Saturday, June 14, 2014

Puy Lentil Black Rice Salad


Doesn't that look fancy? I'm definitely not generally so trendy in my cooking, but that's a puy lentil, black rice, microgreens, and marigold salad. I had some lentils and rice left over from the batch of puy lentil black rice salad I'd made, and just needed some more greens. The local farmers market had a nice carton of microgreens and marigolds packaged together, so I thought I'd give them a shot.

The "normal greens" version of this salad is one of my favorite things I've made lately, and the microgreens and marigold version was excellent, too. I haven't had marigolds before, but they're a nice accent to add. Marigolds have a developing flavor that starts citrusy followed by a more floral flavor. Microgreens are apparently much more nutritious than their mature counterparts, at least as far as preliminary studies have found. Give them a try if you haven't before. I'll be keeping an eye out next time I'm at a farmers market.


Puy Lentil Black Rice Salad
Makes 4 servings

1 ½ cups puy lentils, picked through, rinsed (about 300g)
1 small onion, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1 anchovy filet, mashed to a paste with a fork (omit to make this recipe vegetarian/vegan)
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
water (or chicken or vegetable stock if not using anchovy)
1 tsp salt, to taste
cooking oil (vegetable, peanut, other)

1 rice cooker cup (about ¾ cup) black rice, or half black and half brown rice, soaked 20-30 minutes, steamed

  1. Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt, and sauté until softened. Add mashed anchovy (if using) and sauté until fragrant. Add herbs and bay leaves and sauté until their aroma comes out. Add lentils, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough water (or chicken or vegetable stock) to cover the lentils by about an inch. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until lentils are done. Taste the lentils and add salt to taste. Pick out the bay leaves to discard, and drain the lentils.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, or even before you start preparing the lentils, depending on how fast your rice cooker cooks (or your stovetop rice cooking), rinse, soak, and steam the black rice.
  3. Once both lentils and rice are ready, toss together in a large bowl. You can enjoy these tossed with a vinaigrette (a basic one is described below) or with salad greens added in as well.


For the Salad:

several handfuls per serving (about 2-3 oz): salad greens, microgreens, any sort you like
1-2 cups lentil and rice mixture

Optional Additions
shallots, thinly sliced, steeped in lime juice or cider vinegar and a pinch of salt for 30 minutes or longer
cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced, steeped in lime juice or cider vinegar and a pinch of salt for 30 minutes or longer
scallions, thinly sliced
Thai basil leaves
marigold or other edible flowers

Vinaigrette
4 parts olive oil
3 parts balsamic and/or other vinegar
salt
pepper

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified, or combine in a sealable container or bottle and shake until emulsified.

Fry Your Own Tostadas


This is an addendum to my previous post on chilaquiles. Try frying your own tostadas--it's very simple to do!

You just need about 1/2-inch of oil (use one with a high smoke point like peanut or a vegetable oil of some sort as opposed to olive oil) and an 8-inch skillet ideally. I used a 10-inch, since that's what I've got, but an 8-inch skillet will be closer in size to a 6-inch tortilla, so you won't be using so much excess oil.

Lay out your tortillas in a single layer to dry out before frying. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles when you dip a tortilla in. Then just place tortillas in the oil, frying 15-30 seconds per side, until lightly browned, frying one tortilla at a time. When the bubbling subsides, remove from oil, let excess oil drip off, and lay on paper towels to cool and drain. Tortillas should be completely crisp.

Enjoy these as tortilla chips (you could tear or cut them into triangles before frying if you like) or in other recipes--like chilaquiles or tortilla soup.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chilaquiles


Now this is a fantastic comfort food dish. Thanks go to a friend for telling me about it so that I'd go and look up recipes and make it for myself. If you can have cheese, it's just that much more delicious, but in my opinion, the real heart of the dish is the fried corn tortillas softened in salsa. You get a great contrast of textures in the crisp parts of the fried tortillas against the chewy softened parts. Then the egg and onion mixed in seem pretty standard, too. But other than those components, you can really add whatever you want. I've added black beans and scallions in my rendition pictured above. Thing is that chilaquiles is like fried rice in that it's an endlessly flexible dish meant to use up leftover ingredients like extra tortillas and salsa.

Here are the three recipes I referenced in getting a grasp of the concept before doing my own version. You can see that they vary considerably in approach. The first one calls for 30 (!) tortillas, which is just way too much in my opinion. 10 tortillas seemed about right for my 10-inch skillet.

Give it a shot!