Two Thousand Thirteen

Usually, the famous San Francisco fog rolls in the early afternoon, covering the city in a veil. But 2013 is different, not grey. It is sunny, and spring is coming early this year.  It seems to me a sign, of bright days that have come.

I have stayed away from here in 2012. It was a strange, sort of sad year. There were a few minor health issues, the loss of my tiniest friend, and of one of the dearest women I have ever known. I am single now, for the first time in my adult life. It happens all the time, it’s just different when it happens to you.

And yet, I believe in karma, that there is a balance of good and bad in the universe, and that extends to an individual life. And there’s something about a new year. We begin to hope again. I am anchored here, in the joy of making and sharing, in failing and trying again and again – and- hopefully, in succeeding.

These recipes are two that I have turned to time and time again. They are comforting constants in my kitchen. The kale and lentil dish, in particular…it makes an appearance in my kitchen (and refrigerator) every week or two. Its healthy and balanced, full of varied textures and flavors. There’s the sweet of the slow-caramelized onions, hearty bits of lentils, fresh kale, with a bit of pasta to anchor it all together. Best of all, the leftovers are wonderful, with all of those flavors getting better acquainted with one another. The cake too, is sustaining and hearty, with nutty whole wheat flour, caramel dark sugar, and summer-berry jam. Both of them come with my highest recommendation.

Kale + Lentil with Orecchiette
Approximately 3 servings // Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1/2 cup lentils du puy (or small French green lentils), rinsed and picked over
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 tsp + 1 tbsp salt  + 1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup broth (1 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped (1 very large or two small onions should work)
2 bunches of kale (about 3/4 -1 pound), coarsely chopped *
8 oz (1/2 pound) orecchiette (try penne if you cannot find orecchiette)
1/4 cup water leftover from cooking pasta
1/4 tsp pepper to taste
red chili flakes, parmesan or toasted bread crumbs, for servings
In a medium saucepan, combine lentils, minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 cup broth. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender. Retain lentil and any leftover cooking liquid.
In the meantime, heat saute pan on high for 1-2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, then add onions. Cook for one minute, while stirring. Turn down heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions are meltingly sweet and caramel-brown.
Bring a large, lidded pot of water to a boil. Add tablespoon of salt, then chopped kale, and cover. While kale steams, prepare ice bath: bowl of water with an ice cube or two. Steam for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.Immediately remove kale from hot water and plunge cold water. Keep the kale water simmering on stove. When cool enough to handle, squeeze excess water from kale and set aside.
Add pasta to simmering green water leftover from cooking kale. Cook according to instructions on package. Reserve 1/4 cup of starchy green-tinted water.
In the large pot, combine lentil + leftover liquid, caramelized onion, cooked kale, pasta, 1/4 cup starchy pasta-kale water and 1/4 cup broth. Add 1/2 tsp salt and/or pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes on medium-low to combine ingredients into a homogenous whole. Most of the liquid should be absorbed.
Serve with red chili flakes, and/or parmesan, and/or toasted bread crumbs.
* I have used Lacinato/Tuscan, Purple Russian, and curly green kale, all work well.

I found this loaf cake to be quite sweet. So, rather than using icing, I just used a small amount of honey syrup. And threw in some nutty whole wheat flour. Also, it keeps remarkably well.

Honeyed Rombauer Jam Cake
Adapted from Joy of Cooking, via 101 Cookbooks
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch or rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
7 tbsp softened butter (1 stick minus tablespoon)
7/8 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg white
2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp dark molasses
1 heaping cup blackberry jam
For syrup: 3 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp boiling hot water.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour (grease) a 7.5/8 x 3.5/4 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flours and cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda.
In another bowl, combine ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, softened butter, and sugar. Beat until fluffy. Inhale deeply. Adding the spices to the fat deeps their scent and flavor. Add eggs, white, yogurt, and molasses.
Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
As gently as possible, fold jam into the batter. Do not beat until homogenous – you’ll want thin ribbons and spots of jam in the finished cake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and level the batter before placing in the hot oven.
Bake, testing for doneness with a cake tester/toothpick at 30 minutes.
While the cake is baking, make the honey syrup by combining boiling hot water and honey, and stirring vigorously.
After removing the cake from the oven, use a pastry brush to brush half of the honey syrup over the cake. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan, and brush the remainder of the syrup onto the other side of the cake.
Tea pairing: a brisk and floral Darjeeling, such as Margaret’s Hope. An orchid- or peach-scented Phoenix Oolong would be nice as well.

100 comments:
  1. Priya,

    Both the Orecchiette dish and the Honeyed Rombauer Jam Cake look so tempting :) I think I will make the pasta for myself someday – I have a lentil hater in the house!

  2. Yasmeen,

    It’s wonderful to see you posting again Joyti! I’m sorry that 2012 panned out the way it did, but I can offer a bit of hope. 2008 was my version of your 2012. Then 2009 rolled in, and coupled with some risks and luck, everything changed and I now live a life I never could have predicted. I wish the same whirlwind changes will come your way. In the meantime, be courageous and share with us! You have nothing to lose.

  3. So nice to see you back!

  4. Your pasta dish looks wonderful. I am always in for a vegetarian type of pasta.

  5. This is a deep and moving post! Things will continue getting better and better and I’m sorry to hear you had a rough year. I understand the hesitation to share over the internet…the world can be a cruel place…but I have to tell you, what you have to share is beautiful and I’ll willingly embrace it, just like so many others!

  6. notyet100,

    Cake looks so delicious,:) wish ya great year ahead

  7. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a sad and tough time. This, too, shall pass. A new year does spring hope and new beginnings ~ and it’s beautiful to see you again. Take care and I will look forward to hearing about your new experiences in and outside of the kitchen as this next chapter unfolds for you.

  8. Jess,

    Beautiful post. I too believe in karma and balance in all things, so it sounds like there is something truly amazing in store for you. So glad to have found you out here in virtual world.

  9. oh, I would love love love to know the html code for your default template, to be able to customize it after my background.
    i adore its clarity!

  10. Hello Dear Joyti,
    I have missed you so! I’m sorry last year was so trying for you (it was the same for us). Thank you for the warming recipes to get us through the rest of our very frigid winter!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2013,
    Betty

  11. bellini,

    I am glad that you have rediscovered your little space. Life is full of pitfalls and we just need to carry a shovel. But it is also full of beauty, wonderful food and friendship. It looks like 2013 will be just that.

  12. Beautiful post and blog. I am loving the kale. And the blackberry jam cake looks divine. I could go for a slice right now!

  13. good to see your’re back on the interwebs! Hope law school is going well and hope yeah, I could eat that pasta every night!

  14. Hi Joyti, welcome back–it was so nice to find this post, filled with both sadness and hope.we’ve missed your voice, images and recipes. Nancy

  15. Welcome back! Looks delicious. I’d love a big dish of pasta and kale and to finish with that fabulous cake.

  16. Sissi,

    Both the cake and orecchiette look fabulous. I love the idea to us jam like this. All the cake recipes from the Joy of Cooking and other older US cookery books contained so much sugar, I immediately cut down 30% of the sugar and sometimes even then it was not enough and only when I used 50% of the sugar the cakes were edible, so I’m not surprised you have skipped the icing.
    Good luck with all your new year’s resolutions! I’m sure this year will be 100x better!

  17. Both of these recipes sound and look amazing. A great (and delicious) way to enter the new year, for sure. :)

  18. Both pasta and cake look delish ! Though I haven’t tried kale yet :P :D

    Hope 2013 will be a great year for you !

  19. Hema,

    Both the dishes look delicious, nice clicks, wish u a bright and happy 2013..

  20. Manzanita,

    What a heavenly looking meal. I am going to be most eager to try making it. Thank you for your visit and your generous comment.
    Manzanita
    Wanna Buy a Duck

  21. Ms. Becky,

    you’ve been missed. every now and then I’d see your blog title in Reader, click on it just to be sure that for some reason Reader wasn’t picking up a new post. glad you’re back, and it seems you’re on the other side of whatever challenges life threw your way last year. Both recipes look delicious – especially the Kale/Lentils. Happy week to you, and wishing you all the best in 2013.

  22. teresa,

    beautiful post. i hope all the best for 2013! these wonderful recipes are just the ticket to a great start!

  23. divya,

    Simply droolworthy and yummy . Wonderful recipe.

  24. I wish you a happy and a
    strong 2013 c: This dish
    looks yum! Thanks for
    sharing with us!

    xx

  25. A lovely meal this. Kale is a super vegetable, glad to se it employed.
    The cake is a classic. I love the flavour of blackstrap molasses. That recipe goes back many years.
    Thank You for this.

  26. Your optimism and courage after such a loss are an inspiration. I liked how you’ve got various grains in your kitchen, perhaps an analogy for each grain being a stage of one’s life.

    We had kale the other night, but your recipe is THE best I’ve ever seen. Thank you! Thank you!

    And thank you for dropping by and that fab comment about ‘hella.’ I looove stuff like this and am calling a niece who lived in SF so I can use the word. What fun!

  27. I’m so happy to see you posting, and getting the chance to catch up on your year–and of course, trying your newest recipes. I’m looking forward to anything being possible in 2013, too–to a wonderful year full of opportunities!

  28. Joyiti: can I tell you how joyful I am that you came over to visit my blog…because it gave me a chance to discover your elegant, well written and beautiful blog??? It made my day. I am so glad we meet. I am going to subscribe to your blog, so I can follow your next creations. Much love, Amelia

  29. It’s wonderful to read you. I love the honeyed rombauer jam cake. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

  30. I hope you have a wonderful new beginning to 2013!

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog so that I can discover yours.

  31. Joyti, it is so nice to see a post from you! I hope 2013 is all you are hoping and working toward! This kale dish does look so comforting … a nice bowl of warm goodness!

  32. How absolutely lovely :). Tuscan kale is my all time favorite. Have a beautiful 2013 Joyti, with many many wonderful blessings.

  33. Priya,

    Both dishes looks absolutely stunning and healthy..Glad to see back after a long.

  34. It’s lovely to see you back here again :) You’ve been missed! I agree, in San Francisco (today, at least) the sun is shining, the cherry blossoms are almost here, even the birds sound cheerier. Spring is in the air ♥ And that makes me happy. Spring is always such a lovely fresh start; a clean slate (even more so than January to me). I’m excited.

  35. I have been looking for cooking ideas for kale and yours is great! The beginning of the year is filled with plans and I wish you good luck and succeed well in all your plans.

  36. kankana,

    I am probably one of those few weirdo who is still not in love with kale. The dish sounds fantastic and a must try. May be it will help me to finally enjoy this greens just like you all do.

  37. Glad your back, I have really been wanting to like Kale. I have a mental block against it right now, your dish does sound wonderful.

  38. Shri,

    Loved the first two…may this be an auspicious starts to all your dreams and efforts. :-)

  39. Nice to see you blogging again. I love the look of the kale and lentil dish. Sorry to hear you’ve been having such a rough time, hope this year brings you lots of good things. x

  40. Hey girlie…Happy New Year…hope you are doing great. I have been MIA for a long time & certainly so happy see your post.
    Vegas has been a lot rainy this year..still far from humid but I am not complaining..love it. I think climate shift is happening everywhere. I love the first picture of kale. I m still to acquire a full taste for it, I try to hide it with spices or herbs …love how you combined it with pasta!
    Have a fun weekend my friend.

  41. Both dishes look wonderful.
    Good to see you back. Wishing you all the best in this new year

  42. Good to have u back!!! Yes, will definitely be looking fwd to more frequent yummy dishes & fab pics from u :) Both these dishes look inviting..All the very best for 2013
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  43. Both are delish, but I love particularly the pasta with kale and lentils. A wholesome treat!

  44. Bergamot,

    The pasta looks great and it is good to have to you back

  45. Sorry to hear you had a challenging 2012. I love the look of the pasta – what great flavours it must have and it would be so good for you too xx

  46. looks delicious all the best for 2013

  47. Denise,

    Yum, that looks like the perfect delicious and healthy week night dinner! I will have to give it a try ;)

  48. Welcome back Joyti…missed your lovely recipes! Have a happy 2013.

  49. Thanks for stopping by and I love both the dish.

  50. Lizzy Do,

    I love your goals for the year and your theory on karma… Both the pasta and jam cake look wonderful :)

  51. Gloria,

    oh dear Im sooooo happy you come back really was a joy when I see you again, always is lovekly stopping by in your blog, I missed yoou so much:)

  52. Gloria,

    and these look georgeous! always love your pictures!!

  53. I know what you mean… 2012 was a tough one for me and so far 2013 has been taking me into the right path. Hope many things balance out in your life from now on and that happiness comes your way… Looking forward to all your beautiful recipes!

  54. ‘DarjeelingDreams’ like the title , post too admires…your blog, title, very nice and standing different amount the crowds…I’m your new happy follower…

  55. So good to have you back. You’ve been missed.
    I like the looks of this pasta dish. Love kale, orrechiette, and lentils…can’t go wrong.

  56. So good to have you back. You’ve been missed.
    I like the looks of this pasta dish. Love kale, orrechiette, and lentils…can’t go wrong.

  57. Patzie,

    Definitely looking forward to be part of your 2013, Joyti! It’s good to come back and see your post!

  58. Thank you Joyti for visiting me & for your sweet comment. I’m sorry to hear you had such a rough year. Hope 2013 will be better for you! Both recipes look great, delicious!

  59. Hannah,

    There is such a delicate sense of peace, quiet and calm the exudes through your photos. They’re just so lovely, so carefully arranged. Thank you for sharing these morsels of beauty with us. :)

  60. Yum! I’m cooking dak pau today with sesame oil and garlic; similar to your kale that looks like our local fresh water spinach.

    Nice to meet you! Au, Target and Guido from Katz Tales in Malaysia and Ellen aka “de survunt”

  61. Amy,

    I love the combination of ingredients and textures in your dish. Love that deep dark green of the kale. :)

  62. I love the dish with the kale. Sounds healthy and delicious. Both recipes have really great color to them.

  63. Sarah,

    Sorry to hear about how 2012 turned out…. but i love the optimism in this post in the face of such a difficult year… Hang on to the bright sunny visions of 2013 and so it will be! Both dishes look scrumptious… Pasta with lentils is a new combination for me… looks interesting…

  64. Krystal,

    beautiful writing, as always :) happy new year

  65. Joanne,

    What a beautiful post! I am all for new beginnings in a new year and this pasta sounds like a great way to kick off a new week! Lovely.

  66. Koko,

    These are lovely recipes, Joyti. Beautifully photographed, too. I believe in karma, too. 2013 is another year, and I believe that you can conquer anything! All the best to you this year, as you experience life in a new way. I hope you continue to share more often!

  67. Manju,

    Hi Jyothi,
    Loved spending time on your blog here. I’ve read quite a few of your posts now and I really enjoyed them..

    Thanks a lot for stopping by my space and sharing your thoughts. Hoping to see you again.

    Regards,
    Manju
    http://manjuseatingdelights.blogspot.com

  68. So wonderful to read fromyou aagain and this was a courage post to write. I am sure there were grey moments but I am glad you seem to be finding your silver linning. To a good 2013 and to more amazing recipes like these two.

  69. Debs,

    So good to see you back. I hope this year is filled with laughter and less of the drama. Can’t wait to try your Orecchiette recipe.
    xxx

  70. I love your blog and the photos have a wonderful perspective. I can’t wait to see more. Thanks for visiting mine :)

  71. Guru Uru,

    Your photos are simply gorgeous my friend and loving the delicious recipe :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  72. Naomi,

    The Kale and Orrichiete look amazing! I’m moving to Kerala in two weeks and I don’t know how available different types of pasta are… Maybe I’ll have to look into making my own!

    http://www.bereadybravely.com

  73. I love lentils and am always looking for new ways to use them. Your photos are so beautifully pure!

  74. your photos, the font, your stories, your recipes, your mood… it is all so beautiful, and I just want linger and live on this blog. Hope your year is off to a good start.

  75. Alex,

    I’m so very glad to see you back, I have truly missed your beautiful recipes and words.. it sounds like our 2012’s were quite similar, and your plans for the future have inspired me. So long as we can put together ingredients and make something delicious to share with others, we’ll be fine!! xx

  76. Geni,

    So glad you are back! What a nice way to come back with this beautiful and hearty pasta dish. That cake looks so earthy as well. YUM!

    Glad you are on a fresh new path and can see the light of the new year in view. Take care.

  77. Juliana,

    Welcome back Joyti…sorry to hear that 2012 was not a good year for you, and I know that 2013 will be better.
    As for the kale and lentil sounds delicious…and the cake would be a great way to end the meal.
    Again, happy that you are back!

  78. I am hopeful there will be peace for you in 2013. I know something about loss and finding a way through it myself these past 12 months. A welcome recipe such as these certainly cannot hurt :)

  79. Hi Joyti! I’m really sorry to hear you lost your dearest friends. Sounds like you had a quite tough year last year. I wish this year will be much brighter for you. :) Both dishes look so light and delicious. I love the dish that uses element of the ingredients, with few ingredients and good seasonings. Take good care, and I’m here in local if you need anything. :)

  80. M D,

    Life goes on. Time is a good healer and memories will become distant with time. 2012 may have been tough, but hope 2013 brings loads of good luck, brighter days and lots of friendships to relish life. The Kale Lentil with Orecchiette looks delicious!

  81. Hi Jyoti,
    I am sorry to hear your loss. Life moves on and the memories will keep us going. May this year bring you lot of goodness and happiness. Awesome recipe!

  82. I hope that this year brings you peace and joy, and that you find yourself again. Lovely recipes indeed!

  83. Patty,

    Hi Joyti, I am sorry for your loss but happy to see you back posting on your special blog..you’ve been missed this past year. I’m happy to see you sharing some of your favorite savory recipes- can always use a healthy bowl of veggies and pasta,yummy;-)

  84. sangeeta,

    Lovely post. Karma….balancing the universe.. something to ponder upon. Your blog is always that one peaceful space to be in. Keep up the good work Joyti

  85. I hope your 2013 is a happy, delightful year. These are two great dishes to get it off to a good start. I love greens with pasta, and with the lentils the orecchiette sounds fantastic!

  86. pepper bowl,

    ‘Karma’ I’m too accepting you, it is driving the entire world! 2013 would bring more of happiness to everyone!!

  87. Amelia,

    Hi Joyti, great posting. Thanks for sharing two great goodies, they look awesome.

    Happy valentine’s day to you. Take care!

  88. Welcome back, Joyti. What a year it has been! My goodness, such change. Well done for getting through. You seem to be in a good place. I am thrilled to see more in this beautiful space you have created. It’s just lovely, as are you.
    Heidi xo

  89. Good to have you back, to go through your so touching articles..I know exactly what you mean when life gives you a jolt and you are left helpless, clueless and all alone. You feel the bad times will last forever. And then you are given a chance of a new beginning and then life takes a new meaning, renewed hopes. Things you took for granted earlier seem so valuable now and you see a ray of light and you know happier times can be within your reach too.. 2012 has been a bad year for me too..It was like a whole year of my entire life gone to waste and I do not even want to recall some aspects of it. But 2013 seems to be embracing me dearly and I am happy for al that has happened, for it has taught me to be stronger..Phew, that was quite a big speech..!! Anyways, thrilled to have your space active again!

    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  90. Cakelaw,

    It sounds like you have had a very challenging year. I hope that this one is much brighter for you, and it is lovely to see you back blogging.

  91. Nessie,

    Just read this poignant post. So sorry to hear you have had such a tough time. Amazing that you can write so beautifully and lyrically about it. Sending you hugs and love and strength. We’ve missed you too and are so glad you’re back! x

  92. I’m glad to see you back here. Your words, photos are recipes are a gift to us all. Hope you are doing okay.

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