What I'm up to
  • Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon
    Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon

    everyone needs these, many of them.

  • Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan
    Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan

    Scarily, I can say I have enough copper. Not many people can utter those words.

  • Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset

    The same thing could be said for Le Creuset, but still. Great for braising and soup making.

  • The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    by Amanda Hesser
  • Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware

    What did I do before I started using this half sheet? Cry.

flora and flying. Get yours at bighugelabs.com

Entries in vegetarian (7)


In celebration of meatless week - Addas polo


Every culture has its beans and rice dish, some bring you good luck, some keep you from bouncing checks and some just taste good. This week, I am trying to go meatless, and like anything, when you don't have it, you want it. All I can say is that it's pancetta I've been fantasizing about all week long. 

If you read my about me page, you will realize that I was a vegetarian with minor lapses into smoked salmon for about ten years. Those years were great. No one put a gun to my head and told me to eat tofu. I did it by choice. I also stopped eating tofu by choice. Occasionally a tub will fall into my shopping basket. I can't really remember what I ate back when I was a vegetarian. I know it had a lot to do with the Mollie Katzen's Moosewood series of cookbooks, the first one and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  Every dish either had dill or cumin, but blessedly never both at the same time. I remember eating a lot of popcorn and baby carrots, but that might have been grad school more than being a vegetarian.

When I was thinking of a suitable vegetarian dish to share this week, I immediately thought of addas polo or lentils and rice. It was one of my favorite dishes growing up. I loved its meatiness, especially when my mom would add extra lentils. I loved it even better with catsup and hot dogs. My palate is more refined these days, I prefer my addas polo with barbeque sauce and cutlets.  It is also my father's stand by dish when he's by himself. Its super easy to make and like most things, is pretty tasty the next day.

This recipe is a little different than my dad's version.  It adds sauteed dates and raisins at the end to give a it nice finish, slightly sweet and a bit more substantive and fancy.

Addas Polo serves four Americans, or two average Iranians

1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 cups water

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed with fresh water and drained

1 t salt

2 T butter

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds (optional)

Place lentils in pan with water and simmer until lentils partly cooked, al dente, but not mushy approximately 10 minutes.  Drain the lentils, reserve lentil broth and add water to lentil broth to bring the volume back up to two cups.

Add water back to pan, add rice and salt, bring to a boil, add lentils back in and cook the rice/lentil mixture with the lid off for approximately 10 minutes, or until the water is nearly done. Turn down heat, place lid on pan and steam for approximately 10 minutes.  During the steaming, melt butter in saute pan, add raisins and chopped dates, and optional almonds and saute until they are warmed through anc coated with butter, remove from heat.

When rice is done steaming, remove lid and spoon rice onto a warmed serving plate, garnish with raisins and dates and serve. 

Suggested accompaniments include: a nice low fat plain yogurt, baked chicken legs, persian cutlets and a healthy dose of KC masterpiece barbeque sauce.



Carrot and Cardamom salad 


Carrot salads of my youth featured too much mayonnaise and raisins and not enough oomph, they were sweet, pale and overly dressed. I was not impressed and stuck to the not seen in nature colored potato salads.  Later in my life, I would buy bags of "baby carrots" which were sort of slimy out of the bag with a strange plastic odor.  However, these babies got me through grad school, when diet coke, coffee and baby carrots were staples of my diet.  To this day, I cannot walk by a display of baby carrots without thinking of my large scale construction class.

When I started growing my own food, I fell in love with the home grown carrot - not perfect, slightly sweet and tasting of the earth. I know gardeners who believe that carrots left in the ground after the last frost are the sweetest. I have never had any left to test this hypothesis.

In Persian cooking, carrots are used for savory and sweet dishes.  They turn up in savory stews, rice dishes and in desserts.  They are a multipurpose vegetable that lends itself to all sorts of uses.  My TH makes an amazingly simple soup of carrots, a bit of sauteed onion and chicken stock.

I never think to use carrots as the focal point of a salad.  They are the curlicue garnishes and sometimes the disks that end up at the bottom of the bowl.  Most of the time they are relegated to the vegetable tray, where they may or may not be consumed and then end up sitting out on the conference table until someone finally throws them out, three days later.

I have had a few good carrot salads in my time, PCC markets used to make a Morrocan carrot salad that features slightly cooked carrot rounds, lots of cumin and paprika.  I'm not sure they make it now. My friend M makes another salad that has the cumin, but not the paprika and uses shredded carrots. At cookbook club, @kairuy made two salads out of Falling Cloudberries, both were good, but the carrot salad made me swoon.

When was the last time a carrot made you swoon?

Like with many of the recipes in the book, the quantity of the ingredients is questionable and the procedure a mystery, but the premise of adding the sweet scent of cardamom and ginger to carrots got to me.

This salad is delicious as soon as you dress it, but like the chickpea/cilantro salad, it improves with an overnight stay in the fridge, if you can stand waiting that long.

Carrot and Cardamon salad (adapted from Tessa Kiros' "Falling Cloudberries")

serves six as a side dish, or one of me with some leftovers

eight medium carrots, 3/4" in diameter, 10" long (ca. 1 1/2 lbs)

one half a red onion, chopped finely

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 t cardamom

1 1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (didn't have this, used 1/2 t ground)

1 t sugar (optional, but I think you should try a little if your carrots are not at their tip top sweetness)

1/2 t salt (the original recipe called for 2t, that is a bit excessive unless you plan to draw the water out of the carrots, which you don't)

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup olive oil (I used half of this)

10 mint leaves, chopped or torn

pepper to taste


Grate carrots using a box grater, a Cuisinart with the shredding disk, or cheat and buy them pre-shredded at Trader Joes. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add diced onion and parsley and mix to combine. In another small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, cardamom and ginger together. Pour the dressing over the salad. Mix thoroughly until dressing coats all the carrots, you may have some dressing at the bottom of the bowl. Season to taste with pepper or more salt if you wish and garnish with chopped or torn mint leaves.

Refrigerated until served, which could be five seconds depending on your guests, but it does get better with a little marination.

Page 1 2