It all started with a question on a Brazilian Facebook group I belong to that is devoted to food. Someone asked for the name of the small round green dry beans she saw at a market. I immediately thought of mung beans and couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I picked some up this weekend and made it tonight with curry spices.
300g dried mung beans (the original recipe was 220g, I had a bit more and used it all)
Wash the mung beans and boil them in plenty of hot water until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
Brown the onions in the vegetable oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, garlic and chillies. Saute until aromatic.
Add the tomatoes, turmeric and mung beans and cook for two minutes.
Add the salt, lemon juice, and cinnamon powder and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the chopped coriander, if using, and serve.
I don’t often bake but we were having a few friends over and I this simple French cake caught my eye at a friend’s blog. It’s very quick to whip together and no mixer needed.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a loaf pan and sprinkle it with flour. Set aside
2. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl mix sugar and lemon peel and mix in the lemon peel with the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is damp from the lemon essence. Add oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract and mix everything with a whisk until it is well mixed.
3. Fold the liquid mixture with the dry mixture mixing with a spatula until well mixed. Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for about 50 mins.
What a week. I prepared on sunday by cooking a big pot of rice and another big pot of beans. Nice mixed beans from the farmers’ market that we shelled ourselves. Or rather that Alan shelled with the help of the cats, who LOVE to chase runaway dry beans. Monday I went to work bringing my lunch of leftover rice with mixed bean stew with some chicken sausage from Cumbrae’s. By evening I was under the blankets in pain and shivering. Yep. I caught a flu. Boo. Classes cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday and a stream of uninspired meals involving rice, chicken, lots of fluids, and I made it to Thursday night without eating out (or ordering in) a single time despite being sick! SUCCESSS! Nothing was particularly photogenic, I’m afraid. I was uninspired, my taste buds are shot, but we made it. Well, one day left but there’s enough past leftover to carry us through tomorrow. And that’s the goal for now: if we can make it through the week without eating out, that’s already an improvement.
My husband and I keep telling ourselves we need to eat out less often. It’s not just for health reasons – our reasons are a bit more indulgent: we want to be able to afford to eat more often at nice restaurants and we want to be able to travel more. Living downtown, with so many restaurants at our doorstep means that I can easily be persuaded to go out for a quick bite at the end of a busy day at work. But it has to stop. This means being a bit radical at the beginning so we can establish some new habits. The challenge this week is to see if I can go through the entire working week without eating out at all. In order to prepare, I cooked a batch of beans today and have a batch of brown rice on the stove. I’ll publish here some of the different meals I make this week – hopefully it will bring this blog back to life!
I have always had an ambiguous relationship with animal fat. I love creamy desserts and high fat cheeses and butter, but kept my distance from other types of animal fats. Not the meats. Just the fats. And yes, I know the fat makes it taste good but I always had to cut out the fat before eating that nice roast or steak. When I was growing up, a mistaken bite of a piece of beef or pork fat would make my stomach immediately turn. It would take all my will power not to throw up immediately.
This relationship has changed over the years. I am now a huge fan of sausages of all kinds. That’s what happens if you live in Spain, I suppose. Yesterday I turned another corner. I bought pork fat. I told myself I was just buying it to season my cast iron pan. Vegetable oil was just not doing the trick. Turns out I only needed a tea spoon of fat for seasoning my pan and now have a small container of Berkshire pork fat sitting in my fridge. Not wanting it to go to waste, I used some to make my friend polenta and egg this morning. Oh my. What was I thinking all these years? The crust on the egg, the smells, the flavour, every aspect of my meal was enhanced by that small dollop of pork fat. This can’t be good. Or can it? I’m sure I can find health benefits for pork fat somewhere….
I’m not much of a baker but when I saw this recipe for soda bread, it looked too simple not to try it out. I’m glad I did! It turned out perfectly!
It’s been a while. I haven’t stopped cooking, I swear. The photos on the sidebar are proof. It’s been a crazy semester at work and I haven’t found much time to blog but today.. well, today I made congee. Delicious congee. and I had to share this. Congee is a savoury rice soup that is popular in China as a breakfast soup but also used in Chinese medicine as a healing food. It cannot get much simpler: it’s basically a small amount of rice that is cooked in a lot of broth until the rice breaks apart and becomes porridge-like. I had had it once at a Chinese restaurant in Markham and have been interested in making it ever since. Since we had a turkey dinner this past weekend and I had all this leftover broth and turkey, the occasion was too perfect to miss. It seemed like the perfect dish to cook in my small slow cooker. Ideally congee is made with white rice but I wanted to try it with brown basmati rice – I figured 12 hours on the slow cooker would be enough to break it apart.
So this morning I added to the slow cooker:
3/4 cup of brown basmati rice, washed
8 cups of broth
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
I set the slow cooker to low, and went to work (Alan kept an eye on it during the day – I don’t really trust these gadgets on their own).
When I got home, around 6 pm, the rice had fallen apart and the liquid was nice and thick. So I took a couple cups of leftover turkey, chopped it, heated it up on a pan and added it to the congee. Normally you would want to add some green onions to the mixture but since I didn’t have any I added leftover kale and mustard greens that had been cooked with leeks. I seasoned the whole thing with tamari sauce to taste and voilà: AWESOME congee!
I had a $20 bill when I cycled by the Borden-Bloor Farmers’ Market. At the end of 15 mins, the $20 had become:
Last winter, my CSA sent me a few bags of cornmeal. It was nice and coarse (as I like it) and I could see that it included different heirloom varieties of corn. I still have a bag left and when I got yesterday’s share, filled as it was with the first patty pan squash and grape tomatoes of the season, I immediately thought it would all go well with a nice polenta. I soaked one cup of cornmeal in a cup of milk for about a half an hour in a a glass loaf pan while I heated the oven to about 400 F. When the oven was ready and the cornmeal had absorbed most of the milk, I mixed in another 2 cups of water, some salt & pepper, about a tbsp of butter, and put it in the oven. I had also picked up some Naked Pig sausage from Sausage Partners at my share pickup location (aka as the best pork sausage in the world) and decided to make it in the oven as well. Since the sausages would take less time to cook, I added them to the oven about 20mins after the polenta.
Now for the vegetables: I sliced some green onions, a patty pan squash, and cut a handful of grape tomatoes in half. On a hot pan in medium heat, I added a couple tbsp of olive oil and a tbsp of butter and browned the onions. When the onions were translucent and started going brown, I added the patty pan squash, a dash of white wine and seasoned it all with salt and pepper. The patty pans took about 5 minutes to cook, after which time I added the cherry tomatoes.
The polenta took about an hour to cook and half way through, I took it out of the oven, stirred it a bit, added a bit more water, half a cup of parmesan cheese, and returned it to the oven. The sausages were cooked after 40 minutes, flipping them half way.
The creamy polenta, with the fresh taste of patty pan squash and grape tomatoes, topped with the most flavourful sausage I ever had was perfect in a summer evening.
It all started with an iceberg lettuce. Today was CSA pick up day and in this week’s share of local, organic produce, came a head of lettuce. I still had the lettuce that had come last week so I absolutely had to make something with it today. So a salad it was. Since we also got new potatoes and sweet peppers some form of potato salad was in the making. So I steamed the potatoes, boiled two eggs, and mixed the chopped potatoes and eggs with cubed sweet peppers, about a cup of arugula, and seasoned it with a dressing made of 1/4 cup olive oil, 2tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp honey. I then added a can of smoked tuna and salt and pepper to taste. I served the potato salad on a bed of lettuce. Yum!