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Rustic Lentil Soup and My Ginger Paste

You will never have lentils any other way after you try this recipe. Trust me! This recipe is the top Turkish soup recipe, try it and you will find out why. This is a very filling dish so make some nice warm bread with some tea and relax to an amazing authentic bowl of Turkish lentils.

cup red lentils
medium onion, finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped
tablespoons butter
cups water
chicken bouillon cube
tablespoons tomato paste
teaspoon cumin
teaspoon crushed red pepper
and pepper, to taste

1.     Wash lentils until water runs clear and is no
longer cloudy.
2.      In a
2-quart saucepan on medium heat, sauté onion with butter for 1 minute, add
garlic sauté until golden. Add lentils and 1 cup water, stir.
3.      Put
the lid on half way and cook for 5 minutes. The lentils will absorb the water
quickly, so check often. Add chicken cube, remaining water, tomato paste,
cumin, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 more minutes with the
lid half way on over medium heat.

Yields: 4 servings

I love cooking with fresh ginger. But ginger goes bad so fast before you ever get a chance to use it all. So a great way to save some time and money is make a ginger paste and freeze it, all you have to do is pop it out when you need it and wow you have fresh already done ginger. You can also do this with herbs and garlic, I do.

Just chop your ginger up and add it into a food processor or blender with a bit of water, you want a smooth puree. Place the tray in a plastic freezer bag. When you need some for a recipe simply pop a piece out and there you go.

Powdered Sugar

I love making things at home from scratch rather than buying them, I love it because I know what goes into it and because it is fresh. What can beat that, right? I love to bake so I am always in need of powdered sugar and this recipe is so fast and easy.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch

1. In a blender (a blender is necessary) combine sugar and cornstarch, blend.

Yields: 1 cup

Rose Art Hummus

One beautiful thing about the Middle Eastern culture is not only the way the food taste but the way you decorate it. You are a true cook when you care about the way others see it. You will find this art all over the Middle East. Last year for Iftar I was served a lovely rice pudding by a Persian friend that had a tree stenciled across the top with cinnamon, it was amazing. Here you will see that I have just tried to pretty up some hummus. This is a nice starter for your table anytime!

olive oil
1 medium size red tomato
1 small green pepper, sliced

1. In a medium sized serving platter place your hummus in a decorative style, making fork marks around the side add paprika into the grooves. Drizzle oil over certain areas.

2. Starting at the top of the tomato cut the peel or skin part only with a sharp utility knife 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch wide in a continuous unbroken strip like peeling an apple. Roll the tomato skin up as tightly as possible with the shiny side out. Turn the tomato rose upside down, adjust the roll if necessary to resemble a flower and set in the middle of the hummus.

3. Around the sides of the rose place strips of green pepper upside down.

Yields: 8 servings

How to season an iron skillet

This is a tip that all good cooks need to know. Every cook must have an iron skillet or two at least. I try to do this every six months or so to keep them in tip top shape.

Things You’ll Need:
Steel Wool
Vegetable Oils
Mild Soap
Paper Towels

Step 1:
Scrub a new skillet with steel wool to remove its protective coating, and wash with mild, soapy water. (If reseasoning an old skillet, just scrub with hot water and a brush.)

Step 2:
Use a paper towel to coat the skillet with vegetable oil.

Step 3:
Heat, uncovered, for 2 hours in an oven at 250 degrees F.

Step 4:
Let cool before use.