How to: Slow Cooker – Daal

There is no shortage of slow cooker recipes popping up all over the place now that it’s fall. So why should you try this one? Because.

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And also, it was a “perfect on the first try” recipe. A simple, healthy, flavourful stew that tastes great right out of the slow cooker and even greater the next day for lunch.

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I tend to use my gigantic slow cooker in fits and starts. I find it does a great job of braising meat slow and low, but vegetables? Not so much.  In my experience, they get obliterated beyond recognition.  Sure, you can shorten the cook time. But then why use a slow cooker? Isn’t the idea to set it and forget it for the day? All this to say, since I seldom cook with meat at home, mine has been getting hauled out a couple of times a year at most. And I’ve decided, it’s just not enough to justify all of the valuable kitchen real estate it occupies.

So it’s been slow cooker testing mania all up in here.

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This recipe is a mash up of a slow cooker daal I found in The Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker cookbook and my favourite stovetop daal recipe from Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer. Guys. It’s really really good.

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I really like the combination of split peas and red lentils.  The lentils break down quite a bit more than the peas and give the daal a rich, thick texture.  If you’ve only got one or the other though, it’s all good.  Roll with it.  Fiddle with the spices if you like, too.  Add a pinch of cayenne for heat. Replace some of the chicken stock with coconut milk, or simply add a can of coconut milk and make it more of a soup.

When it’s done, jazz it up however you like.  Add fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley), a dollop of yogurt or sour cream or a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle on some toasted almonds or pine nuts or top with some cool, creamy avocado cubes.  It can be as humble or as fancy as you like.

Eat up, buttercups.

Erin

Slow Cooker Daal

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried split yellow peas (well rinsed)
  • 1 cup red lentils (well rinsed)
  • 1 Small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 796mL (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes (chopped roughly in the can with scissors)
  • 3 cups no salt added chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stir once or twice to combine. Set on low heat for 6-8 hours until split peas are cooked through but maintain their shape. Serve with rice, naan or something to soak up the delicious juices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to: Quickie Meal – Indian Spiced Lentil and Coconut Soup

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I have been cooking lots and blogging ZERO. Not OK.

While my momma’s cooking club has been amazing for getting homemade meals on the table three or four days a week, it’s also gotten me out of the habit of testing new recipes and taking photos for the blog.

BUT! I have a new tactic and starting next week I’ve decided to test and photograph on cooking club day.  Two birds. One stone. That old chestnut.

This recipe is one from this week’s club. I only managed to get a couple shots of the final product.  The recipe came by my friend’s sister-in-law who in turn got it from the amazing blog www.ohsheglows.com.  I have heard nothing but good things about the Oh She Glows Cookbook, too.

We adapted the recipe very slightly because we didn’t have enough pot space to make a double batch, but it turned out beautifully; almost a stew-like consistency.

My daughter is coming up on 9 months and is eating just about everything.  Could I be prouder? Nope.  She absolutely loved this soup.  A quick zip with a hand blender to break up the big chunks was all it needed for babyfication.

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This is a perfect one-bowl, 20 minute meal and while it is Indian spiced, it is not at all spicy.  It would be equally delicious with a hint of heat, though.

Enjoy!

Erin

Indian Spiced Lentil and Coconut Soup

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Website Lightly adapted from Oh She Glows - Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 Medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ cup red lentils (rinsed well)
  • 796ml can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock (or more for a soupier consistency)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Note

If you like a hint of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes when you add the spices to the pot.

Try adding some green by throwing in a few handfuls of baby spinach just before you remove it from the heat.

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2. Add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes until lentils are soft.
3. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

How to: Healthy Side – Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

Guys, first off I’d like to thank you all so much for your many encouraging words after last week’s honest rant about having a newborn.  Commiserating is the best isn’t it?  Seriously, you’ve all made me feel like a normal, loving mother (*as I listen to my girl scream her face off trying to fight a desperately needed nap).

This week I have something much more fluffy and fun to write about.  A cookbook! One that sells in ACTUAL bookstores, for which I developed 6 original recipes!

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The book is called Homegrown and is written by Mairlyn Smith (published by Whitecap).  It celebrates Canadian food and only Canadian food. Within it you’ll find 160 recipes featuring the best damn food our country has to offer.  Fruit, veg, beans, grains, meat and seafood; it’s got it all – from east to west coast, too. The recipes were developed by Mairlyn and members of the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA).

When I learned I’d have the opportunity to contribute to this important book as a Professional Home Economist (PHEc) and member of OHEA, I was bursting with ideas. Being a local food junkie, the whole idea of featuring Canada’s best fits perfectly within my philosophy of choosing ‘homegrown’ whenever possible.

The book has been released just in time for the holidays (subtle hint: buy it for gifts!) and I got my 3 pre-ordered copies this week.  You can find it in stores now.

PS It’s currently Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release.  Fancy!

Because I tested and re-tested my own recipes while this book was in the works, I’ve been looking forward to trying some of my colleague’s recipes.

This one comes from  Rosemarie Superville, PHEc and food stylist.  It is SO insanely good. And healthy and colourful. Ooh, and quick and easy. It’s all the things a great recipe should be.

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And lookie whose recipe is on the opposite page!

You’ll notice there are some pretty obvious non-Canadian spices in the recipe. Using a variety of spices and condiments was the one rule we bent, because as Mairlyn says “we’re not writing a pioneer book!”.

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If you want your own copy of Homegrown (and trust me, you do) you can buy it through Amazon or Indigo-Chapters online or at a brick and mortar bookstore near you.

Erin

Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

Serves Makes 4 ½ cups, one serving = ¾ cup

Ingredients

  • 1 Large sweet potato (peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tspcanola oil (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 can (540 mL) lentils (well rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup cooked edamame (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ⅓ cup dried canberries
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro ((I used parsley))

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl toss together sweet potato, 2 tsp canola oil, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Spread evenly on pan and roast 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and tender. Cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup canola oil, vinegar, maple syrup, cumin, coriander, curry powder, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
4. Add cooled sweet potatoes and remaining ingredients and toss gently to coat. Chill at least 1 hour to blend flavours.

 

 

 

How to: Make your own – Mujadara (Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions)

IMG_5002You’re probably thinking  ‘Lentils and rice? NBD’.

But you must listen to me when I say this dish is an unassuming showstopper.

Like, everyone loves it.

The layering of toasted and caramelized flavours really make it crazy good.

IMG_4982I mean, caralmelized onions ramp up any recipe on their own.

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Adding some heavy duty aromatics takes ’em to the next level.

IMG_4984I’ve made this dish many times and have brought it to many a middle eastern theme potluck.  Yes.  I have been to multiple middle eastern themed potlucks. The most recent being a book club meeting based on a book set in, you guessed it, Australia!

Kidding.

It was a huge hit, though.

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These are the caramelized onions I set way aside.  I say way aside because otherwise there would’ve been none left for garnish.

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Brown lentils are super duper cheap and cook very quickly without getting too mushy.  I myself have never used canned lentils for this, but my fellow book clubber gave it a try with them and found there was too much liquid remaining in the pan once the cooking was over.  Hence, my reco to reduce the water to 2 cups if you’re going to use them.

IMG_4991All of these little steps to toast things (cumin/peppecorns, basmati rice, pine nuts) really do make a difference and add a deep, rich flavour to this dish.  Don’t skips that stuff, k?

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Once the cover is off, you can serve directly from the pot or fluff it up and transfer to another serving dish.  I only used my corning ware here because I was transporting this batch.  A great big colourful platter would be beautiful.  Another one of my other favourite garnishes is pomegranate seeds.  Easier when in season of course.

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Just make sure you have something bright and colourful to give this otherwise brown dish an appetizing flair.  It’s no lie we eat with our eyes.

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Erin

Lentils, Rice & Caramelized Onions (Mujadara)

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Website Adapted from The Food Network

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Small yellow onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils (rinsed)
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or ¼ tsp ground)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • Lemon wedges, chopped parsley and greek yogurt for garnish

Note

If using canned lentils (about 2 cups), reduce water to 2 cups.

Directions

1. In a large skillet or heavy bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and peppercorn and toast for about 1 minute until cumin starts to lightly brown.
2. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook over medium low heat, stirring often and scrapping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you go, until they are a deep brown colour. Add 1-2 Tbsp of water as you go if they stick to the bottom of the pan. This will take about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cover dried lentils with about 2" of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
4. When onions are done, remove ½ of them with a slotted spoon and set aside.
5. Add basmati rice, ground cumin and cinnamon, stir carefully and sauté for 1 minute. Add 2½ cups water, lentils and remaining salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
6. Remove cover, fluff with a fork and top with remaining onions, toasted pine nuts and parsley and serve with lemon wedges and greek yogurt.

How To: Slow Cooker – Lentil and Carrot Curry Stew

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As of this past Friday, it is officially spring!

Can we finally say good bye to that cold winter weather?? I am so done with the heavy winter jacket, boots, hats, and gloves. Bring on the capri pants, tank tops, and spring jackets.

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Now winter isn’t all doom and gloom – there is one redeeming quality to this season that I do enjoy. The slow cooker.

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The slow cooker has not only become my weeknight dinner saviour during my busy work weeks, but it’s perfect for cooking up a comforting stew for the cold winter nights. But fear not, the bright flavours in this lentil curry stew are also perfect for welcoming in the warm spring weather.

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Phew! No need to throw away the slow cooker, our Monday dinner hero, just because the weather is FINALLY starting to get above the freezing mark. And what a relief because no one should miss out on this delicious vegetarian lentil curry stew!

Dara

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Slowcooker Lentil and Carrot Curry Stew

Serves 6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Slender Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups red lentils
  • 4 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 4 Cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1-2 Handfuls kale (chopped)
  • Greek yogurt and cilantro (to garnish)

Note

While this hearty vegetarian curry is great on it's own, you could serve it with some bread or over some rice or quinoa to make it more of a meal. Chopped swish chard or spinach could be substituted for the kale.

Directions

1. Place all ingredients except for kale into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
2. After about 8-10 hours, turn slow cooker to warm and mix kale into stew. Place lid back on until kale has wilted.
3. Serve topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and some cilantro.

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