I’m still quite busy with work, and my evenings have been devoted to recovery from last week’s insanity, so I actually haven’t knit or spun in days. So…I’m following Norma‘s lead, and I’ll tell you a bit about two things I’ve cooked lately.

First, the lentils. My cooking style is generally more “inspired by” than authentic, and I stop using recipes for a type of food once I get comfortable with it. (I should note, however, that as much as I love baking, I still use recipes for nearly all baked goods (but not bread). They’re just different from “regular” food.) Anyway, this means that my cooking is “vaguely Thai” or “vaguely Italian” or, in this case, “vaguely Indian”. I made this dish on Sunday, for a couple of my friends, and the response was positive enough that I thought I’d share an approximation of the recipe:

Cover the bottom of a pot with vegetable oil. Sprinkle about a teaspoon each of cumin seeds and brown mustard seeds in, and turn on the flame (to low-medium) until the seeds start to pop. Add a cup or a cup and a half of frozen corn and the same of frozen, chopped spinach and begin to sauté. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, some ground black pepper, and granulated garlic (to taste; start with around 1.5-2 t each) and continue to cook for just under a minute. Add 1/2 c dried mung beans and 1.5 c water. If you want it to be spicy, add a dried chile or two at this point. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add 1.5 c red lentils and 3 c water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook until the lentils and mung beans are no longer crunchy.

Garnish with crispy Indian snacks (such as spicy chick peas) if desired. Can be served as soup or over rice. Probably serves 6 (as a main dish).

As for the pancakes, I saw a post on bakingsheet about yeasted buckwheat pancakes. My standard pancakes, which I had an excuse to make a couple of weeks ago, are also yeasted, but more like the beginning of making normal bread. (Recipe in the extended entry.)


Mix

3 c water, just cool enough that you could dip your finger in it for a minute or so
1.5 T dry, active yeast
1/4 c sugar or honey

in a large (metal or ceramic) bowl. I generally wait until I see bubbles confirming the health of the yeasts, and then add

1/3 c oil
about 4 c flour; I use a mixture of white and whole wheat

I’d just say, “add flour until the texture looks like pancake batter,” which is what I do, but I’m not sure that’d be helpful. It should look like a bread sponge, if that helps; really, that’s what it is. Anyway, if you have an oven light, turn it on; if you don’t, turn the oven to “warm” for about a minute and then turn it off. And then put the bowl of pancake-sponge in the oven for about an hour, until it’s approximately doubled in size. (If you’re like me and you’re expecting guests, this is about when you can go back to running around doing the last-minute cleaning.)

When you’re ready to start making pancakes and the sponge has doubled, take it out of the oven, stir it up a bit, and spoon it onto a hot frying pan (or griddle, if you’ve got one) with a little bit of oil. Cook the first side until bubbles in the middle stay open when they pop (instead of reclosing) and then cook the other side until it’s somewhere between golden and brown. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings. (Mine are Grade B maple syrup, wildflower honey, and homemade raspberry or blueberry syrup.) Extra pancakes can be refrigerated for later, since they’ll stay breadily chewy. Extra pancake batter can be made into bread by the addition of more flour.

The initial pancake proportions are adapted from the Tassajara Bread Book (the 25th Anniversary Edition, if it makes a difference).

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