Confetti Crepes with Chocolate Lentil Creme, Toasted Hazelnuts and Fresh Pears

confetti crepes with chocolate lentil creme, toasted walnuts and fresh pears

Are you looking for a luxurious, decadent dessert for your next dinner party or lazy Sunday brunch? Look no further.

It’s hard to believe lentils can be the base for a dessert so sinfully smooth and chocolatey, and toothsome and crunchy and fresh, all at the same time.

Think creamy Nutella with a hit of something lush and mysterious, wrapped in a coat that’s polka-dotted and fun!

Ever since I first tasted crepes with Nutella from the street stands in Paris five years ago, that is my favourite way to eat these delicate little pancakes. Chocolate, hazelnuts and lacy crepes are one of those simple combinations that can’t be improved upon – unless you add a few slivers of perfectly ripened pears.

Earthy black lentils are the perfect pairing with dark chocolate, smoothing and mellowing the richness of the cacao’s intensity. Add the crunch of golden toasted hazelnuts and the crisp freshness of juicy pears – you’ve got yourself an unforgettable dessert. And since there’s so much lentil goodness hidden in the smooth creme, these confetti crepes make a lovely brunch dish. You’ll never know you’re eating all that nutrition as you indulge in your ultimate chocolate fix, lazily sipping a good espresso latte and chatting with friends.

confetti crepes with chocolate lentil creme, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh pears

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: The beauty of this recipe is that all the components can be prepared the day before you plan to serve it, making it easy to just assemble everything last minute for guests. I even make the crepes the day before and keep them covered with plastic wrap on the counter. Any unused portions can be kept in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and enjoyed for breakfast or snacks. Any leftover chocolate lentil creme is delicious slathered on toast or just about anything else. The only thing you need to do last minute is whip the cream for the garnish (or use a purchased real whipped cream aerosol can – I won’t tell).

I use the Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate chunks I buy in bulk at my local supermarket, but any good dark chocolate will do, even semi-sweet chocolate chips, if that’s all you have.

I entered this recipe into the desserts category of the Canadian Lentils recipe contest. We’ve been lentilling it a lot at our house lately, and loving all the cool ways I’ve been discovering to use our wonderful Canadian-grown lentils.

confetti crepe with chocolate lentil creme, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh pears

Confetti Crepes with Chocolate Lentil Creme, Toasted Hazelnuts and Fresh Pears

  • ½ cup (110gms) black beluga lentils
  • 2 cups (480ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

for the crepes:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (270ml) milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) melted butter or oil
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) all purpose flour (or for gluten-free crepes: ½ cup/75gms millet flour, 1/3 cup/50gms sweet rice flour, ¼ cup/35gms tapioca starch)
  • ½ cup (120ml) cooked, sweetened black beluga lentils – from above
  • a small amount of butter or coconut oil for frying the crepes

for the chocolate lentil creme:

  • 1 cup (170gms) dark chocolate chunks or chips, or chopped dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup (180ml) whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (50gms) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • the remaining cooked, sweetened black beluga lentils from above (about 1 cup/240ml)

to fill and garnish crepes:

  • ¾ cup (100gms) raw hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (120ml) whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 ripe, juicy pears

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To cook the lentils:  Place the lentils, water, and 2 tablespoons sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the saucepan and simmer until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 40 to 45 minutes. When they are cooked, drain them in a sieve, and spread them on a plate to cool. Remove ½ cup of the cooked lentils for the crepe batter, and reserve the rest of them (there should be about 1 cup/240ml) for the chocolate lentil creme.

To make the crepe batter: While the lentils are cooking, make the crepe batter. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the milk, salt, butter or oil, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Add the flour (or gluten-free mixture of flours) and whisk until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend all these ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Stir in the lentils, and leave the batter to sit for at least a half hour, up to 2 or 3 hours. This allows the flour to fully absorb the liquid, thickens it up slightly, and allows the air bubbles to rise up and escape, making the finished crepes smoother.

resting the lentil batter for the confetti crepes

To toast the hazelnuts: While the crepe batter is resting, place the hazelnuts in a small pie plate or baking tin. Place them in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until you can smell their nutty aroma, and you can see that several of the skins have started to split. Remove the pan from the oven, and dump the toasted hazelnuts onto a clean kitchen towel. Pull the sides of the towel up over the nuts, and rub them vigorously with the towel. This will remove most of the skins, which can be slightly bitter, but don’t worry if they don’t all come off. Allow the nuts to cool, remove them from the towel (shake out and discard the skins), and place the hazelnuts on a cutting board. Chop them coarsely, then set them aside for when you assemble the crepes.

chopped toasted hazelnuts for the confetti crepes with chocolate lentil creme

To cook the crepes: Once the crepe batter has rested, heat a 10-inch/25cm non-stick or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter or coconut oil – about a half teaspoon). Once it begins to sizzle, the pan is hot enough for the crepes. Use a ¼-cup/60ml measuring scoop, or small ladle, to pour ¼ cup of crepe batter into the hot pan. Quickly pick up the pan and tilt it, rotating slowly so that the batter spreads around in an even sheet to make a round even crepe about 7½-inch/19cm in diameter.

confetti crepes with black lentils

Cook the crepe until the edges start to release from the pan, and when you lift the edges and peak underneath it you can see that it is a lovely golden brown, and the top is dry. Flip it over with a spatula, and cook the second side exactly 30 seconds, then remove it to a plate. You don’t want brown spots on the second side to interfere with the fun polka-dot effect of the lentils. Repeat with the remaining batter. The first crepe will invariably be a dud. Feed it to the dog, or exercise cook’s right to gobble it down. You should have 8 beautiful crepes after that.

confetti crepes made with black beluga lentils

To make the Chocolate Lentil Creme: Heat the ¾ cup whipping cream  and the brown sugar in a small saucepan or the microwave until it is hot, but not boiling. Place the chocolate chunks into a blender, pour on the hot cream, and process for about 5 seconds, until the cream has melted the chocolate and it is smooth. Add the vanilla and the remaining cooked black lentils. Process until it is a smooth puree. Scrape it into a container, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thickened and cold, several hours or overnight. It can even be made several days ahead. You will have about 2 cups (480ml) chocolate lentil creme.

chocolate lentil creme for the confetti crepes

To assemble the crepes: Lay each crepe on a plate or cutting board with the lentil polka-dotted side down. Spread a scant ¼ cup of the chocolate lentil creme around on the crepe, leaving a 1 inch/2cm border.

spread the chocolate lentil creme on the confetti crepes

Scatter about 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts over the chocolate lentil creme. Slice a quarter of a pear thinly, and lay the slices over the chocolate, reserving a couple slivers to decorate the finished crepes.

layer the toasted hazelnuts and thinly sliced pears over the chocolate lentil creme on the confetti crepes

Roll up the crepe, using your fingers to tuck in the ingredients as you roll. Repeat with the remaining crepes. Cut them in half diagonally and arrange the two halves on a plate, or leave them whole. Garnish with whipped cream, another sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts, and the reserved slivers of pear.

Makes 8 delicious stuffed crepes, serving 8 as a decadent dessert, or 4 as an elegant and unusual brunch.

confetti crepes with chocolate lentil creme, toasted hazelnuts and fresh pears

Guten Appetit!

Note: I have entered this recipe into the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge and would love to have your support! To vote for my recipes, click on over to the Canadian Lentils Facebook page, then find my recipes on their page (including this one for confetti crepes) and ‘like’ them, leave a comment under them, and/or share them. I also have a Garlic Lentil Soup recipe, a Lentil Rice Bowl recipe, and a Lentil Fries with Currywurst Sauce entered. You can also leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post. Part of the points given in the contest are for the social media support our recipes receive.  You’d make my day!

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High Protein Pancakes

Rollpfannkuchen is Just Another Name for Crepes

Pancakes – the Thick Fluffy Kind

Gingered Pear Tarts

The Great Baked Apple Experiment

pink ruffled tulips for spring

Posted in Beans & Legumes, Breakfast & Brunch, Chocolate, Desserts, Puddings & Such | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lentil Fries with Currywurst Dipping Sauce

lentil fries with currywurst dipping sauce

I’ve been thinking about lentils, as you can tell by my last couple posts, and it hasn’t stopped yet. I’m working on recipes to enter into the recipe contest for Canadian Lentils.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been dreaming about lentils – and my family might be too, as I rope anybody I can, into being lentil-taste-testers.

I spent last week visiting my mom in Prince George, BC. Early one morning we were visited by a moose right in Mom’s yard – feasting on her willow trees just 30 feet (10m) from the house! This picture is taken through her dining room window.

moose eating willow trees in Prince George BC

look at the damage this moose has done to the willow trees

My cousin, Tammy, and her sweet little girl, Amelia, were also visiting, and we had a great old time gabbing, catching up, and giggling at Amelia’s antics. Plus, I made them all be my taste-tester guinea pigs. They were good sports about lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner some days! I hope they’re not totally ‘lentilled’ out.

We balanced our lentil tasting (and wine drinking) with walks and outings.

walking in Prince George

The snow in Prince George was still at the same wintery level we have here in northern Alberta – melting slowly and resisting Spring. But it will come. We all know that.

snow melt in Prince George

On the first day of spring we went for a walk and found our first pussywillows! A perfect gift to give us encouragement and hope for the change of seasons.

first pussywillows of spring Prince George 2014

bouquet of pussywillows in spring

Amelia holding the first pussywillow bouquet – on the first day of spring

This recipe for Lentil Fries went through several adjustments and variations, but I believe I’ve got it! Mom and Tammy gave it their vote. I came home and made my final tuned-up version for Raymond, and it got two thumbs up, an empty plate and a request to make them again. (Plus, I couldn’t stop nibbling as I was frying them, either.) If you are a french fry lover, you will want to try these.

Lentil fries have all the crispy, savoury crunchiness of french fries, plus moist creamy insides. The sneaky health bonus is that they’re not just a deep fried starch – they’re a power pack of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Even deep frying can’t negate all those good-for-you qualities.

I figure that I don’t eat deep fried foods often, and when I do, I want to make sure I get some healthy benefits to balance the naughty deliciousness of that crispy fried flavour.

Lentil fries are convenient – you can make up the lentil mixture the night before, or up to an hour before, then fry when you are ready to serve them. They make a tasty appetizer course to nibble with a cold beer or glass of wine, or a great side with a burger. The dipping sauce is a sweet, tangy, spicy riff on a German currywurst sauce. I tried other sauces with these fries, but it wasn’t until I stirred up this mixture that we all said ‘Bingo!”

lentil fries with currywurst dipping sauceIt is a marriage made in Lentil Fry heaven.

 * * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Don’t be afraid of deep frying. If you have an electric deep fryer, great. But if you are like me, and only deep fry occasionally, a small heavy pot works just fine. I use a small quantity of oil and never leave my pot of hot oil unattended. It really is easy to do and worthwhile as a treat, now and then. I use grapeseed oil which has a relatively high smoke point (charts of oil smoke points can vary widely depending on the source you use), but other oils will work, too.

The oil is usually good for 2 to 3 uses, if you cool it after use and strain out the crumbs with a fine meshed strainer, as long as it hasn’t gotten too dark (then I discard it). I don’t keep it longer than a week or two.

I use a heavy bottomed pot with a small diameter so I don’t need too much oil. At mom’s I fried the Lentil Fries in a 6″ (15¾cm) stainless steel pot, and here at home I use a 7¾” (19cm) cast iron pot (I need about 2½ cups oil).

Leftover fries can be spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and crisped up in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

lentil fries with currywurst dipping sauce

Lentil Fries with Currywurst Dipping Sauce

For the Lentil Fries:

  • 1 cup (190gms) red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder (granulated dried onion)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (480ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cups (500-750ml) oil (I use grapeseed oil) – enough to be 1 inch (2.5cm) deep

For the Currywurst Dipping Sauce:

  • ½ cup (120ml) Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (120ml) ketchup
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (we like 2 teaspoons)

Stir together the sauce  ingredients in a small bowl. Start with 1 teaspoon curry powder, taste, and add the second teaspoon if you like. Set aside to meld flavours.

mixing up the currywurst dipping sauce

Line a 7×11″ (18x28cm) or 9×9” (23x23cm) pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a blender combine the lentils, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and pepper. Process until finely ground – basically a flour with a few larger granules in it.

red lentils in blenderground red lentils in blender

Pour it into a measuring cup or small bowl. You need to be able to dump the ground lentil mixture into the boiling water without stopping to scrape the last bits from the blender. (I tried pouring it directly from the blender and ended up with clumps – so don’t do it!)

ground lentils for the lentil fries

In a medium sized saucepan, bring the water and lemon juice to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and remove the saucepan from the heat (if you don’t it will splatter when adding the lentils). Whisking constantly with one hand, pour the lentil flour in a steady stream into the water until it is all mixed in and smooth.

Remove the whisk and trade it for a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook it, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. The mixture will be quite stiff.

lentil fries mixture

Scrape it into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula. Have a glass of cold water nearby and keep dipping the spatula into the water as you smooth the surface of the cooked lentil mass.

lentil fries mixture smoothed with a spatula

Leave it until it is cool. *At this point it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or up to 3 days. The Currywurst Dipping Sauce can also be covered and refrigerated. Just stir again when ready to serve.

When the mixture is cool, cut it into french fry sized sticks. You can lift the whole slab out with the paper and transfer it to a cutting board. In my 7×11″ pan I cut 4 rows across the short way and cut each into 16 sticks, making 64 lentil fries. In a 9×9″ pan, I cut 3 rows of 24 fries, making 72 fries in total.

cutting the lentil fries into french fry shapes

Heat the oil in a small, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat until you can see it start to ripple slightly. Drop in 1 lentil fry and watch until you see that it is surrounded by lots of bubbling. Then the oil will be hot enough. Carefully lower in a batch of the lentil sticks with a slotted spoon. The oil will bubble furiously at first, then subside to a regular steady bubbling. Gently separate the fries in the oil with the spoon as they fry.

Lentil fries bubbling happily

Fry the lentil fries in 3 to 4 batches – so that they have enough room to float in a single layer in the oil. Let them fry for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the heat of the oil and size of the fries, until they are a rich golden brown, stirring them occasionally with a slotted spoon to distribute them. Letting them get deep golden will make them crispier than if they are only a lighter shade.

frying the lentil fries

Remove the lentil fries with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towel to drain.

Serve immediately with the Currywurst Dipping Sauce.

If the fries cool too much, or to reheat leftover fries, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and crisp up in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4.

Guten Appetit!

Note: I have entered this recipe into the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge and would love to have your support! To vote for my recipes, click on over to the Canadian Lentils Facebook page, then find my recipes on their page (including this one for the lentil fries) and ‘like’ them, leave a comment under them, and/or share them. I also have a Garlic Lentil Soup recipe and a Lentil Rice Bowl recipe entered. Part of the points given in the contest are for the social media support our recipes receive. You’d make my day!

lentil fries with currywurst dipping sauce

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Lentil Garlic Soup

Lentil Rice Bowl with Candied Pecans, Cranberries and Tahini-Miso Dressing

Kale Chips

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 melting snow in Prince George BC

Posted in Appetizers, Beans & Legumes, Condiments & Sauces | 24 Comments

Lentil Rice Bowl with Candied Pecans, Cranberries, and Knock-Your-Socks-Off Tahini-Miso Dressing

lentil rice bowl

I am loving my lentils lately. (Nice alliteration, huh?)

In the last couple weeks I have been inspired by the Canadian Lentils Recipe Contest to play around in my kitchen to come up with new recipes for the jars of different lentils I’ve got on my basement shelves.

I brought them up into the light.

3 kinds of lentils

I used up the last of my brown lentils for this lentil rice bowl recipe, but have lots of the other lentils left to play with

We’ve been having lentil soup, and lentil frittata and lentil pudding (yes, still working on that one), not to mention lentil crepes and lentil salad.

But I must say, I have a favourite lentil baby – I know, a mother’s not supposed to show favourites, but I can’t help myself. This Lentil Rice Bowl has me so deliciously in love.

Beside all the wonderful health benefits of lentils – you gotta love how rich and earthy they taste. Lentils take me back to the farm and to the fields and to the outdoors. These little nuggets of protein and fiber are natural food in its simplest form.

This lentil and rice bowl is bursting with flavours and colours and natural goodness. Combining lentils and brown rice makes this a powerhouse vegetarian protein dish.

Every little restaurant and bistro worth its salt has a rice bowl of some kind on the menu – usually a fluffy pile of rice topped with veggies, meats or stir fry, or crunchy salady bits. Rice bowls are hearty enough to make a whole meal or a light lunch. They can be hot as a main course, or cold as a salad course. I love it best when the warm lentil-rice mixture mingles with the cold greens, crunchy nuts and chewy cranberries. It’s the ‘whole meal deal’. The beauty of this Lentil Rice Bowl is that you can also pack up all the ingredients separately and take it to work, or even on a picnic, and serve it at room temperature.

And the dressing – drizzle it over the bowl for an explosion of zingy taste that pulls it all into the realm of fantastic!

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: I like to make a double batch of the Tahini-Miso dressing and save it for other salads, or to drizzle over warm boiled potatoes The leftover dressing thickens up a bit in the fridge, keeps for a week, and makes or a delicious condiment for burgers and other meats.

Brown rice and lentils take about the same length of time to cook, so they work well to cook them in the same pot. If you were to use white rice for this recipe, you’d have to cook the rice and lentils separately, then combine them for the rice bowl. But brown rice is a much healthier and more flavourful option that stands up well to the earthy lentils and the zing of the dressing.

A note on miso paste: Miso is a fermented soy, rice or barley paste, full of beneficial probiotics, vitamins and minerals. It has a salty taste. In this recipe you can use either the dark or the light kind. The lighter one is a little milder in flavour. However, if you are gluten-free, make sure not to use a miso paste that is made from barley. Miso paste can be found in health food stores or Asian grocery stores and lasts (almost) forever in your fridge. If you don’t have miso paste, soy sauce would be reasonable substitute.

Lentil Rice Bowl

Lentil Rice Bowl with Candied Pecans, Cranberries, and Knock-Your-Socks-Off Tahini-Miso Dressing 

  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • ¾ cup brown or green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3¾ cups water
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 large handfuls washed and dried baby spinach leaves

Tahini-Miso Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 small, or half of a regular-sized clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1½ tablespoons miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce (or a pinch cayenne)

Combine the lentils, brown rice, bay leaf and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then stir, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. The water should all be boiled away and the lentils tender but not mushy, and the rice should  be dry and fluffy.

cooked lentils and brown rice

While the lentils and rice are boiling, heat the oven to 350ºF. Put the pecans into a small baking pan. Drizzle with the maple syrup, sprinkle with the curry powder and toss it with a fork until all of the nuts are coated. Spread them out into a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the maple syrup is bubbling and reduced slightly.

candied curried pecans

 

Scrape the candied nuts onto a piece of parchment paper on the counter, and spread them apart with a wooden spoon so they are not clumped together. Let them cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Whiz all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Alternately, you can crush the garlic in a garlic press and combine it with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk vigourously until smooth.

Pour into a small spouted cup or pitcher.

knock-your-socks-off dressing

When the lentils and rice are cooked, set out 4 large soup bowls (or popcorn bowls or small serving-sized bowls). Divide the warm lentil and brown rice mixture between the bowls (you should have about 1¼ cups in each bowl.

You can arrange the bowls however you like them:

-arrange the lentil mixture on one side of the bowl and place a handful of spinach leaves on the other side, then sprinkle ¼ cup of the candied pecans and ¼ cup of the cranberries over top.

-or place the lentil mixture on the bottom of the bowl, cover with spinach leaves and sprinkle with pecans and cranberries.

-or place the spinach at the bottom of the bowl, lentils on top, then sprinkle with pecans and cranberries.

Drizzle each serving with a bit of dressing, then pass the dressing at the table so the diners can add more as they like.

Serves 4.

lentil rice bowl

My friend Wendy and I shared these for lunch the other day and we loved them – there were at least a few mmm-mmm-mmm‘s and moans of food-lovin’ ecstasy to be heard as we ate.

Guten Appetit!

Note: I have entered this recipe into the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge and would love to have your support! To vote for my recipe, click on over and ‘like’ the Canadian Lentils Facebook page and leave a comment under my soup link. You’d  make my day!

You might also like:

Garlic Lentil Soup

Golden Vanilla Rice Pilaf

Wild Rice and Mushrooms

Bacon, Egg and Spinach Salad with Mustard Miso Vinaigrette

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

 

lentil rice bowl

Posted in Beans & Legumes, Rice, Salads & Dressings, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Garlic Lentil Soup

garlic lentil soup

I’ve been feeling the ache of the empty nest – wandering around the house without a purpose, making meals that are way too much for the two of us to eat, constantly checking the phone and computer for just a wee message . . . feeling a tad out of sorts.

Yes, I know it’s a practice run – only for three months as our baby (read that as – big hungry teenager) is off on his student exchange, living with Albert’s family in Germany and having the wonderful, life-changing, first-real-independent adventure of his life. I’m proud of him and wouldn’t take that away from him for the world . . .  but it sure is far away. And a mother can’t stop being a mother.

So, I guess it’s good for me – this is my chance to figure out what I want to do with my life. Heck, it’s like a second honeymoon, but without all the angst. Maybe we’ll eat in front of the TV more often, or just have cake for supper one day. There’s no need to drive a kid here, there and everywhere for sports, friends and whatever. On days I’m not working, I don’t have to get up to nag a kid to hurry so he doesn’t miss the bus. There’s less laundry to do, and no one to leave messes everywhere. No one to make crazy noises and whoops and sing loudly off-key. No one waving smelly teenage sport socks in my face.

And there’s also no one to happily and hungrily eat up all the experiments and not-quite-perfected batches of food as I develop new recipes. Yikes. There’s suddenly a lot of food around this house.

I will not eat all the extra food. I will not eat all the extra food. I will not eat all the extra food. I will not eat all the extra food. I will not eat all the extra food.

Remind me if I forget.

I will not eat all the extra food.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a teenager’s quick metabolism anymore.

I will not eat all the extra food.

I’d better get used to making smaller batches.

This lentil soup is just right – enough for Raymond and I for supper and leftovers for work the next day.

Its soothing savoury deliciousness is just the comforting thing I need to take the edge off the Empty Nest Blues. (Sounds like a sad country song title.)

garlic lentil soup

 

The French make a version of Garlic Soup that is thickened with eggs and a bit of flour. I used red lentils and love the unctuous creaminess and slight earthy taste they give the soup instead. You might be shocked at the idea of a whole head of garlic, but don’t run away – once simmered and pureed, the garlic totally loses its bite and becomes mellow and complex and almost sweet. It blends with the lentils to give a rich hearty flavour to a light gentle soup. The red lentils become silky when pureed and turn a lovely golden wheat colour.

red lentils

This soup’s bold flavour contrasts beautifully with its smooth creaminess. It’s very versatile. A small bowl of Lentil Garlic Soup with a crispy toasted round of French bread would be lovely as an elegant first course at a dinner party. Just as a comforting big bowlful, slurped while watching ‘Big Bang’ reruns, makes a wonderful light supper on a night you need a warm hug and a hearty laugh to take your mind off life. The garlic has all kinds of healing properties – its a little boost for your heart.

whole head of garlic for garlic lentil soup

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Make sure you use a nice firm, unblemished, unsprouting, head of garlic (not the limp, dried out one that’s been sitting in your garlic keeper for the last three months).

Salt the soup to taste, it depends on how salty your chicken stock is. When I use a pack of low sodium store-bought broth, I need about 1 teaspoon salt. Adjust yours accordingly.

Red lentils provide lots of healthy fiber, protein and minerals. This recipe has been entered into the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge. Check out their site for lots of other yummy lentil recipes.

This soup shouldn’t be too thick. It’s best when it’s smooth and silky and about the thickness of heavy cream. If it gets thicker than that, just thin it out with a bit of boiling water. And if you reheat any leftovers, you will need to add water to thin it out for sure.

garlic lentil soup

Garlic Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, (about 1 cup/240ml diced)
  • 1 whole firm head of garlic, with at least 10 cloves (about 1/3 cup/80ml chopped)
  • 1 cup (200gms) red lentils
  • 4 cups (950ml) chicken stock (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (or wine vinegar)
  • a drizzle of good olive oil for serving
  • chopped garlic chives for garnish (optional)

peeled garlic for the garlic lentil soup

Chop the onion. Peel the garlic cloves, trim off the root end of each clove, and chop them roughly.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown, or the garlic will get bitter.

Add the red lentils, chicken stock, bay leaf, and white pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the lentils are mushy, about 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, and puree the soup, either in the blender in batches, or with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot.

Add the vinegar, and salt to taste.

Drizzle each bowl with a swirl of good olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped garlic chives, if using.

Serves 4 as a main course, or 6 as a starter course.

Guten Appetit!

garlic lentil soup

my garlic chives in the pot in the window are blooming! they think it’s spring!

Note: I have entered this recipe into the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge and would love to have your support! To vote for my recipe, click on over and ‘like’ the Canadian Lentils Facebook page and leave a comment under my soup link. You’d  make my day!

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Posted in Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

What Else is a Canadian Food? Pancakes – the Thick, Fluffy Kind

The Canadian Food Experience Project (March, 2014) Mom's thick fluffy pancakes The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7, 2013. As we, the participants, share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us. This month’s topic is: Another Regional Canadian Food: in Alberta

Pancakes – Not Specific Only to Alberta – but Definitely Eaten by a Lot of Canadians

When I think of what Canadian food is to me, I put myself into the shoes of the many European visitors we’ve had to our home over the years, and think of which foods they found new and different. Though not always uniquely Canadian, many of these foods were definitely considered North American by our international guests. Corn on the cob was looked at as a curiosity by my German relatives – they considered it only animal feed. Years ago, my uncle took back some corn seed to see if he could grow it there. Marshmallows, and Rice Krispies were definitely considered strange, but Rice Krispie squares were a hit. There’s also our addiction to all things peanut butter. And then there are pancakes.

Most Europeans eat a version of pancakes that is much more crepe-like than our fluffy, doughy flapjacks. They eat theirs as a dessert, with a bit of lemon juice and sugar or maybe a smear of Nutella. Or they eat them as a snack, like the crepes sold in little booths all over the streets of Paris. Eating them for breakfast like we do, dripping in melting butter and slathered with maple syrup, often with a side of fried eggs and a few bacon strips has been considered different, and ‘Canadian’, by our German guests in the past. Though, as the years have gone by and information and travel have made cross-culture food knowledge easily accessible, people around the world are more aware and interested in what is commonly eaten in other countries, and recent guests haven’t been as surprised by a platter of fried disks of floppy dough served to them for breakfast. They’ve seen it on television.

Pancakes aren’t unique to Canada, but they are definitely eaten a lot here. We have whole restaurants dedicated just to this humble food – pancake houses, they are called. Many families, especially those with kids, love the ‘breakfast for dinner’ meal, which usually involves pancakes (who wants to eat a bowl of oatmeal at dinner time?). And I’m sure early settlers wouldn’t have survived without some variation of fried dough cooked in cast iron skillets over smoky campfires, or rustled up over wood stoves in log cabins and bunkhouses across North America.

The simple fried puddle of batter has stood the test of time.

mom's fluffy pancakes

Pancakes can be topped with a melting pat of butter and a lick of syrup, or mounded with fruits or berries and whipped cream and chocolate sauce, or ice cream, or have blueberries or apple chunks, raisins or chocolate chips stirred into the batter, or be spiced with a whiff of cinnamon. Pancakes are a blank culinary slate.

My mom always made her pancakes ‘from scratch’. Pancake mixes were considered special and reserved only for camping. Mom’s pancakes involved beating the whites separately and lightly folding them into the batter, to make thick puffy rounds of fried batter. When I phoned her and asked for the recipe, she didn’t have it written down, since she always makes it from memory, and it’s not always exactly the same. She hasn’t made them for a few years now, she says, so the recipe was a little sketchy, and I had to estimate measurements.

She did tell me though, that pancakes were the dish always requested by my Onkel Julius (dad’s oldest brother) when he visited from Germany. Onkel Julius said he had a different favourite meal made by each of his eight siblings that lived here in Canada. The meal he always requested from my mom when visiting at our home was “those pancakes of yours, Annette – the big fluffy ones”. They were something he couldn’t get at home in Germany.

So to me, pancakes are a Canadian food, cooked by the first settlers to call this land home. Pancakes were a food my parents never ate before they came to Canada, but a food which they adopted and which quickly became a family favourite.

* * * * *

oat flour fluffy pancakes

oat flour fluffy pancakes

Kitchen Frau Notes:  I made these pancakes with oat flour, and they didn’t get as puffy as Mom’s do, although they were deliciously nutty and tender, all the same. Made with gluten-free oat flour, they are gluten free.

If you use regular all purpose white flour, they will rise higher, since the gluten gives more structure to the batter. Make sure to stir the all purpose flour to fluff it before measuring, then scoop it up lightly and scrape across the top of the cup with the flat side of a knife to level off the top. Flour can vary a lot in weight depending how packed it is when you measure it – that’s why weighing it is always a more accurate way to measure it.

pancakes

all-purpose flour fluffy pancakes

Mom’s Fluffy Pancakes

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • ¼ cup (60ml) melted butter or oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups (240gms) oat flour or 1 and 2/3 cups (240gms) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • butter, oil, or coconut oil for sauteing the pancakes
  • butter, maple syrup, fried eggs and bacon for serving (optional)

Separate the eggs, placing the whites into the bowl of a mixer.

separating the eggs for the pancakes

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks. Add the milk and the melted butter or oil, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add the flour and baking powder to the yolk mixture, and whisk just until smooth. With the electric mixer (or by hand and with a lot of elbow grease) beat the egg whites until they are stiff.

whipping the eggwhites for the pancake batter

Preheat a heavy skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add a small knob of butter, oil or coconut oil and allow to heat until the oil starts to ripple a bit. Butter or coconut oil add the best flavour.

Scrape the pancake batter into the beaten egg whites, and fold gently with a rubber spatula until it is about three-quarters mixed, but still has streaks and large, marble-sized blobs of beaten egg whites that are not fully incorporated. If you mix it too much, you lose the fluffiness the egg whites give to the batter.

mix the pancake batter very gently

Immediately pour large spoonfuls into the hot skillet and cook the pancakes until the undersides are nicely browned. If using regular all purpose flour, the batter will be thicker and you’ll need to spread it around a bit. Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until brown, too.

frying the pancakes

Do not let the batter sit long before starting to cook the pancakes, as it loses it’s fluffiness. Add a new knob of butter to the pan before each new batch of pancakes.

Makes about 12 (4½ inch/12cm) pancakes with all purpose flour, and about 14 thinner ones with oat flour. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

Guten Appetit!

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Rollpfannkuchen is Just Another Name for Crepes

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 oat flour pancakes are yummy

View past Canadian Food Experience Project entries here:

June, 2013: My First Authentic Canadian Food Memory: Buttery Sauteed Mushrooms with Spruce Tips and Chives

July, 2103: A Regional Canadian Food: Saskatoon Roll or Saskatoon Cobbler and How to Freeze Saskatoon Berries

August, 2013:  A Canadian Food Hero in Northern Alberta, and Pickled Beets and Creamed Vegetables

September, 2013: My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Evans Sour Cherries in Brandy

October, 2013: Preserving, Our Canadian Food Tradition - Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter

November, 2013: The Canadian Harvest: Quinoa Harvest and Recipes (Quinoa Onion Frittata & Honey Vanilla Quinoa Pudding)

December, 2013: A Canadian Christmas: Gumdrop Fruitcake

January, 2014: A Canadian Resolution: Wild Rice and Mushrooms

February, 2014: Kransekage, a Danish Wedding Cake and a Canadian Love Story

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