Lentil Soup with Chard

Shawrabit Adas bi Hamud  = Lentil Soup with Lemon is the Traditional Lebanese name for this soup, that is popular in the mountain villages.

It’s a wonderful cold weather dish, sure to warm you from the inside out.  This is based on my Mom’s recipe, adjusted to lower the fat content! :)

You’ll need:

  • 1 c. organic Brown Lentils
  • 2 c. organic Swiss Chard, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 c. Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. organic Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/c. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. organic Lemon Juice

Rinse chard and slice, discarding lower half of stem.

Place sorted lentils in a pot and cover with water.  Add the 1/2 tsp. salt, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Mash cilantro, garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt in mortar and pestle until a smooth paste.

Place oil in saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add cilantro-garlic paste and Swiss Chard. Stir until wilted. Remove from heat.

When lentils are tender, add the Chard mixture and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Serve warm with toasted whole wheat pita bread or whole grain toast.

~ Sahtein!

 

 

Are You a Bean? or … the Lentil Love Affair

Da Facts

The lentil (Lens ensculenta) is a legume that grows in pods containing one or two lentil seeds.  They are believed to have originated in central Asia.

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops.  In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found dating back more than 8000 years.

In the Old Testament, Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of lentil soup. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the “sweetest of delicacies.” Lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 2400 BC.

In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be “the poor man’s meat.” In Catholic countries, those who couldn’t afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead.

There are many varieties and colors of lentils, including brown, yellow, black, orange, red and green.  Beluga lentils are black and one of the smallest varieties of lentils, having an appearance similar to caviar.

French green lentils are small, delicate, and flavorful and hold their shape after cooking better than many other types of lentil. The most common lentils used in the United States are green and brown, since these varieties are best at retaining their shape after cooking.

The optical lens is named after the Latin word for lentil, lens. Unlike most other beans, lentils don’t need to be soaked before cooking.

More Facts

With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine , and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world which have large vegetarian populations.

Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine.

Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

   References:

Randy Sell. “Lentil”. North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural Economics. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2011-12-14.

Raymond, Joan (March 2006). “World’s Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India). Health Magazine.

Da Story

As a child and up to now, lentils have been one of my favorite beany legumes! There are two traditional Lebanese lentil dishes that Mom made quite often, and that I devoured… 1) Mjaddara : a lentil and rice mash that is better than chocolate fudge; and 2) Shawrabit Adas: ‘Lentil Soup’ with Swiss Chard and Cumin.

Both dishes were on the Top of my Comfort Foods list.  On wintry days when I visited my Uncle Yusef’s house where Tehta (Grandma) lived, we’d huddle around their kerosene stove in the ‘winter room’, sitting on long cushions that bordered the wall, and eat bowls of Mjaddara with pita bread, pickles and shredded cabbage salad. My 3 cousins and I would listen to the adult conversations, poking fun at whoever was featured in each story, or play silly word games.

Lentils are versatile.  You can add them to salads, to chilies, and soups.

Click on the Recipe Names to go to the recipes.

~ Sahtein!

Lentil n Rice Mash aka Mjaddara

Mjaddara – Background

I make this dish when I want to travel back to my youth, to the days when someone else took care of me and cooked my favorite dishes, to a time when summers were spent at cousin’s houses…walking downtown among colorful shops and busy streets… with multi-flavor ice cream cones in hand, and a string of relatives in tow.

Mjaddara tops my list of comfort foods. The warm, creamy texture and goodness of the lentils are incomparable. In Lebanon this is considered a peasant dish…I think it is King among lentil dishes!

 

Mjaddara

  • 1/2 c. organic Brown Rice
  • 2 c. organic Brown Lentils
  • 1/4 c. virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large organic Yellow Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Salt (or a little more to taste)
  • 2 c. hot water

Rinse rice and soak in water for 1 hour.

Pick through lentils, rinse and boil in a pot until done.

In a wide saucepan, saute onions in oil over medium heat until just golden.  Do not burn.onions, chopped

onion saute

 

 

Immediately add the 2 c. hot water and boil 5 minutes over low heat.

Add to lentils along with the rice and salt.

Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent bottom from sticking.

Turn to low, cover and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes, or until rice is done and consistency is like pudding. Stir occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Let cool for 15 minutes, then place 2 cups of the lentils in food processor and pulse 4 -5 times until mostly blended.  Return to pot and stir into remaining lentils.  (If you like your lentils whole, you may skip this step.)

Scoop Mjaddara into large bowl, or several smaller bowls. May be served hot (on cold days) or cold, accompanied by a green salad, pickles, radishes and fresh sweet onions.

Note: Traditionally this dish is eaten with pieces of pita bread folded into cones to form a scoop, then topped with a slice of onion, tomato or pickle!

mjaddara

Mjaddara, Lebanese Lentil n Rice Mash

~ To Your Health!

If You Won’t Drink it… Eat it!

So you don’t like tea.  My boyfriend thinks it’s only necessary to treat tummy aches… siiigh.

This from a man dating a girl who is more British than the Brits about daily tea.  Well, apparently there are a number of you slightly odd people out there, fighting against the scientific evidence that drinking 3 – 5 cups of tea a day will boost your health and even ward off cancer.  To you I say…

“Eat it… eat it… Open up your mouth and feed it… ” with thanks to Weird Al.

Here’s where you say, “What in the world is she talking about? I think she’s gone off her rocker, it must be all the tea she drinks.”

Ummm, no.

If you won’t drink tea, I want you to eat tea.  That’s right.. EAT IT!

So here’s how this goes…

You’ll need:

  1. 4 c. filtered water
  2. 4 Tbs. Green Tea (Dragon Well, Sencha, or Gunpowder are best)
  3. a clean non-metal pitcher

Heat water to just below boiling point.  If it boils, then let it sit 5 – 6 minutes.

Place leaves in pitcher.  Add water and stir. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes.

Now, either drink the tea throughout the day, with a tiny squeeze of lemon to boost its anti-oxidant capacity, OR save and use in place of water in practically any recipe you’re making!

Put tea leaves in a ceramic or glass bowl and refrigerate up to 2 days.

When you cook stir–fry’s, vegetables or grains… add some of the tea leaves to the dish!  Our kids don’t even notice them in mixed veggie dishes, and they get a nice dose of Auntie Oxidante.  :)

~ I rest my case, or my kettle.

The Overlooked, Misunderstood Dandelion

Once upon a time there was a tall, slender green plant called a Dandelion.  Its name came from Dent-de-lion‘ which means lion’s tooth in French.  This is due to its jagged edged leaves.

dandelionUnfortunately, when you say ‘Dandelion’ many people think of the tiny yellow flowers and the stemmed puffs of white wispy hairs that crop up in their lawns, disturbing the otherwise monotonous green blanket of grass.  It is treated like an unwelcome visitor, annoying and over-staying its welcome.

Aaah, if they only knew who this disguised visitor really was, not only would they welcome it, they would shove the grass over to make permanent space for it!

As said; “The war on lawn weeds in general — not just dandelions — is based on the notion that “the lawn is meant to showcase the diligence of the person who owns it. According to this view, lawns should be uniformly composed of grass, with no “intruders” permitted.

But others would argue that dandelions bear rather attractive flowers, whose yellow hue complements a green lawn nicely. “While the flower isn’t bad,” perhaps you object, “the seed head that succeeds it is unsightly.” Even so, there are easy ways to minimize the impact of dandelions on the lawn, as long as you’re willing to show some tolerance toward their presence. One way is to pluck the flowers as they appear. Another is to eat your weed problems away! “

Unveiling the Dandelion

The Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, which means the “Official Remedy for Disorders”, is so well-respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. According to data, dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.

This perennial has been known since ancient times for its curative properties and has been used for the treatment of various ailments such as infections, bile and liver problems, some cancers, dyspepsia, heartburn, spleen and liver complaints, hepatitis and anorexia. However, its use has mainly been based on empirical findings. There is evidence to suggest it may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women. 

Note: Due to its high potassium level, dandelion may increase the risk of hyperkalemia when taken with potassium-sparing diuretics.

The Plea

Now will you let it hang out in your yard?  Ok then, here’s yet another reason…It’s DELICIOUS!!

Sautéed with garlic, cilantro and lemon it beats Spinach in flavor…and  used in salads it adds a nice slightly bitter ‘edge’, much like escarole.

The following is my favorite Dandelion Greens Salad…it’s quick and simple to prepare.’

Hoda’s Simple Dandelion Salad

  • 4 cups chopped organic Dandelion leaves
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin (opt)

Combine all in a deep bowl, toss well and serve.

~ Compliments whole grain, lentil and bean dishes. Also good with roasted chicken.

Science of Self – 7 – Positive Identity Shaping Techniques*

Hoda:

I love this site and found this post very interesting. I thought you might too. Anything that helps us understand how our attitudes and beliefs shape our thinking and lives, will enable us to overcome ‘programming’ that is less than healthy. Cheers!

Originally posted on Conservatory of Magic:

*Cross-listed course: this article appears under Psychic Mind and Science of Self, with changes and additions to emphasize the ways these principles are used in the different subjects. Take a look at the different applications by clicking the links for each subject above.

You’ve heard over and over again the adage: “You get what you give” and the basis for this is rooted in science. We tend to see more positive aspects of the world when we are happy, versus seeing the ills and evils in the world when we are depressed. Mood and other social influences can shape our world view and our world view can perpetuate itself in a cycle of self-creation. In this section, we will explore attribution theory and its application in the world to promote positive self-identity and its power in influencing people.

As a species, we have such a desire to explain…

View original 1,089 more words

Argentinian ‘Pesto’

Chimichurri Sauce

In South America this sauce is traditionally used over grilled meats.  It works well with fish as well.

You may adjust spiciness as you like.

 4 servings

  • 1 c. organic Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c. organic Baby Arugula, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh organic Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until well mixed.  Alternately you can hand chop the veggies and mix all together.

~ Buen Provecho!