Red Curry Red Lentil Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Fennel

December 31, 2008


It was so good, it got me blogging again…

Next time, I’ll take a picture


Red Curry Red Lentil Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale & Fennel

1 onion, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2 T canola, grapeseed, or olive oil

2 cups red lentils

1-1/2 t ground cumin

1 t curry powder

1 T Thai red curry paste

1 can coconut milk (I used light)

8 cups chicken stock (approx, start with 6 and add along the way…or water, veg stock)

juice of 1-1/2 lemons

1 sweet potato (pref red garnet), cubed

splash vegetable oil

pinch cayenne

2-3 cups chopped kale

1 small fennel bulb, sliced thin with a mandoline

3 T clarified butter

1 t cumin seeds

1 t garam masala

1 t mustard seeds

salt and pepper

1. Saute onion and shallots in 2T oil over med-low heat til softened. Add lentils, curry, cumin and red curry paste and stir until coated.

2. Add coconut milk and 6 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat immediately to simmer. Stir every 10 minutes or so, for about 1-1/2 hours. Lentils should be broken down and mixture should be soupy. If it gets too thick, add more liquid.

3. While mixture’s cooking, heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato with 1/2 t cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper (to taste) and roast about 20 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked through and browned, tossing once.

4. When lentils are cooked, add the juice of one lemon, the kale, fennel and roasted sweet potatoes. Adjust spices as needed. Cook another 10 minutes

5. Meanwhile, heat clarified butter over med high heat. When very hot, add cumin and mustard seeds and the garam masala. Fry for about 30 seconds, then add entire mixture to the lentil, vegetable stew and stir. Add the juice of the last 1/2 lemon and serve.


Pioneer Woman Cooks French Breakfast Muffins

December 19, 2007

Holy So-Bad-They’re-Good-ness.

I will be making these. Reserve your spot at breakfast..pronto.

Hometown Papers/Local Ad Biz: Should Be Obvious But Not

December 18, 2007

Today’s WSJ warns that local newspapers lost revenue opportunities in the local online ad market because hometown papers lack the digitally savvy sales force necessary to reach this tricky and tentative markeplace. One way or another, local online news sites better start hiring folks who understand how to pull ahead or the paper ship is sunk. It’s not too late yet, but it would be a shame to miss this obvious and open opportunity.

Webkinz Go Greedy With Ads

December 14, 2007

How is that folks smart enough to come up with a gangbuster idea like Webkinz, can be so stupid as to think that advertising to the under-9 set is anything but a disaster waiting to happen? Unlike so many other sites (um, I mean, Club Penguin), they’ve actually figured out an awesome way to marry the touch and feel missing from most interactive ventures and so essential for kids, and monetize it online. Why push parents patience and sense of their kids online safety with ads? What good could come of that? So kids click–then they’re taken off site where they can get lost in an adult consumer world where they can’t actually buy anything themselves. Incredibly dumb and greedy.

Hamming it up for Hanukkah

December 10, 2007

My eyes were about to roll back into my head on this dull day for media news when I ran across this hysterical item in Serious Eats about an inadvertant blooper at Balducci’s. The once preeminent specialty store apparently advertised “Delicious for Chanukah” Boneless Hams. Now I KNOW New York isn’t the same city it once was.

Yodle if You Can See the (Long) Tail In Front of Your Face

December 3, 2007

Malcolm Gladwell’s so-2006 theory of the long tail may finally start seeing momentum if research is correct and buzzworthy start-ups like Yodle meet expectations in the coming year. Sure, Gladwell’s theory made sense at the time: Counted together, small and medium-sized businesses will account for a much larger overall digital market share than the relatively few “blockbuster” mega-corps that have historically crushed their little brethren in narrower local markets. But the reality is that there are an awful lot of small and medium sized businesses–you know, the old-fashioned kind that pay rent and have real-live doors and products and services you can touch and feel–that are far too busy tending shop to think about investing the money and manpower in a medium that most of them don’t really understand or have much time to use themselves.

That’s where companies like Yodle and Clickable come in by demystifying and providing resources tailored to this underserved market. Yodle promises analytics that allow businesses to easily gauge the number of calls that come in per ad click while Clickable offers SEM services for small and medium-sized businesses. Both sites smartly use words like “simple,” “easy” and perhaps most importantly “effective” to describe their services, since an Opus Research Survey (reported on by Click-Z) cited “lack of budget, lack of time, and personnel and confusion” as the reason why small to medium-sized businesses shy away from digital advertising and marketing, according to Opus Senior Analyst Greg Sterling.

So while there’s huge potential to reach this wary marketplace, it will likely take more than remedial wording to coax these small business from their offline shell. It will take real-live people going out into the real world, sitting down for real face-to-face meetings where these company leads can be educated about how these online services can benefit their bottom line.

Sunday Dinner: Caldo Verde

December 3, 2007

Caldo VerdeNo kids tonight and the kale’s looking a little wilty. I happen to have some chorizo, so I looked for a recipe and found this one for Portugese Greens Soup in Arthur Schwartz’s Soup Suppers cookbook. So good. I love the bite of the kale, smooth potato broth and meaty heat of the sausage. I was super-easy and didn’t create require me to dirty more than a soup pot, potato peeler, head of the immersion blender (if you don’t have one, you should), knife and cutting board, key when you’ve got no dishwasher. Thank you, Arthur.

Caldo Verde
(Portugese Greens Soup)
Makes 2-1/2 quarts, serving 4-6

4 large potatoes (2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick-rounds [I just cut them coarsely; same diff]
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt [as always, I used kosher salt]
8 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil, preferably Portugese or Spanish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces chorizo or Portugese linguica sausage
1/2 pound kale, washed, stemmed, and very finely shredded (about 4 cups), or 4 cups finely shredded cabbage

1. In a 4 to 6-quart pot, combine the potatoes, salt and water. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are mashable, about 15 minutes.

2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Leave the cooking water in the pot. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes coarsely or into a puree, as your taste dictates, then return to the pot. (Alternately, if you have an immersion blender, puree the potatoes in the pot. Or simply break up the potatoes with a wooden spoon.)

3. Stir in the olive oil and pepper.

4. Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium heat.

5. Prick the sausages in a few places, add them to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. With tongs, remove the sausages and slice them about 1/4 inch thick. Reserve.

7. Add the kale or cabbage to the simmering soup. Boil, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes.

8. Remove from heat and add the sliced sausage.

9. Serve piping hot in flat bowls. [My flat bowl was in use, holding the tuna salad I made for lunch. Not surprisingly, it tasted just as good in a round bowl]

Disclaimer: The photo is purposely blurry, meant to convey the aura of goodness  surrounding this bowl of soup.

Ok, it’s just a crappy shot. Sorry.

Bread Head

December 1, 2007

I went to my first “meetup” today, a bread-making class. It was a nice diversion from life’s more pressing concerns, even if the sole male in the 8-person group was a shifty 50-something-year-old civil servant (I was sure post office, but no) who sat on his butt while the rest of us cleaned up, claiming “Clean-up is women’s work.” We all thought he might be a serial killer. Otherwise, it was  a very unhip group of sweet, single women. The group’s organizers, Racquel (host) and Mireille (teacher) were lovely.

It was a laid-back but tiring 7-hour yeast-fest, with limited successes (Who cares? Kneading is my new favorite sport). We made a bunch of faux fahncy recipes from a circa-1972 Pillbury bread book: Buttermilk bread which would’ve been pretty good if it hadn’t gotten burnt cuz it was cooked on the bottom shelf of the oven, French bread shaped like a cross between that rock/bat thing that Fred Flintstone carried around and a platypus’s tail. It was yeasty and a soft chew, tasting nothing like any baguette I’ve ever tried. The Hearty “Pesto” (quotes mine) Stuffed Bread was a dense proposition filled with dried herbs which, to me, tasted kind of funky and stale.

Thank the stars for sweet breads, though. The Kolachy, a Polish pocket stuffed with jam and topped with sugar oozed yummy and Cinnamon Bread, made with the same starter dough, is gonna make a mighty comforting companion for a strong cup of coffee in the morning. Speaking of which, I’m feeling very sleepy.