Food fights and turkalurk

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Happy Belated TurkaLurk Day! Gobble gobble gobble…

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We did the usual Thanksgiving things but also did some really awesome things like 18 holes of frisbee golf and extreme ping pong and pie. Obvs. So weird. Pumpkin pie isn’t even my thing and I still can’t help but get all fancy. Whatever. It must be that extra baking gene I picked up somewhere in my travels to this particular incarnation.

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Oh hi, we love whipped cream.

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And then in attempting to use my parent’s favorite kitchen gadget (the Austrian whipped cream whipper they’ve had foreverrrr) at altitude, we laughed till our abs ached as the silly thing tried to explode and decant its contents violently all over the kitchen. No such luck, rouge whipper, we have your number and in no way are you going to be allowed to explode, no matter how much copious fizzing and spurting and hilariously juvenile noises end up emerging from your innards. In the end, a second batch of cream got whipped by hand but not before a mini food fight broke out. No big deal.

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Also lentils. IMG_6986

I made this dish forever ago but never got around to sharing it, so I’ll do that now… which is rather fitting considering it’s made of lentils and despite the plethora of turkey currently sweeping the nation, I prefer lentils, thank you. So here you go, my non-turkalurk-eating-crowd, this is for you. And for me, come to think of it…

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Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for lots of things, up to and obvs including food. Gobble gobble…

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Roasted Kabocha Squash Lentil Dal

Gluten free and vegan! Rather quick, if you preroast the squash and all that. I adapted the recipe from happy hearted kitchen, here! Hearty and perfect for winter comfort food without the heavy ick factor… Just a warming bowl of spicy lentils to keep you dancing and happy.

  • 1 small kabocha squash
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • a few twists of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1.5 c light coconut milk
  • 4 c veggie stock
  • chopped cashews, Persian cucumbers and shredded coconut to garnish

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For the squash: wrestle the squash and successfully cut it in halvsies. Preheat the oven to 400. Scoop out the squash seeds, and brush the insides of the squash with avocado oil (or another high heat oil would be fine here). Roast, cut side down, on a rimmed cookie sheet until the sides of the squash can be pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Remove squash from oven, flip over, and let cool until you can comfortably scoop out the puree.

In a large pot over medium, heat olive oil. Add diced onion and garlic, fresh ginger and turmeric, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add a splash of water if needed if things get too dry or the spices are sticking. Toss in cumin, ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, a twist of pepper, and some sea salt, and stir to combine. Add rinsed and drained lentils and diced bell pepper, followed by the coconut milk and enough broth to cover the top of the lentils, and stir again. Bring to a boil (I covered mine and watched it like a hawk), then reduce heat to low and let it simmer covered for about 35-40 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the squash puree. I purposefully left some chunks in mine for texture… You can blend it with an immersion blender here if you like, but I chose to leave mine as is—red lentils are so soft anyway that they’re pretty much perfect here. Season to taste with the rest of the salt and more pepper, if you’re spicy like me. Garnish with persian cucumbers, chopped cashews, and shredded coconut for fun!

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. If it’s thickened up quite a bit when you go for leftovers, add a splash of broth and heat it back up on the stove (or leave it thick—I love it like that the next day).

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Soup is like my problem child

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Hello invisible internet friends!

I made soup for you, and I apologize in advance because I HATE photographing soup. It can look all cute and aesthetic, and then I stare at it through a camera lens and my first response is always…

Ew.

I LOVE soup. Why is it so annoying to photograph?! You would think that a bowl of chunky veggies and lumpy lentils… oh. Wait. That’s right. Lumpy is not generally considered aesthetic. Problem child.

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Well, whatever. Pictures may be lacking but soup and flatbread are incredibly aesthetic to my stomach, so there. We already know I love lentils an any form, so obviously it’s a give that I love lentil soup. And really we all know that soup is just an excuse for a carby side (ie, BREAD, wheee!!).. and thusly that bread is a convenient conveyance for butter, what a glory. Bread+butter= doesn’t get much better. Oh, right, and add in the side of soup to nicely round things out for a balanced type meal.

In other news, I have eaten some delicious croissants and trout and avo lately… (it was too pretty not to share!)

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Annnnddd  I made what appears to be the world’s tiniest buckwheat cookie. Sorry it kind of looks like… a turd?! It was delicious, promise.

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This soup is also delicious, have I neglected to mention that?! It also comes together in about 20 minutes, or less depending on if you puree (which I did not… lack of immersion blender, blender of any sort, and a leaky food processor notwithstanding). If you like cumin-type flavors, put this on your dinner list… now!

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Simple Lentil Soup

I ate this with the Sri Lankan roti flatbread I’ve made before, here. The soup recipe is lightly adapted, courtesy of Sukarah, here! We got three dinner servings out of it, plus a small bit of leftovers.

  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 carrots, chunked/diced
  • 4 c water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 c fresh spinach, rinsed

Combine lentils, carrots, water, and cinnamon stick in a large-ish soup pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, covered, and let simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes (they will have absorbed most of the water, but there should be some liquid still left).

In a sauté pan, toss in olive oil and heat over medium. When heated, add in onions and sauté until translucent. While onions are going, chuck in spinach to sauté/wilt. Add cumin and salt, and continue sautéing until onions begin to brown slightly.  Remove from heat. Once finished, add onions/spinach to the lentils, and let simmer for a few minutes more. Remove from heat when ready to serve.

At this point, you can puree it for a creamy texture, or leave it chunky as I did. I like chunks… and, as I said, I have some slight gadgety issues at the moment that prevent mess-less pureeing… soooo… good think I like chunks.

Serve hot, preferably with some sort of bread!

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Lightning-fast mooching abilities and other skills

Mmm. Kebabs.

Why is it way more fun to eat things on sticks? Is it some kind of childish relapse I’m having? I doubt it, considering I hated (no wait, loathed is waaay more accurate) corndogs as a child. Which is like the quintessential kid-food-on-a-stick. Gross. I STILL think they’re gross. Probably even more now than I did. Anywayyy. There’s something about eating chicken on a skewer which makes it waaay more fun than just eating chicken. Boooring.

Besides, then when you’re finished, you can poke your dinner partners with your skewers. Muahahhaa.

Not that I would ever do such a thing…

You know what that makes me think of?! The Mooch Fork!!! I WANT one of these: they’re basically a telescoping fork that can be used for swiping choice bits of food off of your unsuspecting dinner companion’s plates!! What a genius idea. They take poaching to an entire new level. No longer will I have to do one of these: “WAIT! Ohmygosh there’s a METEOR outside, look look look!!” *semi-spastically points out the window while simultaneously gesticulating wildly and sneakily swiping bread or whatever while no one is looking*. Oh no. With a mooch fork, I could just telescope away. No one would able to stop my lightning speed mooching. It might also be useful in the grocery store around the holidays—perhaps to fend off those crazies who try to steal the last can of pumpkin (long range poking might come in handy, you never know…). Does anyone know where to get one of these?! Because I want one, pleaseandthankyou.

Anyway. Food on a stick.

These kebabs are deceptively simple. All they really require is a bit of advance planning and some time. But they make a fab change from everyday chicken…AND you get to play with your food! Winning all around.

uh huh. MOOCHING

Caribbean Chicken Skewers

My family usually makes 6 skewers, so 2 per person. We use wooden skewers that we soak for at least an hour beforehand (to prevent them from burning), with 4 sticks per person (if you use two sticks per kebab, the meat can be flipped evenly on the grill without sliding around…does that make sense?!). I’ll include the amount of food we use for 3 people, so adjust according to your needs.

The marinade recipe is from The Cooks Illustrated Guide to Grilling and BBQ, and is delicious. It makes more than we need, so we’ll usually save some.

Whatcha need:

  • enough skewers to feed your peeps
  • 2 large or 3 smallish chicken breasts, defrosted and cut into chunks
  • 2 large bell peppers (I used one red and one purple), cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, sliced into skewer-able pieces
  • 2 apples, cut into chunks
  • mushrooms, halved
  • zucchini is good too, if you have it!

Marinade:

  • 1/2 c good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

About an hour before, soak the skewers in water.

Heat the grill to about 500 (ish), enough to get a sear on the meat.

Defrost the chicken, and cut into smallish cubes. Let it sit in the marinade for at least a half an hour, preferably an hour for the best flavor (although that never happens around here). While meat is marinating, cut up veggies so you’re all ready for blastoff…

Once meat has sat for a bit, thread the meat and veggies onto the skewers, alternating so they look pretty! Use two skewers, as I said before, so that you can rotate the meat on the grill without it just spinning on the skewer. Grill for 2 minutes per side, uncovered, rotating the kebabs a quarter turn every 2 minutes, until meat is fully cooked and meat/veggies/fruit are lightly browned (about 8 minutes total for white meat). Remove when there is no pink at the center and the meat is opaque. Serve immediately! I like mine with a sweet potato and mo’ veggies on the side :)