Lentil Stew (Lentejas) and Meaningful Ways to Aquire Recipes…

Hi everyone. I am so excited to share a great recipe with you from my old friends from Seville, Spain. Ana and her daughter Ana were visiting NY last week from Spain and I got to see them for an hour before they left. I had to take the opportunity to request a recipe that was muy Spanish. Ana Jr. was kind enough to recite the recipe on camera for me (with a little commentary from Ana Sr.-pardon a few of my translation errors-I lived there last in 1992-cut me some slack!).

Where do you get your recipes from? The beauty of food and cooking is that the simple act of searching for, requesting and receiving recipes can be so meaningful. The associations I have with the following lentil stew bring me back to another time and place and receiving it from such wonderful people from my past make this recipe all the more special.

I immediately had to share the recipe with my Spanish cohort, Suzanne, with whom I worked in Seville more than 15 years ago. She moved to my town last night (thanks, Leslie Kunkin of Weichert Realty for finding them a beautiful home near me). Suzanne was equally thrilled with the lentils that I made her and promised to make them herself once her kitchen is set up. Look, we’re already making friend recipe history!

What are special recipes from your past? Why not ask your friends and families for the recipes of the dishes you love instead of just remembering those dishes fondly? Make them a part of your current reality! You can modify recipes a bit as well, like I did with this recipe, to make them to your specific liking-no recipe is set in stone.
P.S. A quick shout out to the Silver Palate legend who passed away (thanks for letting me know, Zoe). This is one cookbook where you want to find recipes to make for posterity:

Lentil Stew:

3 cups dried lentils-about a 1 lb bag (or a “handful per person”)
1 Tomato, chopped and seeded
3 med. sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1-2 tsp salt or more to taste
2 TBS Paprika
ground pepper to taste
3 TBS olive oil
1 Green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf

In a big pot, pour in all the ingredients and just cover all the ingredients with water. Let it come to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes or more until all ingredients are tender. Keep an eye on it, stir it periodically and add more water if need be. Adjust seasonings. It should be thick like a stew, not a soup. Serve with a nice hearty bread. feel free to throw in some sausage or bacon if you want to go really nuts.
One more thing: My friend Melina who runs our local organic veg. coop asked me to pass this family recipe cake AND good deed for a soup kitchen along to all of you-I will be purchasing one for sure:

As we approach the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which falls on September 19th and 20th, my 12 year old daughter, Hope is offering home made Honey Cakes. Honey and honey related items are consumed in the hopes for a sweet year.

Hope is going to be working all year to raise funds and awareness for Toni’s Kitchen. Toni’s Kitchen offers meals and a variety of other services to the needy in Montclair. Hope (who is a very talented baker) has inherited our family recipe for Honey Cake. She is taking orders for honey cakes in time for you to enjoy on Rosh Hashanah or to give to others. All proceeds from the sales of honey cakes (as well as some of the cakes) will go to Toni’s kitchen.

For those of you who have not had honey cake, or more specifically this particular recipe, you are in for a treat. It is sooo moist and honeyish and good that it is impossible not to eat the entire cake at one sitting. You should therefore order a number of cakes. It is dairy free and nut free.

Email melinamacall@verizon.net with your order, by MONDAY 14th SEPTEMBER
If you need it, Hope’s dad will provide local Montclair delivery on Wednesday 16th or Thursday 17th. Please supply address for drop offs.

honey cake
Honey Cake:
1 @ $6.00
2 @ $10.00
Buy 3 for $15.00 and get one free

Please help Hope to help feed the folks at Toni’s Kitchen.

Shana Tovah Umetukah – A Good and Sweet Year

Melina and Hope


2 Responses

  1. Love it! (OMG…sis looks like Alf!) Sounds muy delicioso! Odd, though not surprising, how my Spanish comprehension related to food is still excellent!

    BTW Here's a related factoid I just learned (can't believe I never knew after all these years!): Beans or legumes should not be soaked or cooked w/ salt as it makes them dry/tough in the middle… add salt afterwards (it's apparently a cooking chemistry thing…)


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