Here's to good food!

I am finally putting my tried and true family recipes here. Check out my old-time favorites as well as newly discovered ones.

I hope you'll find some recipes here that you enjoy cooking, and those you cook for will find them tasty and satisfying.
Are you looking for something special? Something quick and easy? You'll find it here somewhere.
Check in often to see what's cooking in Monterey!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk

This has a delicious flavor.  Including both green and red lentils with the coconut milk give it a unique taste and texture.  (But you can use all red or all green and adjust timing accordingly.  Green takes longer than red.)  This recipe barely serves 3.  Double for some leftovers.  I love Basmati rice and this recipe goes well with it.  Find it at TJ's and follow the directions on the package.  Otherwise, I mix it half and half with short grain rice and cook it in the rice cooker.

Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
garlic cloves, minced
shallot or small onion, minced
tsp ground coriander
tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
tsp ground turmeric
cup French green lentils,* rinsed separately from the red
13.5-oz can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
cup red lentils (they're really orange.)

kosher salt

Cooked basmati rice, plain yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro,

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ginger, garlic, shallot, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are softened and the spices are very fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add the green lentils*, coconut milk, and 1 tsp kosher salt, then fill the empty coconut-milk can with water and add it to the saucepan. It will look like a lot of liquid, but the lentils will absorb it as they cook. Stir everything together, turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the lentils simmer for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.  Add the red lentils and cook until all lentils are completely soft, about 20-25 minutes more.  Just keep tasting to see when the lentils are cooked through. You may or may not need to add more water.  Season to taste with salt.
Serve the lentils hot over basmati rice. Top each serving with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro or mint. A side of naan is nice, too.

*I've found the French green lentils and red lentils in bins at Safeway.  TJs has bags of red ones.

This recipe came from here.   Food52 has been a great source for recipes lately.  Check them out.

Mississippi Roast

        The picture of this recipe looked delicious, but don't all the pictures on food blogs look terrific!  I have made a few that did not live up to their promised expectations.  You won't see those recipes here.  But this one had been on my list for awhile, and I finally picked up a chuck roast and tried it.  Yum!  After reading several of the comments, I made some adjustments and we liked it fine.  The roast was 3 pounds exactly, but I trimmed off at least 1/4 pound of fat before starting.  Even though there is really NO liquid added, there was plenty as it cooked, mostly fat.  I skimmed most of it off before serving with the meat.
         One time, I tried used the sliced pepperoncini, but that didn't work as well.  Buy the whole ones and use whatever number seems right to you.  If you use the whole jar, prepare for it to be pretty spicy.
  • Ready to start the slow cooking!
  •   1 boneless chuck roast, top or bottom 
                round roast, 3 to 4 pounds
      1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
      3/4 tsp black pepper
      3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
      2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
      10 to 15 pepperoncini (or more)
      2 Tbsp mayonnaise
      2 tsp apple cider vinegar
      ½ tsp dried oregano
      ¼ tsp sweet paprika
      1 tsp buttermilk or yogurt, optional
      Chopped parsley, for garnish

    Place roast on a cutting board and rub the salt and pepper all over it. Sprinkle the flour all over the seasoned meat and massage into the meat.

    Heat the oil in a dutch oven* set over high heat until it is shimmering and about to smoke. Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes a side, to create a crust. Remove roast from pan and place it in the bowl of a slow cooker.** Add the pepperoncini# on top of the meat. Put the lid on, and set to high for a few hours, if you will be around to turn it down later.  (I always start at high for the first hour or two.  This took about 3 hours on high, and 5 on low.)

    As the roast heats, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, dill and paprika in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add the buttermilk/yogurt if using, then whisk again. Remove the lid from the slow cooker and add the dressing. Replace the top and allow to continue cooking, undisturbed, for 6 to 8 hours, or until you can shred the meat easily using 2 forks. 

    Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a bowl and shred, removing any large clumps of fat.  Pour the gravy into a small bowl and serve it along side. Garnish with parsley, and serve with rice, egg noodles, or roast potatoes, or pile on sandwich rolls, however you like.

    *Using a pot with high sides keeps grease a little more contained and prevents getting your stove quite so greasy.
    **Or 300 degree oven for about 3-3.5 hours.

    This recipe comes from here.  I made some adjustments, like leaving out the butter.