Monthly Archives: May 2010

Lentil Curry

I really enjoy Indian food.  I also love the fact that this dish is so inexpensive.  Lentils served with brown rice make up a complete  protein source, for a fraction of the cost of meat dishes.   When fresh tomatoes are available from the garden the cost is even less.  The following recipe makes about 8 servings, enough for me to freeze half and still have some left over for lunch the following day.  The curry paste that you use will greatly affect the flavor and heat of this dish.  I did not add any curry paste this time because I prefer a milder flavor for the kids.


1 cup uncooked lentils

1 large onion, diced

2 Tbls coconut oil or butter

1-2 Tbls curry paste (opt.)

1 Tbls honey

2-3 cloves garlic, diced

2 Tbls curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

4 medium tomatoes, finely diced

1/4 cup water

2 cups brown rice, cooked


If you are soaking your lentils cover with water and add 1 Tbls whey or lemon juice 6-7 hours before cooking.

Rinse lentils, place in a pot with enough water to cover the lentils and simmer until tender (add more water if necessary).

In a large skillet or saucepan, saute the onions in coconut oil or butter.

Combine curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ginger, chili powder and salt in a small bowl.

Add curry paste, honey and garlic to onions.  Add spices and cook for several minutes stirring constantly.

Add tomatoes and water, allow to simmer until tomatoes are soft (or use a can of crushed tomatoes and omit the water).  When fresh eggplant is available from your garden or local farmers market you could also add 1-2 cups of diced eggplant.

Stir in lentils.

Serve with rice.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday



Filed under Double Up Dinners, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Quinoa Tabouli

Tabouli is one of my favorite foods.  Recently I came across a recipe for Tabouli that called for quinoa instead of bulgur wheat.  Since I have been trying to cut down on (not eliminate) my family’s gluten intake, I had to try it.  Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain.  It is  a relative of spinach, beets, and Swiss chard. All of these foods are loaded with nutrients, but quinoa is the only one that can fool you into thinking you’re eating a grain. It is high in protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.  It has a light slightly nutty flavor and it makes a very nice pilaf with fresh vegetables.  In Tabouli the other flavors, particularly the lemon, are more distinctive so the flavor is not noticeably different from using bulgur wheat.


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 medium tomato

1/2 english cucumber

3 green onions

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 Tbls olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp crushed mint

sea salt to taste


Place quinoa and 1 cup water in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let sit for 15 – 20 minutes.  If you are using bulgar wheat, cook according to the package directions.

Dice tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion.  White onions can be substituted for green onions for a slightly stronger flavor.  If you are using a regular cucumber you will probably want to peel it.  Mix cooked quinoa and diced veggies in a small bowl.

Add lemon juice, olive, oil, garlic, mint and salt.  Mix well.  Refrigerate.

I made up my tabouli in the afternoon while the kids were napping, and at the same time marinated some fish.  Then 30 minutes before dinner I placed the fish in the oven, and served with the tabouli for a fresh, EASY dinner.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday

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Filed under Gluten Free, Salads

How I Render Beef Tallow

I know that we have all been taught that animal fat (saturated fat) is BAD for us, but guess what it is REAL FOOD.  It has not been engineered by food scientists or made in a factory somewhere.  You can render tallow (beef or sheep fat) or lard (pig fat) in your own kitchen.  I’ve seen several different methods for rendering lard or tallow, but this is the one that I use.  I have the butcher package up all of the fat for me when we have our steer butchered and keep it in the freezer till I get tired of it taking up space.  I have never rendered lard before, because we don’t raise pigs, but I understand the method is the same.  Most butchers will give you fat for free if you request it, but I prefer to know what the animal it came from has been fed.  At some point I intend to get pig fat when a friend is having a pig butchered.  Lard is ideal for baking, especially pie crusts!  Never use the shelf stable lard from the grocery store, it has been hydrogenated – eek!  I will use this tallow for making soap (when I get around to it).  Tallow is also excellent for frying (because it has a high smoke point).  I’m not advocating eating fried food every night, but for an occasional treat french fries fried in beef tallow can’t be beat.

I used about five pounds of fat this time.  I try to do this on a day when I can open all the windows because boiling a pot of fat on the stove for several hours doesn’t give the house the greatest odor.

Cut beef fat into small chunks (smaller chunks will cook faster).

Place in a pot on the stove and heat over medium low heat for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the fat (I use a metal strainer).  Save the solids for the dog.

Add twice as much water to the pot, as the amount of liquid fat that you have rendered (I ended up with 4 cups of fat and added 8 cups of water).

Bring fat to a boil and boil for 2 hours.

Strain the fat again to remove any remaining chunks.

Pour fat  into a 9 x 13 pan.

Refrigerate overnight.

Invert the fat onto a plate over the sink.  The tallow will have risen to the top of the pan and the water underneath will pour off into the sink.  On the underside of the tallow there will be a layer of scum.  Using a butter knife scrape the scum off, until all that you can see is pure white tallow.

Cut the tallow into chunks and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks, or wrap in plastic and freeze.

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Filed under Beef

Cottage Flaxjacks -with soaking instructions

The weather has been really lousy this last week.  Between the wind and the cold I’ve hardly ventured out of the house unless it was absolutely necessary.  Being stuck in the house has kind of killed my desire to do much of anything.  Last night I decided it was time to get something done, so I thought I would start Thursday morning with a nice breakfast.  This morning I woke up and saw icicles on the wheel line, and for a minute I thought about getting back in bed.  But, I got up and made pancakes, and now I’m thinking about cleaning the house… maybe.

These pancakes are a favorite at my house.  They are an easy way for beginners to start soaking grains, but even if you forget to soak the flour the night before, they are a great breakfast.


1 cup whole wheat flour (spelt flour works great too!)

1 cup buttermilk

Before going to bed combine flour and buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can use milk + 2 Tbls yogurt).  Cover and let sit out on the counter overnight.

Ingredients cont.

1/4 cup ground flaxseeds

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbls sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbls olive oil

In the morning mix remaining ingredients into the flour and buttermilk.

Pour onto a hot griddle (I like cast iron).  Flip when pancake bubbles in the center.

Serve with butter and real maple syrup.  Makes about ten pancakes.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays

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Filed under Breakfast