Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mujadara v.2

We thoroughly enjoyed the Mujadara I made for Cook the Books, but we did think it was too sweet. So, I decided to make a v.2.


For this version, I only caramelized one onion...and added a fennel bulb to the mix. Also, I added in some braising greens. It was perfect!

Ingredients
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 t organic coconut sugar
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 C brown lentils
  • 1/2 C organic brown basmati rice
  • 2 C braising greens 
  • 1 t ground sea salt
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • olive oil for serving

Procedure
Heat oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions, fennel, coconut sugar, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Do not rush this step.

Sort through the lentils. Add water to cover the lentils completely by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils re tender but still retaining their shape. Drain the lentils and set aside.

When the onions are cooked, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 C braising greens, 2 C of water, and the salt. Stir to combine. Decrease the heat to keep the liquid at a slow simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 20  minutes. Remove the lid and stir. If there is still liquid, cover again and cook till no liquid remains. When the rice is tender, it's done!

Stir chopped parsley into the dish. Spoon into individual bowls. Garnish with more parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the Books: Mujadara


This round Debra of Eliot's Eats selected our April-May selection. The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week) by Robin Mather is our current Cook the Books project. And you have plenty of time to join the party, if you wish. Submissions aren't due till June 1st! I just got an early start...because I read it in one sitting.

On the Page...
I have to admit: I was completely put off by the subtitle: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week). I envisioned a self-absorbed memoir that was more focused on grocery receipts than the actual food. How wrong I was!

She mentions her divorce only in the introduction and, while what transpired informs her current situation, it doesn't define her. And, regarding her budget, she writes more about why she spends her money where she does versus what she purchases costs. "...my aim is to keep as much of my money with my neighbors as possible. ...So I spend a bit of time in shopping, to compare the choices by reading the labels to see where they're made and to coose the ones made closest to home."

I am with her on that. I tend to go out of my way to support local food artisans that I have gotten to know. It's both gratifying and delicious!

In the Bowl...
I had  hard time choosing which recipe I wanted to make. I loved that she shared a recipe for pickled cherries; but I had just made Chai Sweet Chili Pickled Cherries. She offered a recipe for gazpacho; I'm always up for variations on that delicious Summer soup. I've made Olallieberry Gazpacho and Watermelon Gazpacho. I was tempted by her Moroccan-style roasted beets with cumin and olive oil.

But, in the end, I wanted to make a recipe that was new to me. I decided to try her recipe for Mujadara, a Middle Eastern dish with lentils and caramelized onions.


Ingredients
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced*
  • 1 t organic coconut sugar
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 C brown lentils
  • 1/2 C organic brown basmati rice
  • 1 t ground sea salt
  • chopped fresh parsley

*Note: I found the dish too sweet with 2 caramelized onions. Next time I'll only use one onion.

Procedure


Heat oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions, coconut sugar, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Do not rush this step.

Sort through the lentils. Add water to cover the lentils completely by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils re tender but still retaining their shape. Drain the lentils and set aside.

When the onions are cooked, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 C of water, and the salt. Stir to combine. Decrease the heat to keep the liquid at a slow simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 20  minutes. Remove the lid and stir. If there is still liquid, cover again and cook till no liquid remains. When the rice is tender, it's done!

Stir chopped parsley into the dish. Spoon into individual bowls. Garnish with more parsley. Serve immediately.

Thanks, Debra, for the great selection. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Next up for Cook the Books...Simona of Briciole selected our June-July selection. The Wedding Bees: A Novel of Honey, Love, and Manners by Sarah-Kate Lynch, Hope you'll join us.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the book or item of your choice.

      

Grilled Cheese in the Garden for #FoodieExtravaganza

Welcome to the Foodie Extravaganza
v. April 2015 = It's All About Grilled Cheese

We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food!  Each month we will decide on an all-famous National Monthly Food Holiday in which we will base our recipes around. This month the theme is Grilled Cheese.  Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? I didn't.  So, this month we celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by serving up sandwiches.

But, through the various cooking groups to which I belong, I am posting grilled cheese recipes for multiple events this month. In preparation, I hosted a Grilled Cheese Party in the Garden and had some helpers in creating and testing recipes.

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza.  We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.


I learned a lot that day in the garden! Many of the friends I questioned claimed that grilled cheese should only be bread and cheese. But I provided a variety of ingredients for my recipe testers. What we discovered: it's all about the extras!


The recipe I'm going to share today was my creation...I'm calling it Camilla's Pretty and Pink Grilled Cheese...


Ingredients
  • sourdough bread, sliced
  • mozzarella
  • brie
  • thinly sliced apples
  • pickled red onions
  • radish blossoms
  • lavender leaves
  • butter
Procedure
Heat your grill pan. Butter on slice of bread and place that, butter side down, on the hot pan. Layer your sandwich with mozzarella, dots of brie, thinly sliced apples, picked red onions, radish blossoms, lavender leaves; finish with another layer of mozzarella so that you have cheesy goodness on both top and bottom! Butter the top bread. Then grill till the bread is golden and crisped and the cheese is melted and gooey. Serve hot.

Here's what the whole gang made...
Not live yet - please add back later if you’d like
  • Open Faced Italian Grilled Cheese from Kathleen at Fearlessly Creative Mammas
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Swazi Babotie

    This is a traditional Swazi recipe for a spiced meat meatloaf that's finished by baking it under a spiced custard. While S made the Malva Pudding for dessert, D, R, and D made the main dish for our feast from Swaziland.


    Ingredients

    • 1 lb organic grassfed beef, ground
    • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
    • olive oil
    • 1 T curry powder
    • 1/2 t ground turmeric
    • 1/2 t ground, smoked paprika
    • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
    • 3 T ketchup
    • 3 T apricot jam
    • 7 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 C fresh chopped herbs + 2 T for garnish (we used a mixture of parsley, cilantro, and oregano)
    • ½ C organic whole milk

    Procedure
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large frying pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the fennel and leeks until translucent and softened

    Add in the meat and cook until completely browned. Season with spices and stir in the ketchup and jam. 


    Spoon the mixture into a well-greased, oven-proof dish. Then combine the eggs with the milk and herbs and beat well. Pour the mixture over the babotie.


    Cover and bake for an hour, or until the custard has set. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan before slicing and serving.

    Monday, March 30, 2015

    Malva Pudding {Swaziland}


    Tonight, to go along with our tabletop travel to Swaziland, S made a Malva Pudding while I made the caramel sauce. Ah. Mazing. Malva pudding is a sweet pudding that contains apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture. A cream sauce - or a caramel sauce - is poured over it while it is still hot; we went for the caramel.

    Ingredients
    Pudding

    • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 T apricot jam 
    • ½ C flour (we used whole wheat pastry flour)
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t salt (we used a vanilla salt)
    • 1/3 C whole milk
    • 1 t apple cider vinegar
    • 1T butter, melted + some for greasing pan
    Sauce

    • 7 T butter
    • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar
    • 1 C organic heavy cream
    • 1 t pure vanilla extract


    Procedure
    Pudding
    Line a baking dish with parchment paper and butter generously. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Beat until thick and lemon-colored.  Mix in the apricot jam and beat again. In another bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda and salt.

    In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, vinegar and butter. Pour the milk mixture and flour mixture into eggs and sugar. Beat well until combined thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared pan.


    Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. The pudding will be dark brown and firm to the touch. 

    While the pudding bakes, make the sauce.

    Sauce
    In a flat-bottom pan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in sugar and cook until it begins to bubble and turn a darker brown. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Be careful...it will bubble up violently. Pour in the cream and cook to let it form a caramel. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cut pudding into slices and pour caramel sauce over the top.

    Chavez Cellars 2010 Zinfandel {Tasting Notes}


    We went on a hunt for wildflowers yesterday. According to one of the park docents, we missed it by about three weeks. Instead of hills draped in a carpet of orange poppies, we had charred blossoms; they weren't just wilted, they were positively singed. Look at my crew of unhappy hikers. They felt duped, as did I. I had promised them wildflowers. Boo.


    We stopped at the store on the way home from the park and I spotted this bottle of wine. It had poppies on the label and it was from Antelope Valley. I know the kiddos couldn't - and wouldn't - enjoy it. But Jake and I joked that we found poppies!

    And though I readily admit that I bought this bottle for the label, it was perfect with dinner after a day in the desert.


    Tasting Notes: Garnet color with rose, plum, and vanilla aromas. On the palate it's medium-bodied, elegant with great texture and mild acidity with a lingering sweet finish. Lighter than I expected from a zinfndel. Easy drinking wine. I paired it with Ostrich Lasagna, green salad, and roasted beets.

    Food'N'Flix Invitation: Chef


    It's my turn to host Food'N'Flix where we watch movies and head  into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something based on a recipe they actually make in it or just something we were driven to make after watching it.
    Food‘nFlix
    For April's round, I selected Chef. I watched the movie when it was released last year, but I'm excited to see what inspires all of you. There is so much from which to choose. I won't tell you too much...just that the main character is a chef in a high end restaurant. He leaves that job and starts his own business - in a food truck.


    Here's a trailer...


    If you’ve never seen Chef, you must. Really. Just watching him plate pasta is gorgeous. But all the food looks incredible. Jon Favreau does his own slicing, dicing, and cooking in the movie. It's impressive and inspiring. Just be sure to eat ahead of watching...or have dinner reservations right after, because you will want to eat some incredible food when the movie is over.


    I watched it again last week when the house was quiet and all my boys were asleep. I pulled out a notepad and scribbled down some recipe ideas. What should I attempt? I haven't quite decided yet.  But I hope you'll join the fun. Watch the movie, then post about it on your blog with a link back to this post and to Food'N'Flix. Use of the logo is optional.

    Your post must be current (during month of film). And of course we don't mind if your post is linked to other events...the more the merrier. Have fun with it!

    Email your entries to me at: constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com and include...

    ~Your name
    ~Your blog's name and URL
    ~The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you're submitting
    ~Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to "pull" one from your post)
    ~Indicate "Food 'n Flix Submission" in the subject line


    Deadline for submission is: April 28th.*

    *watch for the roundup to be posted by April 30th!

    Sunday, March 29, 2015

    Ostrich Lasagna


    Yesterday we visited an ostrich farm and fed some of the animals.

    I had warned the kiddos that it was a farm and we might purchase eggs and, possibly, meat. The guy manning the store didn't have the meat there, but told me where - in town - I could find it. So, today, we tracked some down. The kids had voted for the steaks, but all the store had was ground ostrich meat. I had been planning on making lasagna anyway, so I decided to make ostrich lasagna. I'm certain that the flavor is masked by the herbs and the wine, so we'll have to try again another time.


    Ingredients

    • 1 onion, peeled and diced
    • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
    • olive oil
    • 2 pounds ground ostrich meat
    • 2 T butter
    • 2 C fresh tomato sauce
    • 1/2 C red wine
    • 1/2 C water
    • 1 C fresh chopped parsley
    • 2 T fresh oregano
    • freshly ground salt, to taste
    • freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • lasagna noodles
    • 3 C shredded cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella, asiago, provolone, and Monterey jack)
    • 1 C shredded parmesan
    • 3 C small curd cottage cheese

    Procedure
    In a large, flat-bottom pan, saute the onions and fennel in a splash of olive oil until softened and translucent. Add in the ground ostrich meat and 2 T butter; friends had warned me that ostrich was lean and needed added fat. Cook till browned through completely.


    Add in the tomato sauce, wine, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in herbs, then season to taste with salt and pepper.


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To assemble the lasagna, layer meat sauce, noodles, shredded cheese blend , cottage cheese, and meat sauce. Repeat till your pan is full though the last layer should be meat so that the noodles are completely covered.


    Cover with foil. Bake in the 375 degree F oven for one hour. Remove the foil. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Return pan to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese melted. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

    On a side note...we just realized that the table does actually have six chairs. And we found the leaf for the table in the girls' closet. So, tonight, we ate all together instead of in two shifts. Great conversation with lots of giggles. Now I just need to figure out how to get all of us in the shot...and in focus.

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