A giant bowl of happy

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A few days late but no less delicious. This was the other half of major food prep Sunday — an entire vat of red lentil dal. I love dal… it’s total comfort food and so satisfying.

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Gingery, curry filled, and comfortingly mushy. And we all know I looove mushy food. This one does best with extra roasted vegetables and some chopped nuts and seeds over the top because texture is rad. Making this dish is super easy too, because everything just goes into the slow cooker after it’s prepped. Simple simple simple. I have to say, having a fridge filled with delicious things makes my Monday so much less Mondayish. Anything to alleviate the Monday yucks is fine by me.

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And this dal did exactly that. We’re having a rather chilly May (totally fine with me, though rain would be nice too!), so cuddling up under a blanket with a big bowl of dal was exactly what I needed. That and finishing up the last Mad Men episode ever…. weird. It’s like the end of an era.

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So make yourself a vat of dal, and cuddle up with your favorite furry friend. Do yourself a favor and indulge in some you – time!

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Gingered Red Lentil Dal in the Slow Cooker

Gluten free, vegan friendly (with veggie broth), and totally hands-off. Prep everything, toss it in the slow cooker, and let it do it’s thaaang. No muss, no fuss, and SO delicious. Yield: a vat. 4-6 servings depending on the heapingness of your servings. Soul satisfying and soothing. I served mine with roasted radishes and greens. The recipe is adapted from Real Simple, here.

  • 2 c red lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1″ish pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder (I like Madras)
  • 2 heaping tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 5 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • pepper to taste

In a 4-6 quart slowcooker, combine lentils, potatoes, onion, olive oil, garlic, curry powder, and fresh ginger. Add 1 1/4 tsp sea salt and a few grates of black pepper. Add the broth, and stir a few times to incorporate the spices. Cover and cook until the lentils are cooked and most of the broth is absorbed, about 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I cooked mine for 4 hours on high, and another on low and it was perfect. The dal will thicken as it cools, so a little leftover liquid is fine. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or naan…. or leftover roasted radishes and sautéed greens. Garnish with chopped cashews and pepitas if you’re feeling sassy (highly recommended)!

Makes excellent leftovers. Store them in the fridge or freeze for later.

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Graduation go-time and curry cookies!

you can have a picture of me in it, after Sunday!

Cap, gown, stole and tassel? Check.

Mortar board covered in red glitter and a puffy painted anchor? Check.

Honor cords acquired? Check.

Imminent familial arrival? Check.

Pre-graduation nerves and free time resulting in inventive baking and cooking? MEGA CHECK.

Last blog post before the merriment of commencement commences? Probably check.

thanks, Willamette!

It’s happeninggggg!!! This Sunday I graduate from Willamette University with a BA in Art History magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with departmental honors. Yesssssss! I had to brag, just a little! I still can’t believe it’s happening. It probably won’t hit me until after it happens, at which point it likely won’t feel real either, ha! Jeez, I thought I had copious amounts of free time after I finished thesising?! I have sooo much now (at least until tomorrow when all the fun starts), I don’t know what to do with myself! Oh wait… yes I do. Cook and bake! Duh. I’ve made some super tasty yummies the last few days, but unfortunately they escaped into my stomach before being photographed. BUT. I’m fully intending on making most of them again, so maybe at some point they’ll make it on here.

coookies! But… can you tell me what the curry is doing lurking in the picture?

Anyway… today when I was sitting around post-running trying to figure out what to do with myself, I stumbled upon these cookies. And had one of those moments where I was suddenly fixated on them and determined to make them, despite already having made red wine chocolate cookies yesterday (but whatever, irrelevant, since they’re almost gone). These are pretty much the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the red wine ones… They have CURRY in them! What a novel and EXCELLENT idea! Curry + coconut + oats = yumyumyum. I’m so glad the inside of my car smells like a spice shop now, since now I have these. Win win win all around. And besides, now I’ll have something to sustain me through the (three hour?! Willamette is so NOT big enough to justify a 3+ hour commencement, pshh) graduation ceremony… I’ll have to hide them under my robe, for snackies! Can’t have the gremlins grumbling when I’m about to get my diploma, can we?!

yumyumyummyy

Curried Chocolate Chip-Oat Cookies with Coconut

Only slightly adapted from Cookie Madness, here! I made half of the recipe on account of already having some red wine-choc cookies left over, and got 7. I’ll include the full recipe here, with my modifications.

These cookies are unusual, but so good! I like them for a change from standard chocolate chip/oat cookies. The sugar and coconut add just the right sweetness to balance the curry powder—I reduced the sugar a bit already, but I probably wouldn’t take it down much further. These are easily made vegan!

  • 4 tbsp salted butter (if using unsalted, add 1/2ish tsp salt)
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk bev (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c + 6 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (any kind is fine, just make sure there’s no garlic in it, that would be awkward)
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c chocolate chippies
they look kind of like Horta-cookies! heheh.

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter, applesauce, and sugars. Add in egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and curry powder. Add this to the liquid bowl, and stir until just combined, and then toss in oats, coconut, and chocolate chippies. Drop by small (or huge, if you’re like me) blobs onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie blobs… mine were more like 12, since they were on the large side. Let cool for a minute or two on the sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack for eating further cooling.

natural light all the time, at last!

Boatloads of rain? Make mountains of curry!

mountains of curry in exchange for boatloads of rain!

The best way to combat boatloads of rain?

Make boatloads of curry!

Since Salem and the Willamette Valley are in the process of attempting to become the new Atlantis and submerge completely under water, we’ve had (by some estimates) about 6 inches of rain in the last 57 hours. Apparently the weather gods have gone completely nuts… there are creeks flooding all over the place, and according to the Statesman Journal, this is a once every hundred year occurrence, where the Willamette River rises about 30 feet. Excellent. At least I live on the second floor… Perhaps I should start constructing an ark? I’ve rather resigned myself to being damp for the foreseeable future. Forget about wet feet, I’ve been damp all over for about 4 days! Yeeesh.

Anyway, because I didn’t work today (the kiddies at Bush Elementary, where I work, got sent home due to extreme weather) I ended up with a strange amount of free time. And a headache. Which meant that I wanted nothing to do with my thesis. Consequently… baking/cooking explosion! Why would I spend the afternoon doing anything else when it’s beyond nasty outside? Right. That’s what I thought too.

Which means that mega dinner happened. Because boatloads of rain calls for boatloads of curry! And because curry is spicy, sweet, and warming all at the same time: a good thing to consume when it’s semi-monsooning outside. And then flatbreads. And cookies. I wasn’t just going to make curry, with no accoutrements, now was I?! How boring. I am now feeling quite productive and refreshed. And full. (I would perhaps like to digest just a wee bit faster… I want cookies!)

So. Without further babble, here is tonight’s din din! Deeeelicious. Go make yourself some. I would invite you over to eat some of mine (since Kira and I will now be eating curry for the next million years, hahah oops. I made a lot!), except you might have to locate a boat to come see me… maybe paddle upriver like a salmon?

curry isn't curry without a HUGE BLOB of chutney

Mega-ton of Chicken Coconut Curry, with Oregano-Yogurt Flatbread

Curry adapted from the blog Including Cake, here! Flatbread recipe adapted from here! This makes… a lot of curry. Which is a good thing! Helloooo, leftovers! And look how good it is for you! Lots of beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and orange pepper, and garbanzo beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like molybdenum and manganese. Plus coconut is good for you on all levels :)

For the curry:

  • 1 large, 1 small (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry powder (only the best!)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced (or whatever color you have)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • cornstarch mixed with water, if needed to thicken
  • cooked chicken (if you want. I added a broiled chicken breast to mine for extra protein)
  • I would have added spinach, if I’d had any! Next time :)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute more. Toss in sweet potato chunks, bell pepper, chickpeas, and coconut milk! Simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add cornstarch if not thick enough for your taste. I tossed in my chicken pieces and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, over flat bread, naan, or rice. And be sure to top it generously with shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing), and mango chutney. I like me some spicyyyy curry!

Oregano Yogurt Flatbreads

I made half the recipe, which yielded 4 cute little breads. I would definitely make the whole recipe if not cooking this for just two people, so I’ll include the full measures here. I also used oregano tonight, but any spice is fine! It appealed to my olfactory sensibilities tonight :) AND it went well with the curry, bonus!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 tsp herbs of choice (I used oregano)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used nonfat plain, not greek, as it was what I had on hand)
  • a bit of canola oil, for cooking

Whisk together flour, herb of choice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add in yogurt, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy-ish, so add a little yogurt if it looks to dry. Mine seemed fine with the amount given, but I might make it again, and see what happens with a bit more. I found my breads to have a nice consistency as is.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it holds together and is not sticky. Divide it into the number of breads you want, and roll it into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Swirl a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, plop the flattened dough into the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot, preferably with a mountain of curry!

Best dinner for a rainy day/week!