Saturday, September 27, 2008

khoresh-e-ghaymeh lapeh (persian split pea stew)

i must say that my original reason for posting this recipe is because it was nice to finally measure the ingredients for this recipe... gheymeh, ghaymeh, however you would like to spell it is a persian stew that is usually served on top of rice. it's a savory and flavorful stew, yet fairly simple in its ingredients. this is based on my mother's recipe, who is quite against measuring anything in the kitchen and is a phenomenal cook, so we'll call this a collaborative effort. i'm hoping to preserve more of her wonderful recipes as time goes on...

anyways, this is also my submission for September's 'Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free!' challenge, who's theme this month is "slow food." it's hosted by the lovely naomi of straight into bed cake free and dried. now this 'stew' can be cooked as slow and as long as you want it! i cooked mine for about an hour and a half, but it can be longer or shorter-- the flavors really set in nicely when it's cooked a long time on low, blending the tomato with the rich spices.

the only ingredient in this dish that may be a bit harder to find is dried persian limes (pictured above.) most middle eastern grocery stores should have it though. if not, i'm sure the wonderful internet could supply some :) if you don't have them, plain lime juice can be added, but the flavor is just not as intense. you don't have to eat them when serving the dish, but i love them.

Khoresh-e-Ghaymeh Lapeh (Persian Split Pea Stew)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces (mine was about 2 1/4 cup chopped)
3 medium onions, chopped
6 Tbsp oil (olive, grapeseed)
5 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 28 oz can Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil (i used Muir Glen)
2 tsp Turmeric
3 tsp Cinnamon (less if you don't like it that strong)
2 tsp Sea Salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
3 Dried Limes

Note: this recipe uses three pots/pans (trust me, it's worth the dishes). i refer to them as 'small pot' (for the peas) 'stew pot' (for everything) and 'saute pan' (a frying pan with sides and a lid-for cooking the meat).

1. First rinse your split peas and set to cook in 4 cups of water over medium heat in your small pot. The cooking time will honestly depend on the type of peas-- it really does make a difference. I think mine cooked in about 15 minutes, but watch it and check after 10, then 5, etc. etc. If they overcook they will turn to mush and will be a sad sight. They should be al dente, or almost soft. Don't add salt, or they won't cook! While they're cooking, skim the foam off and discard.

2. Boil hot water. Wash your dried limes and stab a few holes in them. Pour the hot water over your limes in a bowl and cover to let them soak and soften.

3. Meanwhile, while your peas are cooking, cook your chopped onions in 3 Tbsp of your oil in your large stew pot until golden but not overdone. Remove 1/3 of them and place in your saute pan where you will cook the meat.

4. With the other 2/3 of your onion still in the stew pot, add the can of crushed tomatoes as well as the tomato past to the onions. stir well. add a tsp of turmeric to the sauce. if your tomato sauce is unsalted, add some salt. bring the sauce to boil while you move on to the next step- the meat.

5. For the meat: While your sauce is simmering, heat the saute pan you just put the 1/3 of onions along with the other 3 Tbsp of oil. Add the spices (cinnamon, salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric) and beef. After a minute or two, add the limes (not the water) and cook until the meat is almost thoroughly cooked.

6. Add the meat and split peas to the sauce and stir well. turn the heat down to low and let simmer covered for an hour to two hours. taste periodically to see if you want to add any more salt, pepper, etc... it can get fairly thick depending on a variety of factors. if it's too thick for your taste you can add some water. i sometimes add some of the lime water that the limes were soaking in for some more flavor. While your stew is cooking, make your rice- persians use basmati, i made brown rice, so whatever you like.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash with Corn

i blogged a little while ago about a Nando's side dish that I wanted to recreate-- a tasty butternut squash dish. since then i've tried to make it twice, each a little different. it's not exactly the same, but quite good! i use nando's sauces to spice up and add a bit more flavor, but you can also leave them out or sub a few other ingredients (or your own favorite hot sauce). i've added some suggestions for subs in the end. the recipe is quite simple to make and can be a main or side dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Corn

1 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled
1 large red onion, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic peri-peri sauce
1 tsp wild-herb peri-peri sauce
1 Tbsp sea salt
1.5 cups frozen corn (roasted if you like) or 1 cup fresh
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup organic dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped organic cilantro

-preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
-chop the butternut into pieces (about 4" x 3" pieces- the smaller they are the faster they will cook) and place inside down on a baking tray. you can lightly toss the pieces in olive oil or coconut oil and a bit of salt before baking if you choose.
-bake the squash until soft (mine took approx. 15 minutes, but check after 10).
-meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pot and sautee the onion.
-add the corn, hot sauces, salt, and cayenne to the onions and stir for a minute or so. if using fresh corn let it cook for a bit.
-add the cranberries and stir until the corn is heated through.
-chop the squash into cubes and add to the onion mixture. continue to stir the mixture for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. i like there to still be some cubes left, but also a mashed consistency--the more you mix it the more mashed it will become. remove from heat
-add chopped cilantro to taste.

- in the picture below, i made this dish with organic bison sausage chopped up and cooked with the onions. you can also add some grilled chicken if you would like more protein in the dish.
-if you don't have the nando's sauces, you can either leave them out, add your own smoky hot sauce, or probably a mixture of vinegar, herbs, garlic, lemon, agave, and some heat
-i've made this with sweet potato as well and added a dash of cinnamon in for some more added flavor

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pay it Forward

recently i read a post on Elizabeth's blog Under Consideration about a wonderful little project...
"Pay it Forward." i have of course seen the movie, but was intrigued about a blogging version.

anyways, i went ahead and responded to her post and was chosen to also 'pay it forward,' so here we are now! here is the way it works:

I agree to send something fun, cute, and nice to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry. In turn, those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on. Unfortunately, due to postage costs, I can only pay it forward within the United States. If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment!

You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who comment on your blog so that this continues. When the first three have commented I will email you a request for your shipping address and I will send out something that I hope will make you smile!

i was a little hesitant to respond to Elizabeth's post because i didn't know what to send, but i think i've finally come up with something :) her gift arrived a few days ago and definitely made me smile!!

so if there are any readers out there... somewhere... who read this and would like to participate and do a little something nice please comment!

**update-- if you would still like to comment and pay it forward, please do-- i'm going to send the gifts out on a 'rolling' basis based on commenters.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Green Chard with Wild Rice

i know people often wonder about what to do with the tall green things in the store... those leafy ones, or the ones that have stalks attached. here's a quick and easy recipe i made the other day with green chard that arrived in my organic delivery. we've changed companies btw since we've moved... this is our new one: Door to Door Organics - they serve CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, DC, so a pretty wide range and they have a variety of sizes. i must say i prefer our old company, but they don't deliver to our new place :(

anyways, i'm getting off track! i haven't been feeling that well recently, so i've been making a range of 'quick and easy' meals that i'll be sharing soon. in fact, this one was so easy, i'm kind of ashamed to share it! so this is more of a recipe idea than a recipe. anyways, it tasted great and is great for you...

Chard with Wild Rice

After boiling a serving of wild rice, i sauteed an onion and garlic along with some red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and peri-peri sauce. i used Galito's Famous Peri-Peri Sauce - Garlic or Nando's Garlic Peri Peri Sauce would be great as well- lots of flavor really quickly. i then added the chopped chard into the pan and cooked for about 8 minutes. i really wouldn't have thought about pairing the two of these, but they went so well together... the slightly nutty taste of the wild rice along with the spice and greens made a great quick meal.

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