Sunday, June 8, 2014

Red Lentil Dahl with Curried Butternut Squash and Carrots

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash
  • 1 medium vidalia onion
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon McCormack® Peppercorn Medley
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed if needed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Mince ginger and garlic and set aside.  Mince the onion and set aside. Peel and cube butternut squash and set aside.  Slice carrots and set aside.

Heat olive oil and butter in a sauteuse pan until golden brown.  Brown squash, carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger until the vegetables are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add in curry powder, salt, and pepper and cook approximately 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add lentils, stock, and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Myrtle's Note:  I made some changes, but I will also say that the ingredient list and the directions on the original recipe did not match up.  I assumed the directions and so, while I added salt since it was not on the list, it was not enough.  The recipe above is a combination of both what I did do and what I will do next time, such as use an entire teaspoon of salt.  The main change was both change the type of and reduce the liquid, based on what I know works with the Red Lentil Dahl recipe. I also changed the type of oil and increased the carrots.  Biting into the butternut squash and carrots with the lentils was rather tasty.  Because I omitted the cilantro oil, I am not sure what value the lemon juice has.  Next time I plan to use lemon grass (similar to the Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes) and will change the recipe here if it works better.  In a nut shell, the vegetables were a great addition to the red lentils, but the lentil base did not have as much flavor as the Red Lentil Dahl and so the bites without the vegetables were not quite as good. My thoughts on the next round are to add 1 tablespoon lemongrass and at least double the curry to 2 tablespoons.  I also am thinking it might be best to add the curry while the vegetables are cooking.  Maybe.  All that aside, I really liked this dish.  I just know it can be better.

Yield: 6 servings

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pasta alla Vodka

  • 1 pound Pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 whole medium vidalia onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 -1 cup vodka
  • 1 can (about 14 oz.) tomato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • McCormack® Peppercorn Medley to taste 
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Start the pasta as you start the sauce and all should come out together.  Be sure not to overcook the pasta.  [I personally recommend adding a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil to the water.  Marie reminded me to stir the pasta once I add it to the boiling water to help prevent sticking.] 

Peel, cut, and purée the onion and set aside.  Peel and mince the garlic and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add in minced onion and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for two minutes or once the onions have started to turn translucent. Pour in vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. Add in tomato puree and stir.

Reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Allow to simmer, being careful not to overheat. Stir in red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Splash in a little water if it needs it. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Pour mixture into large serving bowl. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese.

Eat it out of the serving bowl. Faint. Repeat as needed.  [I LOVE this last "direction" from Pioneer Woman!]

Myrtle's Note:   It almost goes without noting that I puréed the onion instead of merely mincing it and I opted for the use of the peppercorn medley instead of black pepper.  I also doubled the garlic, not that you could really tell.  I couldn't find the fancy pasta, but Marie and I agreed that shell pasta would help capture the tasty sauce.  We were right.  I also forgot to take a photo before we devoured our portions, but I did photograph the leftovers!

Yield:  6 servings