Betty Duffy

Friday, March 12, 2010

Betty Duffy Cooks

(about once a year)

It happens every Lent, that while I normally don't relish complicated cooking, I begin hankering for hearty stews, spiced meats, and foods of the Orient. I bought porkchops stuffed with cranberry walnut stuffing the other day, and I have never in my life bought a grocery stuffed cut of meat. Much like one rarely thinks of sex lest one must abstain from it, Lent makes me crave that which I cannot have. Plus, I have more time for cooking when I am less self-indulgent on the internet (one small success).

I like to pick out recipes with fancy foreign sounding names, and figure out a way to make them with stuff in my kitchen. There are a few things I keep in my kitchen at all times for just such a purpose:

curry powder
ground mustard
ground ginger
soy sauce
rice vinegar

Canned or frozen healthy stuff:
canned black beans
canned or frozen tomatoes
fresh or frozen spinach

Dry Goods:
whole wheat pasta (any sort)
whole wheat cous-cous
lentils (red or brown)
barley or rice

Fresh Stuff:
bag of coleslaw (chopped cabbage w/o dressing)
cilantro (I buy this when I feel the mood coming on)

So here are three recipes using the above ingredients (plus a couple other ingredients you probably already have). The first two have no meat, so I like to make them on Fridays.

Slacker Tabouleh
Prepare a box of cous-cous according to directions on the box
(this takes five minutes)
Dump in a can of (drained and rinsed) black beans
add a tablespoon of Olive Oil
and a small jar of salsa
Stir and ENJOY! If you like, garnish with cilantro.
For some reason, my kids really like this dish.

Curried Lentil Soup
Boil a bag of lentils and a cup of barley until tender
(about twenty minutes)
a chopped onion
as much garlic as you like
Two teaspoons curry powder
salt (a couple t-spoons)
1 T ground mustard
1 t-spoon cumin
(I saute onions and spices in oil before adding, but you don't have to)
a can or two of tomatoes
simmer for an hour
stir in frozen spinach or peas slightly before you eat

optional ingredients to add fat, flavor, or bulk:
a couple Tablespoons honey or molasses
chopped potatoes
dash of olive oil
chicken stock
dash of lemon juice

The lentils and barley pop in your mouth in this dish--curious texture. And you really cannot get it wrong. I've added more or less of any of the above ingredients and it always turns out good. If you want it soupy, add more water. If you want it saucy, take the lid off and let the liquid evaporate. If you can chop onions pretty fast, this dish takes only about fifteen minutes to prepare--and the rest is simmering. Allow two hours total. If you want a more colorful stew, use red lentils and add a dash of tumeric--otherwise, it will be brown.

Chinese Chicken Salad (yum yum)
Boil a box of pasta
When cool, add:
chopped green onions
chopped cilantro
bag of shredded cabbage
Cooked chicken prepared anyway you like it
(boil it, bake it, or buy a rotisserie pre-cooked)

1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 T sesame seeds
1 T sesame oil (optional)
3 T sugar (optional)
1 t ground ginger (optional)

Whisk and dump on the the salad. Add bulk without the calories by putting in two bags of shredded cabbage.

This is by far, one of the prettiest things I've ever made:


Katie Alender said...

That's a gorgeous salad!

Dawn Farias said...

That salad definitely looks pretty.. and delicious.

BettyDuffy said...

Tastes better than it looks. I promise

Kimberlie said...

Those dishes look really delish. You know, you could add about a 1/4 c of peanut butter (if your family likes it and is not allergic), or just chopped peanuts to the Chinese chicken salad and it would probably taste really yummy. I don't know what it is about peanut butter and rice vinegar, but I think it just makes an awesome combination.

PS - I really enjoy your blog. I wish I lived near a farm. I live vicariously through you. :)

BettyDuffy said...

Yes! Peanut butter! I'm going to try that.

Thank you.

Emily J. said...

Funny, I just made the same lentil soup on Wednesday, with leftover roasted potatoes, which had a little Slap Your Mama on them for added spice. And was planning to make chicken salad yum yum for a friend whose mother just died. Telepathy? Come see me - I've been listening to Sense and Sensibility and thinking of you.

Oh and Dan said he's been eating a lot of curry in the middle eastern galley and thinking of you, too.