Lentil + Quinoa Butter Lettuce Wraps with Pomegranate Jelly, Goat Cheese, Kale + Mustard Greens

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After spending a few wonderful and beautiful weeks in Europe I’m happy to be back in my kitchen cooking my own meals. Over Christmas my mom spent hours making lard from the pigs we raised on my family’s ranch. It is high quality and delicious and if you ever have the chance to try cooking with homemade lard I highly recommend it. That said, butter works perfectly fine in this recipe. You can also substitute different kinds of jelly here; an apricot jam would work great, my sister in law’s mom gave me this pomegranate jelly for Christmas and I’m unfortunately out now, it was so delicious. The seasoning is meant to be quite light and mild so that it still pairs well with the goat cheese and jelly. This is a light yet filling meal perfect after a day in the backcountry.

Lentil + Quinoa Butter Lettuce Wraps
with Pomegranate Jelly, Goat Cheese, Kale + Mustard Greens
½ shallot, chopped
3 pieces of dinosaur kale, chopped
3 pieces mustard greens, chopped
½ cup cooked lentils
½ cup cooked quinoa
Lemon juice
Sea salt
1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp Tamari
Drizzle Sesame oil
2 tsp Coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp Homemade lard or butter
Butter leaf lettuce
Goat Cheese
Pomegranate jelly

Method:

Place a tbsp of butter or lard in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and add the shallots. Cook for a minute or two and then add the kale and mustard greens. Drizzle the greens with lemon juice and a dash of salt, cover and cook another minute or so. Add the lentils + quinoa, drizzle everything with the rice wine vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and coconut palm sugar. The seasoning should be quite light. Stir well to mix the flavors, and cook until the lentils and quinoa are slightly crisped.

For assembly: rip off a few of the larger butter lettuce leafs and spoon a small amount of the pomegranate jelly on first, follow with a few spoonfuls of the lentil-quinoa mix, add a few pieces of goat cheese and another little bit of jelly, add cilantro if you have it on hand, wrap up the lettuce leaf and enjoy.

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Squash Soup with Crisp Sunchokes, Bacon, Queso Fresco and Rosemary

Squash Soup with Crisp Sunchokes, Bacon, Queso Fresco and Rosemary

IMG_0523I had so many different squash around the house I decided to mix them all into one delicious soup. For this recipe, you can definitely just use one type, but I like the multi-squash mix, it gave the soup another dimension and flavor profile. But, really, this soup is all about the toppings. The soup is sweet and spicy and the toppings are salty and rich and if you don’t have the toppings I used on hand you can always add some crisped shallots, garlic and kale or goat cheese or prosciutto or sauteed mushrooms or small crisped pieces of apples, really there are so many toppings for squash soup.

Squash Soup with Crisp Sunchokes, Bacon, Queso Fresco and Rosemary
1 carnival squash
1 kombocha squash
¼ banana squash
2 tbsp butter
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups chicken broth
½ jalapeno, diced
sea salt
pepper
½ cup heavy cream

Method

Oven 425. Halve each squash, or cut into a few pieces, place in a pan with a thin layer of water and roast in the oven for about 45-55 min, or until soft. Allow the squash to cool, and then scoop the flesh out into a blender.
While the squash cools, saute the onion in the butter until it becomes translucent, then add the garlic and the jalapeno. Cover and saute for a few minutes and then add 1 cup of the chicken broth.
Pour the broth mixture into the blender and add the remaining chicken broth, sea salt and pepper and if you need to, blend in two batches. When you blend hot liquids, be careful, cover the lid of the blender with a towel or two so you don’t burn your hands. When the consistency is smooth place the soup on low heat in a saucepan. Add the splash of heavy cream, taste and add spice as needed.

Toppings
4 mini purple potatoes, chopped
2 sunchokes chopped into small pieces
½ cup cooked lentils
2 slices of bacon, chopped (I had bacon ends on hand from the pigs we raised at our ranch)
A few twigs of rosemary
sea salt
pepper
1 tbsp butter
queso fresco

Heat the butter in a cast iron, then add the chopped potatoes. Cook on high heat, stirring every few minutes and then add the sunchoke pieces. Cook until the pieces start to brown, then add the chopped bacon and the lentil. Cook until everything browns and then add the rosemary, salt and pepper.
Garnish each soup bowl with a few spoonfuls of the toppings and a sprinkling of queso fresco.

Spaghetti Squash with Lentils, Crispy Sage and Pickled Pears

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I signed up for the River School’s CSA for the next 15 weeks and have been enjoying the beautiful produce each week. Their honey and the honey that comes from my family’s ranch is the best. It is chewy and complex, not overly sweet, and doesn’t have that almost metallic overwhelming taste of some honeys. It is best eaten in big spoonfuls. This week we received pickled pears, a treat I haven’t had before. I was sampling them while I was at work, wondering what I was going to pair (ha) them with, and then just tried them out with this dish. The yogurt and pear added this lightness and that sour complexity to the dish and was great with the meaty lentils and spinach and the sweet squash. My first bite was tentative, curious about the mix of textures and flavors, and I was really impressed by how well it all worked out together. If you have some quality prosciutto it would taste great baked on top of this dish as well. The squash, spinach, sage and pears are all from the River School in this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Lentils, Crispy Sage and Pickled Pears
1 spaghetti squash, cooked (I cook mine face down, in a little water, in the oven at 400* for about 30 min)
1/2 cup lentils, cooked
Spinach, chopped
Rosemary
Sage leaves
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil
Butter
Whole milk plain yogurt (Strauss)
Pickled pears

Method:
Oven 400. Remove the seeds from the spaghetti squash, place in a cast iron, and layer lentils and spinach in one half of the squash, or both if you’re making both sides. Season the lentils and spinach mix with salt and pepper and place a few little pieces of butter over them. On top of the spinach and lentils, place some rosemary branches and sage, and layer extra spinach leaves around the side of the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season again. Bake until the sage leaves are slightly crisped, about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy with fresh yogurt and a spoonful of chopped pickled pears.

Lentil Wrap with Broccoli, Kale, Asparagus and Queso Fresco

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This is a really easy spring wrap recipe. I make some variation of this year round and this is the early spring variety. It’s light, uncomplicated and fresh tasting. I can’t wait for farmer’s markets to start in about a month here. This is such an exciting time of year as all of my favorite foods come into season.

Lentil Wrap with Broccoli, Kale, Asparagus and Queso Fresco

1 sprouted wheat tortilla
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1 small head broccoli, chopped
8 small asparagus, chopped
5 leaves of kale, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Queso Fresco
Cilantro
Cilantro-lime dressing
Salt & lemon pepper
Olive oil
Lemon juice

Method:

In a large skillet heat a few teaspoons of oil. Add the broccoli and asparagus, cover and cook for a minute or so. Add the kale, season with lemon juice, salt & pepper and more oil if needed. Cover and let the vegetables cook down for about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooked lentils to the skillet to heat. Cover and cook for another minute or so. Remove the vegetables from the skillet, add more olive oil, and place the tortilla in the pan. Spread the vegetables on one half of the tortilla, top with green onions and queso fresco and cover for a few minutes, or until the tortilla is nicely browned.

Remove the tortilla from the skillet and finished the dish with a big handful of fresh cilantro and cilantro-lime dressing.

Lentil and Split Pea Quesadillas with Gruyere, Comté and Sauteed Kale

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I lose track of what is in my cupboards several times every year. So I didn’t buy groceries for a little while and decided to see what I had and wasn’t using. Millet, quinoa, amaranth, sprouting seeds, bee pollen, various types of beans, soup mixes, lentils and wheat berries and the list goes on. I have a wide variety of interesting and obscure ingredients to play with but I’ve been hooked on the first one I made from the pantry. I like having survival food on hand for when I have limited time or money. Some of the best survival food is Bob’s Red Mill soup mix with green and yellow split peas, barley, lentils and vegetable pasta. I ate it as a soup the first night cooked just in chicken broth and then I started incorporating it into other dishes. The lentil-split pea quesadilla with gruyere and comté topped with sautéed kale and lemon juice is my favorite use for the soup mix so far.

Lentil and Split Pea Quesadilla with Gruyere, Comté and Sauteed Kale

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
2 sprouted corn tortillas
Sliced Gruyere and Comté
Handful of kale
Lemon juice
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil

Method:

Simmer 1 part soup with the 4 parts of water/vegetable broth for about an hour, until tender.

Heat a cast iron pan on medium high heat, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and place the tortillas in the pan. Top them with a few spoonfuls of the lentils and several slices of cheese. Top with the other tortilla, cook for several minutes on each side (until cheese is melted, tacos are crispy).

Remove the tortilla from the pan, and add the kale to the hot skillet. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon onto the kale, cover, and sauté until the kale is soft and a bit crispy (about 5 minutes). Top the tortilla with the kale and season with salt & pepper. This is a really simple meal, but don’t forget the lemon juice, it is essential. And definitely serve these with spicy chutney and Greek yogurt if you have it on hand.