Monday, January 27
Egyptian Lentil Soup and Homemade Pita
One of the books that sometimes get neglected in my kitchen is The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein (sorry for the Amazon link, she does not seem to have a website). I’m not sure why this is, because every single recipe I’ve made from it has been delicious. In fact, I really think that Donna Klein is one of the most overlooked vegan cookbook authors around, which is unfortunate (but likely at least partially due to the lack of website). I decided I wanted soup and since it was going to be a cold week, I thought we’d like to have some extra for hearty lunches. The recipe for Egyptian Lentil soup sounded really good - it uses three onions, so, yes please- so I went with that one. Wait, three onions?! Yes, one red onion gets sliced, roasted and added to the soup at the end, and two yellow onions are chopped up and cooked along with the lentils and the rest of the veggies. The soup takes a little time to cook because the lentils need to simmer for at least 45 minutes, or in our case, even longer. I don’t know what it is with me and lentils, but mine are never done in the amount of time a recipe says they will be. In fact, none of my beans are. I think it might be because I buy all of our beans in bulk and they may be old. Older beans take longer to cook. Anyway, I let our soup simmer for over an hour to get the lentils cooked all the way. While the soup cooked I decided to try something I’d never done before, which was homemade pita bread. I found this recipe, which looked pretty easy. And it was. I know, I know, I should have been healthier and made whole-wheat pita from any one of the millions of recipes out there, but I kind of wanted fluffy, white bread. I did try to make it a little healthier by swapping half of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat pastry flour, so at least there was that. These are really easy. I made the dough before starting the soup and let it rise while the soup cooked. The first one I made looked too small and I wasn’t sure it was going to puff up at first, so I ended up dividing the dough into 6 pieces instead of 8 and made larger, thicker pitas. They all puffed up correctly by the way, as you can see in the photo. I kept them warm in the toaster oven as I made the rest. We really enjoyed these – they were perfect and fluffy and even have the pockets inside, which was pretty cool – perfect for sandwiches. I’ll be making my own pita from here on out rather than buying it.