Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Cooking: Dal, Goulash, and Pumpkin Seeds!

Yellow split pea dal in the making

Next project: pumpkin seeds, Mallory-style

Jazzing up the goulash with fresh tomatoes
Hurricane Sandy is on it's way and preparations have been made. Wine, seltzer, candles and matches, and a few comfort recipe ingredients are all in place. I'm sure we have a flashlight around here somewhere. Life with a baby and a full-time grad student hasn't allowed much time for the tasting, market perusing, and reflecting/blogging of days past, but potential natural disaster has forced me inside and bought me some time not only to stew up some cozy day-family favorites, but actually share what I'm making.

Given the opportunity today, I am thrilled to finally try again to revisit this outlet safely from the edge of evacuation Zone B. Maybe I will get my blog momentum back, as I say about many things right now, one of these days.

So what's on the stove today? There was a big family-pack of ground beef in my freezer, a ton of dry macaroni in my pantry, and some canned tomato sauce (opened) in the fridge all leftover from a catering job. Rather than watch them collect dust and freezer burn, I thought I would answer the call of these ingredients...goulash....goulash...goulash. This will keep my husband well-fed all week and happily so. It is a hearty, simple dish that grows in quantity as it comes together so we are prepared for any hurricane party drop-ins, as may happen.

Little chef scooting towards kitchen smells
A greenmarket jewel yam has been popped into the oven for Miss Matilda. She's easy to please... and as for me, nothing hits the spot like some Indian home cooking on a day like this. I managed to grab some yellow split peas and cilantro yesterday while braving the hordes of people maniacally shopping for gallons of water and emergency candles, canned soups and liquor.  I'm still not sure how I could think clearly out there, but thankfully I was focused enough to think "dal".  How distracting eavesdropping is at the grocery store on the day before a big storm and the frantic conversations in line! Overheard at Key Food in Greenpoint, Brooklyn by a group of 20-something roommates: "There are no more baskets, so just grab everything you can carry and I'll meet you in line.". and so on...There is nothing like a highly publicized storm to get people into a panic.

Along with dal, goulash, and a sweet potato, I am roasting some pumpkin seeds I scooped out from a jack o'lantern on Thursday. My favorite version this year has been sea salt, olive oil, and Cajun seasoning, but, for this batch, I am trying my friend Mallory's recipe she recently featured on her blog, Mallory's Kitchen. The Hoffman menu today is cozy, warming, and autumnal, not to mention extremely thrifty.

My favorite dal is getting improvised today and getting the green addition of leftover kale from the greenmarket. If I had some cauliflower, I would use that, too!  Adjust seasonings to customize and make it your own.

Split Pea and Kale Dal

2 cups yellow split peas
8 cups water
1 t sea salt
2 t turmeric
6-8 cups chopped kale

tempering oil:
3 T virgin coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, or vegetable oil
2 t whole cumin seeds
1 t crushed red pepper
2 T minced fresh garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 fresh minced jalapeno

1 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine split peas, water, salt, and turmeric in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low  and cover until peas are very soft and mixture has a uniform consistency, adding water as needed. Add kale and simmer for about 5 minutes, until kale is wilted.

In a saute pan, warm the oil and add cumin seeds and crushed red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, then add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook about 2 more minutes, stirring to make sure nothing sticks and gets clumpy.

Add tempering oil to split peas and stir in cilantro and lemon juice to finish. Cook for a minute or so and taste for seasoning. Adjust lemon juice and salt. Serve hot as is or with basmati rice.
Chop the kale small so you have a uniform consistency.

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