of any air pockets. You can then just put them in the frig if you are going to eat them up, or you can submerge the jar in some boiling water for 10 minutes, then take it out to cool and listen for a "pop". Then you have officially "canned" it and can keep it on the shelf. You can eat these a couple of hours later! The longer they sit the better they get, obviously. You can even use the shallots on salads.
If this sounds like too much work, come by the harbor and pick them up for $6.00 a quart jar full!

Spring Gnocchi
Pretty much stole this one right off the Food Network~ thanks Ann Burrell! For the gnocchi, I use a box grater instead of a food mill, and russet potatoes. You can use any kind of mushroom- whatever meaty ones are available. I made this sauce the following weekend, but for chicken. I browned the chicken, the wrapped it in prosciutto and finished it in the oven, covered, so the prosciutto doesn't burn. Finish with the sauce.

Sorry, Alexis, I could have told you this sooner, I totally forgot!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Dina! I am so glad you are doing this. xo, Susan