Adventures in Food, Episode 2: Stuff in My Pantry

All right folks, its time for another installment of Adventures in Food. This episode takes place in my pantry and features all the random stuff I’ve bought.

All the random stuff I've boughtHere’s the rundown of my recent impulse and adventure buys:

Trio of sea salts- Himalayan pink, grey, and cyprus flake. I searched for a while for this assortment of sea salts, and finally found one at a reasonable price at our local big box store. My favorite so far is the cyprus flake sea salt, but mostly because I haven’t decided how to use the other two.

Quick Cooking Bulgar, aka Barley– as featured in a previous post.

Paprika– a Hungarian paprika, a generic cheapo paprika (not pictured) and a jar that my mom got me that I haven’t opened yet. Why so much paprika? One word: Chickenpaprikash (ok that’s two words).

Minnesota Wild Rice (you have to say it “minn-ee-soooh-tah”- its more authentic that way) and Farro– Surprisingly, I found these both at a local big box store. I’ve also purchased Quinoa, but I’ve since used that up and moved on to other grains. The wild rice does have an earthy flavor, and kinda smells boggy when cooking it (what I imagine a bog to smell like since I’ve never actually been to a bog). I’ve used the Farro in quite a few recipes, trying to get a feel for it: Risotto, roasted cauliflower soup and just plain.

The Sauce That Killed Kenny– This is a hot sauce that a friend gave us. It sat on my shelf for a while until I started trying spicy foods. Now we add a drop or two to stir fry and sauces to give them a little kick.

Currants– I’ve had these for a while; unlike most of the stuff listed I actually had a recipe in mind when I bought the box… I think the recipe used like 1/4 cup of currants. I like to add them to salads with or instead of dried cranberries.

Curry Powder– Curry is my newest addition to my spice collection. I always thought that curry was too spicy for me, but since I started trying spicier foods I worked up the courage to buy it. Now its one of my most frequently used spices (I’ve been cooking a lot of Indian food lately).

Specialty Mustards– I discovered the jam, jelly and mustard lady at my local farmer’s market- she ensnared me with her free samples and cute little jars. I bought a sun-dried tomato and garlic mustard, and later a cranberry mustard that I was planning to serve at Thanksgiving with the turkey but it got lost in the shuffle.Very tasty but at $7 for a small jar, they’re a sometimes impulse buy for me.

Garam Masala & Tumeric– (the tumeric is the goldenrod yellow spice in the recycled container). These were my first ‘outside my comfort zone’ Indian spice purchases.

What random impulse food purchases have you made?

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Lentil Dip with Curry, Apples & Coconut

This recipe was inspired by flipping through the Moosewood cookbook that I checked out from the library and it instantly caught my eye – Lentils? Yes, please! Curry? Yes! Garam Masala? Yes yes yes. Coconut milk? Hmmm… Haven’t tried that yet. I am intrigued. (That was my inner dialogue as I read through the book, aka talking to my self).

Apparently, this dip can be healthy if you use reduced-fat coconut milk or apple juice. I wanted to use coconut milk because I’ve never cooked with it but all I could find was the regular, full fat version. I used Thai Kitchen, as it was recommended and doesn’t have preservatives.

This is Curried Lentil Dip, Not a Moldy BroccoliCurried Lentil Dip

Adapted from the Moosewood Cooks recipe.

Time: 30 min
Servings: makes 4 cups of dip

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil or EVOO
1 cup diced onions
1 3/4 cups peeled, cored and diced apples
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup reduced-fat coconut milk (or apple juice, or yogurt)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

Special Tools: food processor or blender

What To Do

Heat the water and lentils in a medium sized pot until the water boils.

Red Lentils

Then, simmer the lentils for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are mushy and the water is absorbed. They will look like this:

Lentils Mushy Mush

Meanwhile, saute the chopped onions, apples and garlic in the oil in a pan on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

The apple never falls far from the tree....

Those are the chopped apples.

Measure out your curry and garam masala…

Curry & Garam Masala

Apple-Onion-Curry-Garam Masala

And stir them into the apple and onions and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. The apples and onions should be soft.

Be sure to coat the apples and onions evenly in the spices.

Lentils Apples Onions Coconut Milk in Food Processor

Puree the cooked lentils, apples and onions with the coconut milk (or apple juice or yogurt) and lemon juice.

Coconut Milk

P.S. Did you know that coconut milk is solid at room temperature?

P.P.S. I’m thinking of subbing low-fat yogurt instead of the coconut milk next time I make this… It will give that creamy texture but I use it more regularly in my cooking so it won’t sit in my fridge forever…

I now have 3/4 of a can of coconut milk to use up… I may just try to make my first real curry!

Raw Veggies

Taste to see if the dip needs any additional seasoning. You can eat this chilled or at room temperature– both are great! Serve with bread, crackers, chips or sliced raw veggies- I tried this with broccoli, carrots and broccoli stalks. Delicious! I also used this as a condiment with a mung bean & lentil dal dish (khitcheree– no, I can’t pronounce that) that I made (I promise to post about that soon!)- excellent!

Curried Lentil Dip

Happy munching!