Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

From culinate.com, modified by me.

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup
From the book Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss
Serves 6 to 8

Forget your “same old, same old” lentil soup and take a deep breath. Can you smell the cumin, the coriander, the whiff of cinnamon? Open your eyes and take in the burnt-orange glow of turmeric burnished with tomatoes and sweet paprika. Lentil soups may come and go, but this concoction will stick in your memory, not just for its heady aromas and hearty texture, but also for its ease and versatility. Feel free to improvise as desired; it’s a very forgiving recipe.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil — I tend to use the latter)
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced. More is even better.
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin, ground from whole seeds toasted in a dry skillet. Or just use more regular ground.
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. paprika (the recipe calls for sweet; I tend to use a spicy one b/c that’s what I have on hand)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
7 cups vegetable broth (I use broth, plain water, or water with chicken bullion, depending on mood.)
1 can crushed tomatoes (I’ve used plain, fire-roasted w/ green chile or garlic, and fresh tomatoes)
1 can coconut milk (optional)
2 cups dried red lentils, picked over, washed, and rinsed

Optional but tasty for serving:
~ Juice of 1 lemon (see Note)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Steps

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook for another minute. Add the broth and tomatoes and heat to boiling. Add lentils and coconut milk, return to boiling, and cook until tender (20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Blend half to 2/3 of the soup to a creamy texture and add back to pot. (Be careful blending — it’s hot!)

Stir your choice of parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and pepper flakes — adding all of them is wonderful, but I almost never have the whole shebang so I end up with some combination thereof. It’s still tasty. The culinate.com editors suggest: If you don’t have a fresh lemon handy, sprinkle some red-wine vinegar into the soup just before serving.

Serve alone or over plain basmati or turmeric rice. Your choice. If you serve it with rice and a simple raita, people will be in awe of your Indian cooking talents.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (for ice cream sandwiches)

From King Arthur.

These soft, chewy cookies bake up flat, rather than rounded, making them perfect for ice cream sandwiches. Oatmeal cookies pair beautifully with all kinds of ice cream flavors; I especially like to make sandwiches using butter-pecan or one of the caramel-type ice creams.

This recipe calls for you to grind the fruit with some of the oats before starting. What’s up with that? Well, grinding a portion of the oats makes a flatter, less “chunky” cookie, better for ice cream sandwiches. And grinding the fruit prevents it from turning into rock-hard pellets when the cookies are frozen; while the fruit still freezes, it doesn’t make a noticeable textural difference, since the pieces are so small.

1 1/3 cups (4 5/8 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (about 5 ounces) dried fruit: diced dried apples, chopped dates, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, or the dried fruits of your choice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (2 ounces) dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons Signature Secrets*
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat

*This helps keep the cookies soft and chewy; if you choose not to use it, underbake them slightly, so they don’t become too hard in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Place 1/3 cup of the oats, along with the fruit, into the bowl of a food processor. Process until everything is finely ground and pasty. Set the mixture aside.

To prepare the dough: Cream together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, spices, leaveners, salt, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat in the egg. Add the oat/fruit mixture, the remainder of the oats, and the flour, stirring to combine.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

To bake the cookies: Bake the cookies for 7 minutes; reverse the pans on the racks, and bake for an additional 6 minutes, until cookies are slightly browned, but still soft in the center. Remove them from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. This is why you use parchment, by the way: you can pull the parchment, cookies and all, off the pan onto a cooling rack, then place a new batch of unbaked cookies on the baking sheet. Yield: 40 cookies

©2006 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Tofu Mousse/Icing

From MotherSpirit.

Ingredients:
1 package Extra Firm Silken Tofu
1/2 to 1 Cup melted Chocolate Chips
1/2 to 3/4 Cup for Maple Syrup
1 Teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Add to other ingredients and whip until smooth. It is that easy! If using it for mousse put in dessert dishes, garnish (mint leaves, curls of chocolate, orange slices etc) and chill. If you are using it to ice a cake make sure the cake is fully cooled first.

ENJOY!! :o)

Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling and Lemon Butter Frosting

From AllRecipes.

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup white sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon
juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
4. To make filling: In medium saucepan, mix together 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Mix in 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, beating the hot lemon mixture rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (not to boil).
5. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 3 hours.
6. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
7. To assemble: With long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half horizontally, making 4 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with half of the lemon filling. Top with another layer, and spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Add third layer, and spread with remaining half of the lemon filling. Press on final cake layer, and frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake until serving time.

My notes: I used a boxed lemon cake, but made the lemon curd and the icing. Really, really good. Everyone was surprised that it was so good. Definitely worth making again. Even Peter, the birthday boy, liked it. Which was good, because my attempt at a lemon bundt cake with pudding in the middle, the way his mother used to make, failed miserably. Ah well.

Thick Mint Brownies

Thick Mint Brownies, from the King Arthur Flour Company

If you like Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, you’ll love these deeply chocolate, strongly mint brownies. The slash of white filling through the center is striking; and the rich, thick chocolate ganache topping is spectacularly delicious! Pssst! When you get your next catalogue, sometime in the next several days, you’ll see a version of these brownies pictured on the cover.

Mint filling
4 cups (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons (2 5/8 ounces) vegetable shortening*
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil, or 1 to 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (to taste)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Signature Secrets Culinary Thickener (3/4 ounce)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) heavy cream
*Usually we don’t use vegetable shortening due to its trans-fat content; but in this case it’s necessary, to keep the filling from melting into the batter as the brownies bake.

Brownie batter
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 pound (about 2 generous cups) brown sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips

To make the mint filling: Beat the filling ingredients together till they’re cohesive; the mixture will be the consistency of stiff cookie dough. Spread the filling, on a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap, into a rectangle just slightly smaller than a 9″ x 13″ pan; this is most easily done on the outside bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan that you’ve covered with plastic wrap. Cover the filling with wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or till thoroughly chilled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly greased a 9″ x 13″ pan.

To make the brownie batter: In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, till it’s very hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become smooth and shiny looking. The sugar and butter will separate; that’s OK, just stir till some of the butter has been reabsorbed. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies; very attractive, should you choose not to cover the brownies with ganache.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring till smooth; then add the flour and chips, again stirring till smooth. Spoon half the batter (about 28 ounces) into the prepared pan. Using the plastic wrap as a sling to move the filling, slide it atop the batter. Top with the remaining batter.

Bake the brownies for about 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a tiny amount of crumb clinging to it. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them completely before icing with ganache. Allow the icing to set before cutting and serving the brownies. Yield: 2 dozen brownies.

Chocolate Ganache Icing
Heavy cream. Chocolate. That’s it. You can’t go wrong.
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream

In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream till it’s very hot. You should see wisps of steam beginning to rise from it, and some very tiny bubbles around the edge. Add the chocolate to the cream, and stir till smooth. Don’t panic-at first, the mixture will look disarmingly soupy, but just keep stirring. Very shortly it’ll become a rich brown, thick, shiny spreadable icing. Yield: 2 cups icing.

Eggless Egg Salad

1/2 lb Firm Tofu, mushed up/crumbled into little pieces
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 T mustard
1/4 t salt
1/8 t turmeric
1/4 c fresh scallions, diced
1/4 c carrots, diced
1/4 c celery, diced

Mix them all up. Enjoy.

(From a Tomsum Tofu Recipe Book. An ooooold one, for which I always fight my mother just because of this recipe. Now I’ve typed it in, and won’t need it again. Whee.)

Creamy Potato Cabbage Soup

From Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. “Sweet cabbage and creamy potatoes in a humbe, warm-hearted soup offer cozy comfort for those who live in cold, damp climates where these vegetables happily thrive. The caraway and dill add appetizing flavor and fragrance.”
Serves 4, Yields 5.5 cups, Total Time 45 minutes

2 T oil
2 C coarsely chopped onions
1 t GROUND caraway seeds
1/2 t salt
4 C coarsely chopped green cabbage
2 C sliced red or white potatoes
3 C water or vegetable stock
1 t dried dill
4 oz cream cheese
salt & ground black pepper to taste

Warm the oil in a soup pot on medium heat, add the onions, sprinkle with the caraway and half the salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the cabbage and remaining salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, unti the cabbage begins to wilt. Add potatoes and water, cover, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.

In a blender in batches, puree the vegetable mixture, dill, and cream cheese until smooth. Return to pot and gently reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and more water if it’s too thick.

My comments: I used chicken broth instead of water. Really tasty, Peter loved it — “It’s like baked potato soup, but better.” Nobody noticed the cabbage, which is a good thing since it’s not a universally-loved vegetable in this household. Definitely worth making again. It tastes really creamy, for only 4 oz of cream cheese, too.

Crockpot Char Siu Pork Roast

From kp at Yaaps:
Made this out of a recent Cooking Light and it was so good I thought I’d share.

Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 TBS ketchup
3 TBS honey
2 tsp bottled minced garlic
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally. (I did it overnight so that I could just pop it into the cooker in the AM)
2. Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
3. Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.
4. Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce. (My sauce didn’t thicken and it would have been even yummier if it did)

Yield: 8 servings (3 oz. pork and 1/4 cup sauce)

CALORIES 227 (38% from fat); FAT 9.5g (sat 3.1g, mono 3.9g, poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 21.6g; CARB 12.7; FIBER 0.4g; CHOL 73mg; IRON 1.7mg; SODIUM 561mg; CALC 30mg

Crockpot Pork Barbecue

From neopagan, at yaaps:
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (or really any boneless pork cut that isn’t too fatty)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 c Worchestershire sauce

If cut of pork is large, slice it. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, mix well and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is tender. I used two forks to pull the meat apart into shreds at that point.

Kathy’s Cheesecake Dip

From her blog.

I made this fruit dip for Arden’s St. Patrick’s Day party at preschool (I brought green fruit – apples and grapes – and dip) and it was a huge hit. It tastes just like cheesecake and is incredibly easy to make up. If you made it with a little less cream, it would make a perfect frosting for cupcakes as well.

Cheesecake Dip
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Heat over medium-low heat in a small pot until smooth, stirring frequently. A whisk helps to break up lumps easily. Cool to room temperature and serve.