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Too Many Cooks

Archive for August 2014

Lovely lentils

The National Lentil Festival in Pullman is right around the corner.

To celebrate, the Spokesman-Review's Food section plans to feature several recipes spotlighting the protein-packed and fiber-full lens-shaped legume. Here are a couple in advance: Ultimate Veggie Burgers from Cook's Country and Arugula, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad from the new cookbook “A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share” by Diana Yen.

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

From Cook’s Illustrated

This recipe is a bit involved, but it comes highly recommended from a vegetarian friend who makes these patties by the double or triple batch-loads, then freezers them for future use. We're told they freeze well.

Lentils and bulgur give the texture a hardy quality. Cremini mushrooms and cashews add savory flavor. Canned lentils may be used but the result is slightly less flavorful.

¾ cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

2½ teaspoons table salt, divided

¾ cup bulgur

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)

1 rib celery (large), chopped fine (about ½ cup)

1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about ½ cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1 pound cremini mushrooms (or white), cleaned and sliced about ¼-inch thick (about 6½ cups)

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Ground black pepper

Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently pat lentils dry with additional paper towels; cool lentils to room temperature.

While lentils simmer, bring 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately; let stand off heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, leek, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Spread vegetable mixture on second baking sheet to cool; set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet; heat over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses (do not wash food processor blade or bowl); stir into bowl with bulgur along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture, and mayonnaise. Transfer half of mixture to now-empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 1-second pulses; mixture should be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in panko, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about ½ cup each, shaping each into tightly packed patty, 4 inches in diameter and ½-inch thick; set patties on baking sheet; paper towels will absorb excess moisture.

Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Cook on stovetop with remaining oil, about 4 minutes per side, or on grill, about 5 minutes per side, flipping only once.

Note: If freezing, for each patty to be frozen, add 1 teaspoon panko or ½ teaspoon plain bread crumbs before shaping. Thaw overnight in refrigerator on triple layer of paper towels, covered loosely.

Note: If freezing, for each patty to be frozen, add 1 teaspoon panko or ½ teaspoon plain bread crumbs before shaping. Thaw overnight in refrigerator on triple layer of paper towels, covered loosely.

Yield: 12 (4-inch) patties

Arugula, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad

From “A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share” by Diana Yen

This salad highlights the flavors of autumn with its delicate, peppery leaves, sweet butternut squash and earthy lentils.

For the salad

1 butternut squash (2 to 2½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey


1 cup French green lentils (also known as Puy lentils)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces arugula (about 8 cups loosely packed)

For the dressing

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons finely minced shallots

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and honey and season generously with salt. Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the squash and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the lentils in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Do not salt the cooking water to ensure the lentils will stay firm to the bite. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes, then return the lentils to the pan, add the cumin, and season with salt and pepper.

To make the dressing, smash the garlic to a paste on a cutting board using the side of a chef’s knife. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, shallots, garlic, mustard and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a slow drizzle as you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the dressing and top with the lentils and roasted squash. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Modena Asparagus

Sunday's Spokesman-Review Travel story  was all about eating your way through Italy. Executive Chef Timothy Grayson, who's based at Spokane's Whitworth University, described meals he enjoyed in various regions - from Milan and Cinque Terre in the north to the capital of Rome and Venice on the Adriatic Sea. There wasn't room for all of the recipes Grayson provided. Here's one more:


Modena Asparagus

From Zach Mowbry, cook at Whitworth University Dining Services

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound fresh asparagus

Grated Romano cheese (optional)

In a medium glass bowl, whisk together Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, sugar and half of olive oil. Set aside.

Add half of the olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat and sauté bell pepper with garlic. Add asparagus to skillet and sauté for 1 minute then add vinegar mixture and cook for about 4 additional minutes.

Remove, top with grated Romano cheese, and serve.

Serves: 4

Milanese Winter Squash Soup

This recipe comes from the latest cookbook from a friend of Timothy Grayson, who wrote Sunday's Travel story about regional Italian cuisine.

Milanese Winter Squash Soup

From “The Italian Vegetable Cookbook” by Michele Scicolone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014

1¼ pounds butternut or other winter squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)

2 cups water

2 cups milk


1 cup tubetti or ditalini pasta

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup grated Grana Padana or Parmigiano Reggiano

In a large saucepan, combine the squash and water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is very tender. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor in batches and puree until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan. Whisk in the milk and salt to taste and ring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often so that the pasta does not stick until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Add more water if the soup is too thick.

Stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

Serves: 4

Roman Marinated Grilled Mackerel and Roasted Tomato Sauce with Whipped Burrata Cheese

This dish was inspired by executive chef Timothy Grayson's recent visit to Italy, including Rome. See the full story about his travels in Sunday's Spokesman-Review.


Roman Marinated Grilled Mackerel and Roasted Tomato Sauce with Whipped Burrata Cheese

From Timothy Grayson, the district executive chef for Sodexo Dining Services at Whitworth University

Fish Preparation

1 cup sherry wine

½ cup sherry wine vinegar

2 onions, medium diced

1 carrot, diced

2 shallots, minced

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

4 springs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

3 black peppercorns

1 ½ pounds of mackerel filets, de-boned and cleaned (or salmon or trout)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cook the white wine, sherry vinegar, onions, carrot, shallots, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper in saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Pour over the fish filets with olive oil and allow to marinate for at least for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from marinade and grill on preheated hot grill until fully cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Sauce and Cheese Preparation

1 pound Roma tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 large shallots

2 large cloves garlic

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups rich chicken broth

½ cup sherry wine

2 large basil leaves

1 cup heavy whipping cream

6 ounces of Burrata cheese (or fresh mozzarella)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)

Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and seed them. Place halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 275-degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Finely mince shallots and garlic. In a 4-quart soup pot, melt butter, then add garlic and shallots and sauté until translucent. Stir in flour, and sauté for another 1 minute.

Add broth, roasted tomatoes and white wine to the pot, bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.

Let the sauce cool, then, in batches, purée sauce with basil in a blender until smooth.

Roughly strain sauce into a clean pot, leaving some bits of tomato. Whip burrata and form into a quenelle, or oval, shape.

To assemble: Cross two fish filets in bottom of soup bowl and spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with quenelle of cheese off center, and serve. Ring with extra-virgin olive oil for garnish.

Serves: 6

Toscano Fresco Fruit Hazelnut Cream Salad

This creamy summertime dessert, inspired by executive chef Timothy Grayson's recent trip to Tuscany, spotlights mixed berries and toasted hazelnuts.

Toscano Fresco Fruit Hazelnut Cream Salad

From Timothy Grayson, the district executive chef for Sodexo Dining Services at Whitworth University

¾ cup mascarpone cheese

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

12 ounces strawberries, chilled

6 ounces of marion berries or blackberries, chilled

1 ounce maraschino cherries without stems

3 ounces hazelnut liquor

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons sliced toasted hazelnuts

Fresh mint leaves (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, whip cheese, cream and powdered sugar until smooth and well blended. Set aside.

Place fruit in a chilled bowl with cherries, lemon juice, granulated sugar and liquor. Slowly add cream mixture, gently mixing with a rubber spatula.

To serve, top with toasted hazelnuts and garnish with fresh mint.

Serves: 6

Northern Italian Lasagna

Timothy Grayson, an executive chef at Whitworth University, spent several weeks this summer eating his way through Italy. Here's a recipe for lasagna inspired by his travels through the country's northern regions.

Northern Italian Lasagna

From Timothy Grayson, the district executive chef for Sodexo Dining Services at Whitworth University

For the filling

1 tablespoon butter

1 large carrot, medium diced

1 medium onion, medium diced

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

½ pound ground beef

½ pound ground pork

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

1 teaspooon ground dried thyme

1 cup red wine

1 teaspoon white sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

16 ounces of diced canned tomatoes

6 ounces of lasagna noodles


For the white sauce

¼ cup butter

¼ cup of flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1½ cup of half and half

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


For the topping

3 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

4 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese


For the filling: In a Dutch oven or covered skillet over medium heat, add butter and sauté carrots, onion and garlic. Then add beef and pork, and brown. When cooked, carefully drain fat. Then add basil and thyme, red wine, sugar, salt, parsley, pepper and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for about 1 hour. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling salted water, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.


For the white sauce: melt butter in a large saucepan; stir in the flour, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning until blended. Gradually add half and half. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.


Assemble: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour half of the meat sauce into an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Layer with half of the lasagna noodles and top with remaining meat sauce. Layer sliced mozzarella cheese, then top with remaining noodles. Pour white sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Serves: 6 to 8

Easy Oven-Baked Boneless Veal or Chicken Milanese

Timothy Grayson, an executive chef at Whitworth University in Spokane, traveled to Italy earlier this summer to sample regional cuisine. Here's a recipe inspired by his recent journey, which included a stop in Milan.


Easy Oven-Baked Boneless Veal or Chicken Milanese

From Timothy Grayson Timothy of Sodexo Dining Services

For the cutlets

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

4 veal cutlets (or chicken breasts)

3 eggs beaten

2 cups of whole milk

Oil, for baking sheet

For the sauce

1 tablespoon butter

4 slices of fresh lemon

1 tablespoon capers

½ cup white wine

Make the cutlets: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and cheese. Transfer mixture to a flat work surface. In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg and milk. Dredge each cutlet in egg wash, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Place on oiled baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes

Make the sauce: sauce melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat then add lemons, capers and wine. Reduce heat to low for about 3 minutes, then pour over cutlets just before serving. Use cooked lemon slices as garnish.

Serves: 4

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We never really believed that old cliché anyway. We're collaborating to share our cooking inspirations, favorite recipes, restaurant finds and other musings from the local food world and beyond.

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Adriana Janovich writes for and edits the Wednesday food section.

Carolyn Lamberson Features Editor for The Spokesman-Review. She's a foodie who has no time to cook. Still, a girl can dream ...

Ruth Reynolds is a copy editor at the SR. "I would bake and cook more than I do if I didn't have to keep cleaning off my kitchen counters. My favorite kitchen appliance is my rice cooker. No. My immersion blender."

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