Thursday, April 10, 2008

April 9th Workshop: MENU - Lemon Lentil Soup, Soba Noodle Salad, Buttermilk Biscuits w/Goat Cheese and Chives, Ratatouille, Apple Rhubarb Crumble

I'm a city rat but I won't be fooled,
that could just be a novelty tiny chair.

Picture from: Veggie Gardening Tips

Lemon-Lentil Soup (Serves 12-16)


2 cups dry red lentils
2 kg spinach
4 onions, cut in half then sliced thinly
8 Tbsp olive oil
12 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp flour
3 lemons, juice of

Salt and pepper, to taste


1) Wash and drain the lentils, place them in a pan with water to cover and simmer for 30 minutes
or until they are very tender, adding salt and pepper, to taste, towards the end of the cooking time

2) Wash the spinach thoroughly, remove the stems, chop the leaves coarsely, and add them to the lentils.

3) Sauté the onions and garlic in oil until soft, add the flour and stir well.

4) Add a cup of water and stir until soft, add the flour and stir well.

5) Add lemon juice and more water, if necessary, and simmer until the soup is thick.

6) Serve very hot.

Soba Noodle Salad With Cucumber and Shitake (Serves 12)


3 pound shitake mushrooms, stems discarded
24 scallions
9 Tbsp peanut oil
Salt and pepper
12 Tbsp light soy sauce
6 tsp minced garlic
6 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 tsp sesame oil
1½ tsp rice vinegar
1½ tsp chili oil
Approximately 600 grams soba noodles
3 carrots peeled and cut into thick matchsticks (OR 3 cucumbers halved, seeded, and cut into thick matchsticks)
sesame seeds (optional)


1) In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms and scallions with the peanut oil and season with salt and pepper.

3) Grill the mushrooms over moderate heat, turning once, until cooked through and tender, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate.

4) Grill the scallions, turning once, until softened and blackened in spots, about 2 minutes; add to the mushrooms.

5) Let the mushrooms and scallions cool, then thinly slice them.

6) In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and chili oil.

7) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the soba noodles until al dente, about 4 minutes; drain.

8) Transfer the noodles to a large bowl.

9) Add the mushrooms, scallions, carrots (or cucumber) and dressing and toss well.

10) Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Recipe from: Food & Wine

Buttermilk Biscuits with Goat Cheese and Chives (Makes about 12-14 biscuits)
Best eaten just baked and warm, with a little butter.


4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup to 1 cup of freshly chopped chives (can also use chopped green onions)
2 5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 cup buttermilk (plus an extra tablespoon for finish)


1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

2) Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until coarse meal forms. Stir in the chives. Add cheese and buttermilk; stir with fork just until a sticky dough forms (bits of cheese will be visible in dough).

3) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 8 times with floured hands. Do not over-knead! Form into a round, about 3/4-inch to an inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges. Use a pastry brush to brush on some extra buttermilk over the surface of the wedges.

4) Arrange wedges about 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased large baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Recipe from: Simple Recipes

Ratatouille (Makes 12 servings)


9 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, peeled and diced (½ in.)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 cans (14½ oz. each) diced tomatoes
1½ lbs Asian eggplant, rinsed and diced (3/4 in.)
About 1½ tsp salt
About ¾ tsp pepper
1 lbs red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and diced (½ in.)
1½ lbs zucchini, rinsed, ends trimmed, and diced (½ in.)
¾ cup chopped fresh basil leaves


1) In a 12-inch frying pan with sides at least 2 inches tall, heat 1½ tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir frequently until onion is limp, about 5 minutes

2) Add tomatoes (with juice), eggplant, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and ½ cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft when pierced, about 10 minutes.

3) Stir in bell peppers and zucchini. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

4) Stir in basil and remaining 1½ tbsp olive o8il. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Apple Rhubarb Crumble (Serves 12-16)
Preparation time: 15 minutes or less


20 stalks of rhubarb
8 cooking apples
1 cup sugar

Crumble topping
½ cup melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup oats
1 1/3 cup flour


1) String rhubarb and cut into pieces 3 cm long

2) Peel, core and slice apples.

3) Place fruit into a large enough saucepan

4) Add sugar and water to cover and cook until soft.

5) Drain some of the water and spoon fruit into a 4L baking dish

6) Crumble topping: Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

7) Sprinkle topping over fruit and pat down firmly.

8) Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Bake a Camel

Picture from "camel sexes woman to death"
from the weblog tk-421 copied.

Bryanna is going to South Africa this summer, so this is why her mom got her a cookbook entitled: Focus on Africa Cookbook. This recipe caught her eye and probably not just because it was oddly sandwiched in between recipes for burgundy beef and cabbage rolls...

  • 1 large camel
  • 2 sheep
  • 4 turkeys
  • 20 fish
  • 200 seagull eggs
  • 400 large dates
  • banana & palm leaves
Preparation time: 1 week
Cooking time: 2 - 3 days
Serving size: Whole village

Cook eggs and peel. Scale fish. Fill fish with eggs and dates. De-feather turkeys. (Cut off head and feet to use later in soup.) Stuff fish inside turkeys. Shear sheep and set aside wool. (Card and spin wool. Weave into place mats.) Fill sheep with turkeys, and place inside camel. Wrap camel in wet banana and palm leaves. Dig a big hole in the sand. Fill with 500 kilos of charcoal. Let burn until white. Carefully place stuffed camel in hole and cover with sand. Bake 2-3 days. Serve with rice.