Well hello again. It has been quite a while since my last blog. Life has been a little hectic the last few months what with planning the summer schedule for my practice, preparing my students for their final exams and tests at the end of the school year, and then the highlight of my summer, my very special trip to England with my daughter, Michal. We made this trip in honor of her graduating with her Masters degree in Special Education. We had a stunning vacation visiting lots of family, getting to meet our adorable great-nephew and cousin, Jack, and spending five spectacular days in Cornwall with my sister. It was truly magnificent.
While in London we spent one day having the best fun cooking with my niece, Kate. She loves cooking like I do, and she too loves to grow her own vegetables and herbs and to cook with fresh ingredients. That day we started our morning at this amazing store, Planet Organic, picking our fresh ingredients to use in our dishes.
Michal stood by watching Kate and I get excited as we measured out our lentils, and our barley and picked out the freshest of vegetables, and then off we went to my sister-in-law’s kitchen to start our morning of cooking. We had a great time, lots of laughs and giggles, as each of the three of us contributed to the delicious meal that we served for a late lunch that day. We took a few photos as we went, and although I generally try to do one recipe at a time on my blog, today I am including a few recipes as this blog is for Kate and Michal as a special memory of the wonderful day we spent together cooking! Cant wait to do it again soon.
Lentil, Barley and Mushroom Casserole
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
4 large Portabello mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped chives
2 cups pearl barley
1 and 1/2 cups green lentils
6 tsp. organic vegan vegetable stock dissolved in 6 cups boiling water
1 tsp. dried oregano
Heat oil and add the chopped garlic. Allow the garlic to fry for a minute or so to season the oil.
Add the diced onions. Cook until the onions begin to caramelize. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the chopped mushrooms and a little more salt and pepper over the mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring regularly until the mushrooms have softened.
Remove the onion and mushrooms from the heat and stir in the chopped chives and dried oreganum.
Place the barley and lentils in a large deep casserole dish.
Cover with the vegetable stock, making sure there is enough stock to cover all the lentils and barley. If there is not enough, add more boiling water till they are all covered in stock.
Add the onion and mushroom mix and gently stir.
Place the casserole dish into an oven which has been heated to 350°F and bake uncovered for 1 and 1/2 hours. After the first hour, remove the casserole from the oven and stir the lentils and barley. If the liquid is almost all absorbed and the barley is not yet soft and starting to swell or puff up, add a cup or two more water, and adjust your seasoning by adding a bit of salt and pepper and another teaspoon or two of vegetable stock stock .Cover with foil or a lid and let it bake for a further half our or until the barley is soft and “puffy”.
Remove from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes to let the flavors absorb and settle, and serve with a salad or a vegetable stew if you want to keep the meal vegetarian, but this dish would also be delicious with a beef or lamb stew, or with a chicken casserole.
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 yellow onions chopped
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
1 and 1/2 cups orange lentils
3 large tomatoes chopped
2 Tbs. Turmeric
1 Tbs. Medium curry powder
2 cups Kale coarsely chopped
Heat oil in a sautee pan and add onion and garlic.
Cook until the onions until translucent.
Add the lentils and tomatoes.
Season with salt, pepper, turmeric and curry powder, and mix well.
Add the chopped Kale and let this mix cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly so nothing sticks to bottom of pan.
Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil.
lower heat and let the stew simmer gently until lentils are soft and all flavors have blended well.
Serve with the lentil and barley bake, or with rice, quinoa, or kouskous.
Stir-Fried Tofu and Onions with Avocado Pear
1 lb. extra firm tofu
1 red onion diced
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. honey
ground black pepper
1 Avocado pear diced
Cut the tofu into cubes and place on top of a double layer of paper towel on a plate.
Cover with another double layer of paper towel and place another plate on top of the tofu, and put a weight on it, so that it forces the liquid to drain from the tofu. Leave for a few minutes and then transfer the dried tofu to a clean plate.
Drizzle 1 Tbs. olive oil over the tofu.
Drizzle the soy sauce and honey over the tofu.
Season with the black pepper and some garlic powder.
Gently stir the tofu making sure that all the cubes are coated in the marinade. Allow to sit in marinade for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Enjoy these recipes and I hope you get a feel of the fun we had together.