Monthly Archives: July 2010

Enjedra

Enjedra is a variation of mujaddara, a  popular Middle Eastern dish. While there may be subtle differences among various cuisines (it’s also known as moujadara, mejadra, mudardara, megadarra, Μουκ̌έντρα, müceddere, مجدرة‎, or מג’דרה, depending on where you are), but, as far as I can tell, they all boil down to the same thing: spiced rice and lentils with caramelized onions. Okay, I’ve got your attention now. Unless you left after the foreign language tutorial, that is.

While the classic mujaddara consists of whole lentils and brown rice tossed together, I’ve always made the lentils separately, as a sort of stew that’s served over brown rice. I usually pair my enjedra with steamed kale or spinach, so I like having a saucier lentil component with which I can drench the greens.

The great thing about this dish (besides the fact that it’s so forking delicious) is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Lentils, onions, rice, olive oil, a few spices. If you call yourself a vegan and don’t have these ingredients on hand at all times, then you have bigger problems to worry about, and you should probably go deal with them. Just kidding! I’m not that mean.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and cinnamon pair beautifully with the earthy lentils and cumin, creating a melt-in-your-mouth savory stew that will draw crowds–or in the case of my house, family members armed with spoons eating it cold out of the fridge.

Enjedra
(Adapted from VegWeb)
Serves 4

2 medium-large sweet onions
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (you may need to add more as lentils cook)

Get your brown rice started (however you normally cook it). For newbies, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Slice the onions. You can dice them if you want, but I like to have long caramelized pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high, toss onions into the  pan with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (I know it seems like a lot of salt–and it is when it’s just onions–but remember that you’re seasoning for the entire pot of lentils!)

Sauté in olive oil until caramelized-ish, about 10-15 minutes.

Add lentils and water to the onion mixture.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked through, and you have yourself a big, smooshy pot of fragrant deliciousness. When stirred towards the end, the lentils should be fairly smooth.

If serving with greens, steam them now.

Top your rice with greens, and then pile on the lentils! Last but not least, come back here to thank me.

Sometimes, I double the batch because it’s so easy, and you’ll definitely want more when you’re finished. But don’t take my word for it! Go raid your pantry and amaze your loved ones.

Advertisements

Sweet Treats

Just a little Friday afternoon pick-me-up!

If you live within a reasonable distance of any vegan donut and milkshake vendors, I highly suggest that you stop reading and promptly head over to such a place. If not, I hope my photos of these Pacific Northwest treats will suffice. :)

Sip. The infamous vegan milkshake cart that beckons weary grocery shoppers on their way in and out of Portland’s People’s Food Co-Op. There’s nothing cuter, really. My sister opted for the classic Cookies & Cream shake…

While I–somewhat predictably–got Chocolate Peanut Butter. Technically, it was chocolate coconut peanut butter because I decided Coconut Bliss ice cream was worth the extra $1.50. There’s something about an overflowing milkshake in a old-school diner glass that really tugs at your heartstrings, isn’t there? Or maybe that’s the peanut butter…

In my humble opinion, shakes > donuts, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a veritable kid in a candy shop when I stepped into Seattle’s Mighty-O Donuts. Actually, I was a 22-year-old in a donut shop; but my eyes lit up the same way, I swear. I think my sister could attest to the truth of that statement.

Not only is that a French Toast donut; it’s an organic French Toast donut that was thoroughly enjoyed alongside a wonderful soy latté on a cloudy Seattle day.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

Bok Choy and Chickpeas with Cashews

Okay, we all know I have an insatiable vegan cookbook addiction. Well, you probably don’t know, but if you looked back through my posts, you’d find that everything I make is from a different cookbook. I just outgrew my second full shelf.

Accordingly, there are some cookbooks that I write off in my head–as in, “Oh, I have so many, and that one doesn’t seem especially…special.” For some godforsaken reason, Clean Food was one of those books. I think its dull title threw me off. I mean, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar? How exciting! Viva Vegan? ¡Olé! Peanut Butter Planet? Um, TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER! But Clean Food? Oh, okay…yum?

Consider this post my apology to Terry Walters because this book rocks. I was lucky enough to have wise friends who knew what’s what better than I did–thank you, Newmans! I’ve already made the Maple Nut Granola, Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Pineapple Tempeh Kebabs, and have yet to be disappointed. But as good as all of those recipes were, none of them compared to my Sunday breakfast of Bok Choy and Chickpeas with Cashews.

Obviously not your typical breakfast, but as Terry says, greens are energizing in the morning! I love this dish, not only because it’s to live for, but because it epitomizes what Clean Food is all about. I can almost count the ingredients in this recipe on one hand, and half of them are already in its title! Bok choy, chickpeas, cashews, ginger, liquid aminos, mirin, and olive oil. That’s what I call clean. Clean, simple, quick, wholesome, and full of wonderful textures and flavors.

I love me some pancakes and french toast, but sometimes you just need some fresh, whole-food fare first thing in the morning; and for those times, Clean Food is your best friend. As usual, the moral of the story is, “don’t just a book by its cover…or title!”

And here’s a riddle: what’s more vibrant than a leafy green-packed breakfast? My best friend, Joanna! She’s 22 today, and a little over two years ago, she inspired me to go vegan with her. I love you, Jo!

Finally, I was honored to be interviewed by the lovely Janna of Just Flourishing as part of her “vegan week.” Check out what I have to say about veganism and vegan health here!

Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dreena Burton is the master–er, mistress–of vegan soups. You might not know it because she’s more commonly known for her hummus, which occupies an entire chapter of her newest book, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan; but believe me, she is. In fact, the three best soups I’ve ever had have come from that very book.

The first two–Puréed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas and White Bean Rosemary Soup–have made frequent appearances in my kitchen, especially during my cold winter abroad in Scotland! If you know anything about me, the first one really should not come as a surprise given that it’s basically my three favorite foods having a party.

My new Dreena favorite is a little humbler, but no less delicious: Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup. It has a base of chickpeas, red lentils, zucchini, celery, and onions, all of which is puréed before additional chickpeas and fresh lemon juice are added. Garnished with additional lemon juice (I couldn’t get enough!) and parsley, you have yourself a little bowl of Mediterranean-inspired heaven.

This soup is hearty while still being light, thanks to the vibrant lemon and hidden vegetables. However, in 112° Arizona, it’s still a little hot for soup, no matter how light it is. I solved that problem by enjoying my mug of soup with a little bit of unsweetened Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt. The cool tangy bite of the yogurt tempered the warmth of the soup just enough to make it refreshing after a long day of photography errands.

If you don’t own any of Dreena’s books, what are you waiting for? Insane vegan soup is just a click or two away (on Amazon, that is!). Or, check out some of the recipes she’s posted on her blog.