recipes

Curried Lentil Stew

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This is a favorite winter stew of mine–very inexpensive to make. It is tasty and uncommon enough to serve guests. The smoked turkey and smokey cumin, along with the hot, red curry gives this stew a savory and unique flavor. Here’s the recipe.

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You can see how much I like this recipe…

Curried Lentil Stew
1 Pkg. Dried Lentils
3 Lg. Smoked Turkey Sausage Links, cut into cubes
2 Lg. Onions, diced
1 Sm. Pkg. Frozen Corn
1 Sm. Pkg. Frozen Peas
1 Cup Good, Dry, Red Table Wine
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Uncooked Brown Rice
1-4 Heaping T. Hot Red Curry Paste (depends on how spicy you like it)
3 Heaping Tsp. Cumin Powder
2 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
2 Chicken Bullion Cubes
1 Cup Chopped Parsley for Garnish
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:
Rinse the dried lentils, dump into a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Add  1 tsp. salt and bring to a slow simmer, partially cover. Simmer gently until the lentils are tender. Don’t over cook, so they turn to mush.

While the lentils are simmering, dice and cube the turkey sausage links, onion, and garlic. Brown the turkey sausage in a frying pan with a little olive oil, scrape up all the tasty brown bits and add the chopped onion. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add garlic and continue sautéing and stirring until the garlic is cooked.

Add 1 cup red wine. Simmer together until more than half of the red wine is reduced. Stir occasionally.

To the cooked lentils add the rest of the ingredients, spices, and sausage/onion/garlic/wine mixture. Be sure to scrape all the bits from the pan to the soup mixture. This is the savory part of the stew. If 4 heaping tablespoons of hot, red curry paste is too spicy for you, then cut it down. Add water to fill the soup pot to the brim. Partially cover and slowly simmer together until the flavors are blended and rice is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes. Lentils should be thick like stew with some extra liquid.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh, chopped parsley, and crusty bread with butter.

The Leeks of Egypt

Jewish people living in Egypt before the Exodus evidently loved leeks. When they were liberated from the bondage of slavery to the Eygptians and wandered in the desert for 40 years, they missed the “leeks of Egypt.” And I understand why. They are incredibly delicious. Here is one way to use leeks.

Start with fresh, fat leek stalks. Wash and cut off the roots and green tails.

Leek Confetti

Chop three leeks into medium pieces.
Place in a saute pan with 1/4 stick butter, 1/4 c water, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until tender. Cook about 5 minutes longer uncovered until all liquid is gone.

This leek confetti can be used in quiches, toast, crackers, soups, omelets, bruschetta, scrambled eggs. It is delicious.

Leek Quiche

One pie shell
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper and sprinkle of sweet paprikra
8 oz. goat cheese sliced into small pieces
1 & 1/2 cups leek confetti (Save extra leek confetti.)

Lightly beat eggs; add all other ingredients and stir. Add to pie shell. Sprinkle top with sweet paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until egg custard is firm.

Garnish with halfed grape tomatoes and shredded, raw leek bits. Serves 8.

White Bean and Kale Soup

I just finished the pot of white bean and kale soup that I made a couple of days ago. It got better each day!

White Bean and Kale Soup

2 large links of smoked turkey sausage, cut into cubes
1 large onion, minced
8 kale leaves washed, spines cut out, and cut into small pieces
3 cans of white beans, drained
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
dash cayenne pepper

Blacken smoked turkey sausage in a stew pot with 1 T of olive oil. Set aside. In the same pot, saute onion and kale leaves with 1 T olive oil until tender. Scrape up the blackened turkey bits from the pan. Add 1 & 1/2 cans of beans. Mash with potato masher until beans are mushy. Add remaining whole beans and all ingredients, including blackened turkey. Stir. Simmer for 15 minutes, but do not boil. Garnish with a dolup of sour cream and chopped chives. Serves 6-8.

White Chili

Last Friday we hosted a staff Erev Shabbat meal at our home. We had 22 people. It was a simple meal this time. I made two kinds of chili–regular and white chili–cornbread, Asian salad, queso and chips, and ice cream and cookies.

The best part of the evening was that we all gathered around the piano, and a friend led us in worship. Then we had a prayer time for our country and the election. It was sweet.

The white chili was a hit. Here’s the recipe.

White Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 lg. onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans white navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can hot Rotel
2 cans chicken stock
1 cup milk
8-16 oz water
1 tsp cumin
cayenne powder, salt and pepper

Brown ground turkey and onion together until meat is cooked through. Add chopped red bell and garlic, cook until bell is tender. Add corn, beans, Rotel, chicken stock, water, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper. Determine water amount by how soupy you like your chili. Add cayenne according to how spicy you like it. Remember the Rotel will add a lot of spice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and add milk. Stir and simmer for 15 more minutes. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chopped scallions and cilantro. Serves 8.

Beef and Onion Stew

Beef and onion stew with tomato and olive salad on the side.

This is a very hearty autumn or winter stew. My husband loves this stew and side salad together. Here’s the recipe.

Beef and Onion Stew

2 pounds lean round or stew beef, cut into cubes
1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper to taste, for dredging
2 large onions, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 T flour
1/2 cup cognac
2-3 cups beef stock
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage, crumbled, cayenne powder

For the stew, dredge beef cubes in flour, salt and pepper. Brown in olive oil over medium-high heat. Set aside. Add flour and cognac, stirring to pick up the tasty brown bits. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. If lumpy, use a whisk. Add chopped onions, bay leaves, thyme, sage, and beef to gravy. Stir. Simmer on low on stovetop, with a lid, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Ladle over plain baked potatoes, one per person. Garnish with dollop sour cream and cayenne powder sprinkles. Serves 6.

Beef cubes

Dredge the beef cubes

Brown beef cubes

Make gravy

Add cognac

Add onions

Add beef, stir, and simmer

Garnish with sour cream and cayenne pepper and serve

Tomato and Olive Salad

1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green olives and pimentos
2 T Olive Oil
1 T Olive Brine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ingredients, toss with olive oil, add salt and pepper. You can also add chopped green onion, chopped parsley or cilantro, and feta chunks for a variation–or all of it is wonderful together. 

Red Pepper Soup

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Can you tell I like soup?

Many recipes posted on this blog are soup or stew. That’s because I really learned to cook while living in Ukraine. Soup is a staple there, so I developed an appetite for it… maybe even a flair for it…

This is the recipe of a friend of mine that lives in Jerusalem. She had made the soup for me on a previous visit, and I fell in love with it for various reasons. It is healthy, very tasty, and easy. Still it is a wonderful recipe for entertaining; although it is filled with robust vegetables, it can be fancy too–something special for a dinner party or birthday party meal. 

My friend made the soup yesterday and gave me the recipe, so I am passing it on to you.

Red Pepper Soup

2-3 T olive oil
2 large onions roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
5 large red peppers, cut into large pieces
1 raw sweet potato, peeled and cut into squares
2 fresh pears, leave skin on, cut into pieces
5-6 Cups of chicken broth
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour Cream
Croutons

In a large pot, heat oil and saute all the vegetables and pears for 10 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 45 minutes. Puree vegetables and stock with hand-held blender.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or croutons. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top.

Russian Dills

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If you haven’t tasted Russian or Ukrainian dill pickles, then you are in for a treat. They are the best I have ever tasted and here in ex-Soviet country, they are so popular they are practically a food group–about as popular as chocolate.

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Wayne and I have had one at least everyday since arriving. Here is a tried and true recipe from a Ukrainian friend.

Russian Dills

5 lb. small cucumbers
1/2 head garlic (more if you want)
3 sprigs fresh dill weed with heads
4 grape leaves or cherry leaves or 1/4 tsp. alum
1 cup coarse salt or kosher salt
3 to 4 qt. water
7 peppercorns
1 large crock or a gallon glass jar
Soak (but do not scrub) cucumbers in very cold water over night. Scald a clean glass jar or large crock with boiling water. Place a grape or cherry leaf at the bottom and arrange cucumbers vertically in layers, inserting garlic cloves and dill weed here and there, not packing too tightly.

Add salt to boiling water and stir. Pour brine over cucumbers and add peppercorns. (If not using leaves, add alum for added crispness). Cover with leaves and a plate and place in a cool, dark place to ferment.

After 4 to 5 days, the cucumbers will be semi-cured; some prefer them that way. After a few more days, fully cured pickles will become a lighter green. Store in fridge.

Tatyana’s Ukrainian Borscht

csc_0095This is Tatyana and her husband on the streets of Odessa. They are some of our best buds here in Ukraine. I have been enjoying Tatyana’s wonderful cooking, and especially her borscht, for almost 14 years now. I asked her if she would mind sharing the recipe with you.

As you can see the ingredients are simple; they are the kind that every rich or poor man may have had in his kitchen at any time.  Soviet people have been making borscht for centuries. It is a classic soup. Recipes vary just like Southern American recipes for chili differ. Anyway, this is a winner, and I know you will enjoy it.

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Tatyana’s Ukrainian Borscht

2 lb. beef or chicken
2 lg. onions chopped
Fill a large soup pot with water, and simmer beef or chicken, salt and pepper to taste with chopped onions until meat is cooked thoroughly but not tough. While the meat is cooking, prepare the following raw vegetables.

1 very lg. beet, peeled and chopped
2 lg. carrots peeled and chopped
7 med. potatoes peeled and chopped
¼ cabbage chopped

When the meat is tender, remove from broth. Add the chopped beets and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped potatoes and cabbage. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and tender, but not mushy.

Sauté the following ingredients in ¼ cup butter and 1 T of oil:
1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 sm. beet, peeled and finely grated
1 sm. onion, peeled and finely chopped

Add 1 cup fresh tomato sauce or 2 T tomato paste and stir into sautéed vegetables. Add mixture to broth and simmer. Cut meat or chicken into cubes and add to soup broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: add one cup of cooked pinto beans. Bring to a boil.

Serve hot and garnish with sour cream and fresh, chopped cilantro. Serves 8-10 people.

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