Kosheri: Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice

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I am in the throws of an intimate relationship with Ottolenghi. I take it to bed, fall asleep with it in my arms, and think about it when I’m strolling through my day. As much as I hate the use of this word to describe anything related to food–it sounds so damn pretentious and snobby– the book is approachable (ahh, there it is. And now¬†you can hear the local sommelier going on some preachy diatribe about approachable tannins and relatable mouth feel..blah blah blah). But in all seriousness, Yotam Ottolenghi & Co simply deliver recipes and techniques from an unfamiliar culture to me in a way that excites and delights. So frequently I find cook books to be an exclusive conversation between a chef and his mirror, an arrogant array of feel-good notes about how great that sourdough starter was one time at band camp. I do not like that.
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Homemade Ricotta

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I’m in a bit of an eggplant conundrum. He’s been staring up at me from the depths of my refrigerator for days praying that I will, for the love of god, just grill him already. I want to love him. I really do. He’s healthy and in good shape. But he’s just so…purple. And has all that leathery skin hanging around and, let’s face it, no one wants to deal with it. Sorry, bro. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

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Wake up and smell the pumpkin spiced lattes Northern Hemisphere, because fall has officially arrived. Maybe we get it a bit later in California and maybe we don’t feel it as acutely as the show-off New England crowd with their big fancy leaf festivals and their crisp breezes, but we FEEL fall just as much as the rest of you. And, to top it off, we don’t have to deal with that horrid snow stuff that turns to slush stuff and ice stuff and cold stuff.

But I will turn the conversation back to food, something we can all agree on is what keeps this party going.

Soup is THE best comfort food (aside from fattie delicious fried stuff) on a cold night and it has the added bonus of having a gagillion healthy options. Gagillion– that’s a technical term, by the way. You should probably write it down for future reference in a novel or something.

My friend is about to bring over some home made bread to go with this delightful intro-to-fall-soup-a-thon, so here it goes. Enjoy!

And isn’t that a beautiful bunch of purple kale?

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Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
2 t paprika
1/4 t cumin
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 c rice
1/4 c lentils
1/4 c white wine
6 c stock, heated
1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and coarsely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
grated parmigiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato, 1 t paprika, cumin, and 1 T olive oil on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until sweet potato is fork-tender. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. When hot, add the diced onion and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 t paprika. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils and white wine, then the stock. Simmer until rice and lentils are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add kale, beans, and roasted sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste, then serve with grated parmigiano on top.

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