Archive | January, 2010

Curried Lentils

30 Jan

I haven’t made very many lentil dishes I really liked, but this one was a winner.  Its a quick, healthy, and inexpensive side dish.

This recipe has absolutely no relation to curry powder, which I can’t stand.  Instead, it uses curry paste, which is the base for stir-fried coconut curry dishes. I used homemade red curry paste, and put in about a tablespoon.  I’ve heard that commercial curry paste is really spicy, so if you use store-bought paste, start with a teaspoon and add more to taste.  Mine turned out very flavorful but not spicy which was perfect for the kids.  Make sure to cook the lentils until they’re soft and creamy – any variety will work, but I used regular green lentils.

I made these twice – once with yogurt and once with coconut cream.  I liked the coconut version better, but both were good, and coconut seems to be love it or hate it kind of food.  If using coconut cream, get a can of coconut milk, don’t shake it, and when you remove the top, there should be a thick layer of coconut cream.  Scoop off what you need, then stir the rest into the coconut milk and refrigerate.

Curried Lentils

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Cooking Classes Featured in News-Post

27 Jan

Frederick County Parks & Rec Cooking Classes are featured in the Food section of today’s Frederick News-Post!   Author Susan Guynn and photographer Travis Pratt joined us last week for Couples Cuisine, featuring avocados.  Visit the Parks & Rec website for more information and class registration.   Winter classes are available now – I’ll let you know when Spring registration begins.

Indian Summer Chili

25 Jan

This is the best chili ever, and easy too.  Its based on this Rachael Ray recipe, but I’ve added beans, and I cook it a bit longer – I think it develops the flavors.  I used a combination of black and kidney beans in this batch.  Chickpeas might be good too. It is great for a crowd, but make a double batch – it goes quickly!

Indian Summer Chili

Butternut Squash Lasagna

22 Jan

This was a surprise hit with the family.  Kids are never too keen on trying anything new, and I thought the husband would complain about the lack of meat, but I was pleasantly surprise.  The basil is the key ingredient, so don’t skimp or substitute!  I was inspired by this recipe from the Food Network, but I decided to roast the squash instead, and add ricotta.  I meant to add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the squash in place of the cookies, but I forgot and I’m glad I did.  I don’t know whether the squash was sweet because it caramelized while roasting, or if that particular squash was sweet to begin with, but there was not a hint of bitterness and no need for added sugar.  In fact, I’ll probably add a little cayenne with the salt and pepper before roasting next time – I like things spicy anyway.  I also added ricotta to the squash – more cheese never hurt anything.  The lasagna was very rich – perfect for a cold winter day, but you could leave out the ricotta if you wanted a lighter dish.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

17 Jan

I was really surprised when I bit into these muffins – they have a wonderful nutty, gingerbread-y flavor.  They’re quite sweet – better for dessert than breakfast, but I think you could cut the sugar by up to half without a problem.   I used frozen pumpkin that I grew in the garden this summer.  If you have any leftover, store them loosely covered – they’re so moist they get soggy if sealed tightly.
Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Coconut Chicken Chili

15 Jan

I’ve never been a big fan of chicken chili, but this recipe is great!  The coconut is different and a little sweet, but doesn’t overpower the chili.  You could serve it over rice, and top it with fresh basil, sliced jalapenos, or chopped peanuts.  It think its better without cheese, but you could add that too.  This recipe is kid-friendly (not too spicy) but feel free to kick it up with more chili powder, crushed red pepper, or hot sauce.

Coconut Chicken Chili

Baklava

12 Jan

I would have posted this before Christmas, but I had a hard time figuring out how to save the diagram as an image so I could upload it!

Baklava is always a big hit.  It isn’t hard, but it is time consuming.  I make mine with walnuts only, though I’ve seen recipes with all kinds of nuts.  It is best if made several days in advance – even a week is fine.  It will stay fresh quite a while if stored properly – cover loosely with wax or parchment paper, and store in a cool place (not the fridge though – too much humidity).   Be generous with the butter – if you’re going to the trouble of making it, don’t skimp on the good stuff!

Baklava

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