Recipe

How To Cook A Goddamn Lentil In 30 Easy Steps

Good morning, my Plant-Based Pretties.  Today I would like to cover a subject that became very evident as soon as you saw the title of this post, LENTIL COOKERY (the green kind).  Like three people have asked me over the years how this is accomplished, and really lentils are a pretty fucking simple, resilient legume.  They aren’t finicky little buttholes like rice, requiring “exact measurements” and “cooking times,” There are a lot of means to get to the ends of a cooked lentil.  You can soak overnight before cooking (yawn, boring), you can boil them in a bunch of liquid then strain them when they are done (not a bad way of doing things if you want each lentil to retain their shape i.e. for salads), but I choose to cook lentils the old fashioned way, and I honestly don’t know what I mean by that. Ultimately, you just Cook It Til It’s Done.

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Lentils, the green kind. Kick ass food photo by me.

First things first: I INSIST on using a tea kettle, be it electric or stove top.  If you don’t have one, I would suggest that you acquire one at some point in your life, it makes cooking things like lentils, risotto, and quick noodle soups much easier.  If you don’t have one, just keep a second pot of either water or vegetable stock at a simmer for this cooking process. It’s fine. Really.

This recipe is what I use as a base for other hot recipes which include Lentils. Tacos, burger patties, soups, motherfucking lentil loaf, shit like that.  It also works well for those of you who are super organized about Meal Prep, and the large number of steps should satisfy your “making things complicated for simplicity sake” nature.

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Lentil/Mushroom Taco “Meat” w/Pico and Guacamole
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Lentil/Mushroom Tacos, a good fucking use of cooked lentils. And Mushrooms.

How To Cook A Fucking Green Lentil In A Lot Of Steps

  • 1.5C Lentils, the green kind.
  • One small onion
  • 2 Vegetable Boullion Cubes
  • 4-5 Cups hot water (you may or may not need it all)
  • 1t Oregano Leaf
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Fucking Pepper, whatever you got.

How do we do it?

  • Finely dice one small to medium yellow onion, while this is going on let your medium size sauce pan heat up on medium high heat. At a medium pace.
  • FILL YOUR TEA KETTLE UP WITH WATER AT THIS POINT, AND START ITS HEATING CYCLE. THIS IS IMPORTANT. BUT NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH FOR AN EXCLAMATION MARK.
  • Toss a little vegetable oil into the pan, let it heat up for 10-15 seconds then
  • Add the onion to the pan and saute for about 6-9 minutes
  • About 1/2 way through the onion cook time, start adding your oregano, some salt, fresh cracked pepper, and the stock cubes.
  • Stir that all up so that the melted cubes coat the onions and everyone gets to know each other fairly well.  Don’t forget to stir on the reg! DON’T BURN THE ONIONS.
  • Add the lentils, and really just put whatever amount close to 2 cups in there. This isn’t rocket brains, y’all. Also add the Bay Leaf at this point.  Stir the lentils in with the onion mixture and let it all cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  • IT IS TIME TO ADD THE WATER.
  • Add the boiling water from your tea kettle slowly, just to cover the lentils plus about a half inch.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes, check the lentils. You should not be able to see water above the lentil level. That means its time to…
  • Add more water, this time about an inch above the lentil level. If you are following along and had restarted your hot water so it was boiling again, you should be able to just add it and cover the pan back up to simmer.  Hot water cook lentil.
  • Check again in 20-25 minutes, this takes a long fucking time really.  What are we up to like 2 hours now? Sheesh.
  • If you stir the lentils, they should be a little wet at the bottom. Take a taste of the lentils, they should be close to al dente.  Give them a stir once more, then tightly cover the pan and pull off the heat.
  • Let sit for however long, maybe 10-15 minutes, maybe an hour. You do you.
  • They are done. You can either spread them out on a sheet pan and cool them under refrigeration, or use them hot and now.
  • That is the super simple 30 step process to cooking lentils, the green kind.

Now go use these lentils for good or for evil, your choice!

VV

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Recipe · Some Bullshit

I F#%$ING LOVE SOUP

As stated in the title above, I fucking love soup.  Right now it’s like 40 below wind chill where I’m sitting (well, outside of the house I’m sitting in), and perfect weather to avoid freezing to death by eating some SOUP.  This particular soup is a very simple, hearty soup you can make with items you might have laying around the kitchen. You can substitute Russet potatoes, Black Kale for the spinach, use frozen spinach (thaw it first), you can add Nutritional Yeast, add more spice, use home made vegetable stock instead of bullion cubes, whatever you want.  On with the recipe…

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Such photography!

This is a “no power tools” recipe, hence the sliced potatoes rather than the usual big-suitable-for-puree-chunk most potato soup recipes call for. Instead of a blender or processor, you will be using a whisk to break down the potatoes (after thorough cooking) which will both thicken the soup and leave some rustic chunks (new band name, claimed it) for a more “chowder” like consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and sliced in thin half moons
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 3C Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • 2T Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Vegetable Bullion Cubes
  • ½ C Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 2C Water (probably more)
  • 1t Red Pepper Flake
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Turn the vegetables into the proper shapes/sizes with your knife
  2. Add vegetable oil to a Medium sauce pan on Medium High heat
  3. Add the Onion to the pan and sauté until soft, preferably with a little brown crisp. Toss a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper in here at the beginning if you feel like it. (hint: you feel like it)
  4. Add garlic, Bullion Cubes, and Rosemary and sauté for 1 minute (don’t burn the goddamn garlic)
  5. Add Wine to deglaze the pan
  6. Add Water to pan, it should cover the potatoes plus about ½ inch. Hint: you will most likely be adding water as you go through the cooking process, so don’t be super bashful with the agua
  7. Raise heat to High to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes. You can let it go however long you would like, just watch to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated to the point where you just wasted your day making burnt potato garbage. Add water if necessary.
  8. Uncover the pot and USING A WHISK, start haphazardly stabbing away at the potatoes like a baby splashing in a bath. Take care to not splatter hot liquid onto your person. Hot water burn baby.
  9. Once you have the Potatoes broken apart somewhat, use the whisk as it was intended and whip up the soup.
  10. Add the Spinach, stir well (you don’t need to whisk it now), then let the soup simmer a bit longer. If the soup seems to thick, add water slowly until it reaches the desired consistency. DON’T JUST POUR A CRAP LOAD OF WATER IN THERE AND TURN IT INTO A SPINACH AQUARIUM*
  11. Taste and re-season if necessary.
  12. SERVE with Vegan Grilled Cheese, Oyster Crackers (my favorite), or just mow it down solamente.

*If you, in fact, have turned your soup into a spinach aquarium, cross your fingers that you have something cool like Instant Potato Flake on hand. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill brand, they are Vegan and super legit, like the rest of the BRM line. Add a little at a time, they will thicken your soup quickly. You will also need to add more Salt and Pepper, and possibly another bullion cube to fix the problem fully.

VV

 

Recipe

RECIPE: Vulgar Vegan Whiz

IMG_5699This is the original recipe that the Vegan Whiz we serve at one of my restaurants was based on, with some modifications to fit the cuisine being served.  It was formulated when I was a totally broke ass vegan working my broke ass off just to barely get by. This was a time that I lived off of nutritional yeast, cheap pasta, beans, and tortillas. And lots and lots of potato chips and cheap beer. It was the best of times, it was also the shittiest of shitty times. But I persevered, so did you, and here we are.

There are three forms of this recipe, the one where you don’t have a blender or food processor (how the hell are you making your hummus? Mortar and pestle? If so, that’s actually pretty rad. Nothing beats making recipes even harder.), one where you do, and one where you transform this thing into a solid mass like the classic Cheese Whiz pot of gold.  If you aren’t blending, make sure to finely mince your onion and garlic. If you are, it doesn’t really matter as long as you get the onion and garlic cooked soft. Just remember that this is a simple recipe from a simple time, made for simple dishes that will envelop you like a hug from your creepy aunt. Don’t get too stressed out. Enjoy.

Vulgar Vegan Whiz

1 onion, minced (or rough chop, if you are blending)

2 Cloves garlic, minced (or crushed, if you are blending)

2C Vegetable Stock

Salt to taste

1.5C Nutritional Yeast Flake

1T Prepared Yellow Mustard

Optional: 2-3T Corn Starch

  1. SWEAT the onions in a small amount of your choice of cooking oil for about 6-7 minutes over medium heat in a medium size sauce pan.  I usually throw about a teaspoon or so of salt in at this point, you don’t have to.
  2. ADD the Garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes. DO NOT BURN THE DAMN ONIONS AND GARLIC.
  3. ADD the Vegetable Stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for a few minutes. It doesn’t really matter how long, just pretend you’re doing something culinarily brilliant.
  4. WHISK in the Nutritional Yeast Flake, leaving no yeast lumps. (you don’t have to go too wild here if you are blending)
  5. STIR in mustard.
  6. If you are not blending: Simmer the sauce on low until it thickens. YOU ARE DONE.
  7. If you ARE blending: Remove sauce from heat, let things cool down a little bit before you put the mixture into the blender*
  8. POUR cooled (not cold) contents into your blender or food processor, blend until smooth. If you just want a smooth sauce, YOU ARE DONE.
  9. IF you want to get to block form (like a spreadable cheese that melts), add 3T of Corn Starch while blending.
  10. TRANSFER mixture back into the sauce pan, simmer until the sauce thickens to a porridge like consistency.
  11. POUR into a clean, sanitized container, let chill. YOU ARE DONE.

Now you are ready to make a Vegan Cheesesteak, Pizza, Mac N Cheese, etc.  This is the base for some real goddamn comfort food, and sometimes during our amazing journey of eating the most bodacious of fruits, nuts, grains, greens, and other veggies, we just need a little fucking comfort. Just a little.

VV

*BLENDING HOT LIQUIDS IS DANGEROUS. BLENDING LESS HOT LIQUIDS IS LESS DANGEROUS. Use a kitchen towel or hot pad when holding the top of the blender to guard from steam or splatter burns. DO NOT start the blender until you have the top on! PLEASE BE VERY DAMN CAREFUL!

Recipe

The Most Basic Vegan Pancake Recipe Ever

These are as basic a pancake as you can get (without summoning the Pumpkin Spice Gods), so basic that they if they could come to life and sprout humanoid limbs, they would probably wear UGGS to go see a Celine Dion book signing at a IMG_5640Yankee Doodle Candle Store.Yeah, that basic. I’ve made quite a few variations on the pancake theme over the years, but I really wanted something that would be both a good jumping off point for adding flavors/spices and that you could make with just ingredients you should have on hand in your pantry.  No egg replacer that you probably used once and let expire, no fishing around in the freezer for those black bananas to thaw and mush up. Just the basics for these basics.

 

Basic Vegan Pancakes

2 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour

2 C Unsweetend Plain Almond Milk (or whatever NOT chocolate almond milk you have around the house. You can also just use water. Ultra basic)

3T Sugar (use the sugar you have, whatever level of bougie it is. If you want to use Agave, go for it. Mix it in with the wet ingredients)

1T Baking Soda

2 T Vegetable Oil

1 T Lemon Juice (optional)

  1. Take all of the dry ingredients and put them in a fucking mixing bowl
  2. Grab a whisk or fork with your unclenched fist and mix up the dry shit
  3. In a DIFFERENT F’NG MIXING BOWL combine the wet ingredients and whisk/fork them together
  4. Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix until JUST COMBINED
  5. DO NOT OVER MIX THE BATTER. IT SHOULD BE LUMPY AF
  6. Pour out a quarter cup or so of batter for each cake onto a pre-heated griddle. Yes, go back in fucking time and turn your griddle on high, then come back to right after you read this direction.
  7. Cook like you would cook pancakes. Put some oil or margarine on the griddle, cook them cakes in it. Make em look pretty like the picture.
  8. Fucking Eat.

 

Are they basic? Yes. Do they fucking taste good?  Yes. Are they a light fluffy cloud? No. IMG_5644These are pretty fucking dense, so don’t overmix the goddamn batter.  You can serve these up topped with some Vegan Butter, Syrup, Jam, preserves, some other sauce, stir some berries into the batter, or you can cook them up with some Vegan breakfast sausages like in the picture here. Do what you want, just enjoy your breakfast food items and fucking rage.

VV