Monday, October 1, 2007

Recession or not recession?

If you had asked me yesterday I would have said we were going headfirst toward a recession, especially after learning of Citibank 60% loss in profits (though losing profits isn't going bankrupt) and of UBS soon to post heavy losses too. Today, I read enthusiastic rally cries and optimistic "this was last quarter problem" stuff in the mainstream media.
Well, to make sure I had a look at next Spring fashion trends, 'cause there's always the "the longest the hems the most real recession is" rule. Fall 2007 fashion was definitively recession-oriented (plus, clothes were structured and well-cut, hooray!) though admittedly I only used Vogue as my research tool.
FBC! is as usual, slighly uncopy-edited, wholly un-researched!
Well, Spring 2008 is uncertain. There are LOTS of long hems (so, recession here we come) but also some short-y skirts, though not many minis. So, mixed signals.

Well, in a spirit of unmitigated and generous sisterhood and brotherhood I thought, if the recession comes I should help my fellow creative friends to survive. Even if there's no recession our writer friends here in LA may have to go on strike and need to save money. How could I help, dear reader? By posting the recipe of the lentil stew that sustained me when I was writing my dissertation and soooooo broke.

But in a spirit of optimism, instead of only posting the cheapo version, I'm adding at the bottom the deluxe one. This way, you can either have a pauper but comforting meal, or have a delicious rich stew for festive winter occasions. Merci qui? Merci FBC!


- 1 cup 1/2 red lentils, rinsed
-2 pounds unpeeled potatoes, rinsed, quartered
3 or 4 carrots, peeled, rinced and sliced
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 bunch flat parsley, rinsed and chopped.
2 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 or 3 bay leaves
3 or 4 sprigs thyme
4 or 5 cloves
about 2 to 3 quart water
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Saute the onions for 4/5 minutes, medium heat, stir from time to time, add the potatoes, the carrots, for 2 or 3 more minutes, stirring again, add the garlic for about 1 minute, then cover with the water. Stir in the spices and herbs, and the lentils, stir well. DO NOT ADD SALT (or the lentil would turn to cement). Let everything boil for about 40 minutes on medium heat, uncovered. Add the salt, let the stew cook for 2 or 3 more minutes. It's ready!

I made this stew over and over when I was writing my dissertation, and 5 years later I still love it. I never got sick of it. It's rather healthy, hearty and fulfilling and vegetarian-friendly. The quantities are 7 days of stew for 1 person, or if you insist to eat everything on one occasion you can easily feed 6 persons with it.
You may want to add water when reheating it over and over, especially toward the end, it's a rather soupy kind of stew.

But I understand it could get boring, so here's the deluxe edition.


Proceed exactly as above, but add:

1. Meat:
- Either some type of sausage (Kielbasa is perfect for this, and Italian gives good result too), sliced.
- Ham or Porsciutto hocks, sliced
Lamb, pork work well with this, just make sure you buy the kind you need for stew and it is cubed.

2. Greens:
Spinach, watercress or arugula are all good. Washed and chopped.

How to proceed:
- For cubed stew meat, just brown it in the olive oil at the same time as the onion, carrots, etc. and continue with the regular steps of teh pauper version.
-For the ham or prosciutto hocks, just add them with the boiling water but only after you are certain the lentils are cooked (say, after 30 minutes)
-For the sausage, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet and saute the sausage until it is nicely browned, then dump into the stew, same stage as the ham hock.

For the greens, you can add them directly to the stew at the same moment you are sauteing the garlic in the olive oil, just before you add the water.

Serve with nice crusty bread, and if you're flush drink some red wine. If you're not flush but still want wine, one tip: don't get the 2 bucks Chuck at TJ's but look at their Italian wines selection. They usually have some good ones for $2,99 to $5,99.

Lastly, if you decide to go for either version, one word of caution: do not use stock or broth to make it unless you are certain it is unsalted. Also, add salt only at the end, when you are certain the lentils are thoroughly cooked.


Anonymous said...

Wow! You're like, my more accomplished doppelganger in terms of interests!

Let's get coffee sometime, ja?!

Anonymous said...

Oh, woops, I'm geezopeez!