Monday, March 28, 2011

Meatless Monday & The More-with-Less Cookbook

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays!

If you are not familiar with the More-with-Less Cookbook, I highly recommend that you check it out.  My 25th anniversary edition was published in 2000 so there’s nothing new or cutting edge about it.

What More-with-Less is all about is eating simply, with joy and helping others. On a nutritional level the three ways it makes sense to me are 1) the focus on eating more whole grains, legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, 2) the use of meat and dairy products sparingly which is a healthy and lower cost way of eating and 3) the avoidance of processed foods. I’m all over #3.  Not only are packaged and convenience foods more expensive and less nutritious but they often contain artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.   

More-with-Less is not a gluten free or vegetarian cookbook but there are lots of recipes that work well for both.  What is really inspiring to me about this Mennonite cookbook is the premise that if you lower the cost of your own food you’ll have more money to share with those in need. Missionaries and home cooks from all over the world have submitted recipes so they are varied but very accessible. There are not a lot of hard to find ingredients or spices you’ll use only once - just new ways of combining lots of favorite foods.

The recipe for Kusherie is a great example. Kusherie is a type of Egyptian fast food.  Rice, lentils, a tomato based sauce and browned onions on top. Homey and satisfying. Because I was sure I had celery and peppers in my fridge and didn’t my sauce was very basic but still really good. As much as I enjoy the browned onions, they just aren’t a big seller here so I just took one leek and lightly browned it. The variation suggested in the book omits the sauce and uses plain yogurt between the lentils and onions which is how I'll enjoy my leftovers at lunch.

Speaking of leftovers, I doubled the rice and lentils last night so that I'd have enough of each to make veggie patties.  They'll be mashed with garlic, carrots, onions and spices for inexpensive and quick veggie burgers later.

The preparation is very simple and straight-forward and most of the ingredients are pantry staples here.  Don’t let the four steps throw you, no step takes more than a few minutes to prepare and just need some simmer time.  As you start one pot, move on to the next and the next. My prep time was under twenty minutes and I wrote most of this post while things simmered.

Kusherie – adapted from More-with-Less
Serves 6 – 8

In your first pan start the rice:

1 ½ cups rice rinsed and cooked according to package directions.  I used brown basmati but any rice is good.  Keep warm

Next, start the lentils:

1 ¼ cups brown lentils.  Wash and drain.  Place in pan with 1 Tablespoon Olive oil and sauté lightly.  Add 3 cups of boiling water with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Simmer until done, approximately 30 minutes.  Keep warm.

Note: you can save a pot by using white rice which will cook faster and cooking the rice and lentils in the same pot – same taste, different presentation.  I would rinse both the rice and lentils in the same large pot and sauté them before adding the boiling water.

While they are simmering, start your sauce on the third burner:

2 cans organic diced tomatoes (approximately 15 ounces)
1 chopped green pepper
1 handful chopped celery leaves
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes

Simmer about 30 minutes and keep warm.

Note: omit the sauce if you’re in a hurry and use a large spoonful of plain yogurt instead. 

Lastly, sauté a leek on the fourth burner.  Stir occasionally and add a dash of garlic powder as they are done.  Keep warm.  Alternatively, slice three large onions and sauté with four cloves of garlic over medium heat until brown.  Keep warm.

Serve the rice and lentils in a bowl, top with sauce or yogurt and leeks or onions.

For more about More-with-Less, click here.



gabbyfek said...

how i wish i could have that for lunch today!

chacha said...

You need work from home Mondays!
We'd deliver. =D