Coconut red lentil curry with sweet potato and kale

_MG_48571 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (10 oz)
1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 14 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomato
1 medium sweet potato (about 12 oz) cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cups chopped kale
Accompaniment: white rice

Cook onion in oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water, lentils, and coconut milk, then simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in sweet potato and simmer, covered, until lentils and sweet potato are tender, about 15 minutes. Add kale and simmer 2-4 more minutes, until kale is wilted.
Serve over rice.

Adapted from Epicurious.com

White gazpacho

IMG_00022 large English (seedless) cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
3 slices white bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup warm water
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup green grapes, halved

Set aside 1 cup of chopped cucumber for a garnish. Soak the bread in water until soft, about 2 minutes. Place soaked bread, the rest of the cucumber, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the almonds, salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process until cucumbers are completely blended and liquid and almonds are almost completely invisible, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and vinegar, if desired.

To serve, ladle 1 cup gazpacho into a bowl. Mound 1/4 cup reserved chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons grapes and 1 teaspoon almonds in the center of the soup.

Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com

Cheddar crust pear pie with red wine and rosemary

We have a few pear trees along our dog walk routines, and I have picked some pears for baking. You could use probably any firm pears for the filling of this pie. One word of caution…it takes longer than the average pie, but it is certainly worth your time and effort. The red wine reduction syrup is fabulous with the pears, and the cheddar pie crust is the perfect complement.

_MG_4841INGREDIENTS
CRUST
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan buttery stick, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 tablespoons chilled pure vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (firmly packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
5-7 tablespoons ice water

FILLING
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1¾ cups dry red wine, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds firm but ripe pears (such as Comice, Anjou, or Bartlett), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons raw sugar

CRUST
Place flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and shortening. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles fine meal. Add cheese; mix in using 4 on/off turns. Transfer dry ingredients to large bowl. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons water over. Using fork, toss until moist clumps form, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
FILLING
Bring granulated sugar, rosemary, and 1½ cups wine to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about ⅔ cup, about 20-25 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add butter and whisk until syrup is smooth.
Whisk cornstarch, cinnamon, 5 tsp. flour, and remaining ¼ cup wine in a small saucepan set over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Slowly add syrup, whisking until smooth, then stir in vanilla and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
Place a rack in lower third of oven. Toss pears and red wine syrup in a large bowl. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim, leaving about 1” overhang. Pour filling into crust and chill.
Meanwhile, roll out remaining disk of dough into a 10” round. Place on top of pie, fold edges under and crimp. Cut out four oval shapes for vent, place cut outs on top of pie. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons raw sugar and chill in freezer 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, rotate pie, and continue baking, tenting with foil if crust is browning too quickly, until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, 30–35 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 4 hours before slicing.

Adapted from Bon Appetit – here and here

Oatmeal and flax cranberry cookies

_MG_31681 cup (2 sticks) soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seed)
1/4 cup whole flax seeds
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries or raisins

Line two baking sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and egg until fluffy. Mix in the flour, oats, flax meal and seeds and dried fruit. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so at room temperature, for the oats to soften. Towards the end of the rest period, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball of dough slightly. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool them on the baking sheets for 15 minutes or so, to allow them to set. Move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from kingarthurflour.com

Roasted parsnip, carrot and kale salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing

_MG_31542 pounds carrots, cleaned and chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced on a bias into 1-inch-long pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
2 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 bunch kale–tough stems and ribs removed and the leaves stacked, rolled and sliced crosswise into thin ribbons

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, add the carrots, parsnips, 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and toss to combine. Turn the vegetables out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Tuck the rosemary sprigs among the vegetables, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and roast until the vegetables begin to brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast the vegetables until they are tender, about 15 minutes longer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and the ½ teaspoon of pepper. Add half of this vinaigrette to a large bowl along with the kale ribbons. Use your hands to massage the kale until it becomes slightly brighter in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
To the kale ribbons, add the roasted carrots and parsnips and the remaining vinaigrette. Toss to combine and serve.

Recipe adapted from tastingtable.com

Arugula walnut pesto pasta

After so many years of cooking and baking, I finally purchased a food processor. I have successfully avoided this purchase up to now since I have a blender, an immersion blender, and mini food processor, and somehow I managed to make do with those whenever I needed to do chopping. But I see all sorts of uses for my new kitchen gadget – salsa, cole slaw, carrot salad, and even pie dough – in the near future!
The first thing I used the processor for was this pesto, and I was very happy with it. It took less than a minute for this pesto to come together, and it was so much better than the pesto you can buy in a jar in the grocery store!

_MG_47872 cups (about 3 oz) arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, quartered
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to salt pasta water
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
Freshly ground black pepper, to season
1 pound spagetti

In the bowl of a food processor, blend arugula, basil, toasted walnuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and a few grinds of pepper until well combined and smooth. Feel free to add extra olive oil if the pesto feels too thick or chunky.

Place a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta and to cook to al dente. Drain and place back in pot. Fold in pesto. Serve hot in your favorite bowls with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan over the top of each bowl.

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com