Posts Tagged ‘environmental’

cooking them with lentils

collard greens

Temperatures are slightly up, but still kind of cold and gray. Especially today. It feels like London. misty, rainy. I can’t but help myself to a nice, heartwarming dish. Also, a great opportunity to use the pressure cooker.

So my dear friend Meenakshi, who is a talented cook, has at least three pressure cookers and she produces the most tasty food in no time. Along with the argument that it is much more friendlier to our environment, I was convinced to finally invest in a pressure cooker.

According to my faint memory, my family used to have one of those, many years ago (aka- grandma). I’ve heard horror stories about cooking that went beyond the pressure point, and a lid that went beyond the ceiling. Naturally, after purchasing that eco-friendly product, it was well kept and tucked away for a few months.

I guess it took me a while to mature into acceptance of the pressure cooker. I sat myself down and read ALL of the words in the little booklet that came with my shiny cooker. I also read ALL the warnings. long sigh.. It was time. That day I manged to make chicken pulao and a chickpeas with wheat berries dish for dinner. Ta Da. Mission accomplished.

So today, as I was examining the veggies at the store, this young collard green winked at me. I had to take a whole bunch. This is the result of Collard Greens + Orange Lentils + one pressure cooker:

indian collard greens and dal

I basically took the recipe from here, but adjusted it to my pressure cooker as follows.

you’ll need:

  • 1 cup orange lentil (“masoor dal” from the indian store)
  • 1 bunch of collard greens (about 7-8 large leaves)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • lemon


  • Small preparations: To make things easier for me, I chop the onion and garlic together in my mini food processor. (mu ha ha). The collard greens are quickly rinsed, roll-folded together to be cut into strips. The lentils are washed under cold water.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure cooker, and add the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes. Lower theĀ  heat and add the lentils. Toss around for 2 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients (but not the lemon). Close the lid tightly over the pressure cooker.
  • Increase heat and wait there to hear how the pressure builds up. Every pressure cooker is different, so read the manual. Once pressure has built, lower heat to somewhere between low and medium for 7 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat completely, and wait for the pressure cooker to cool down. I’m still learning this thing, so I waited 20 minutes.
  • Open the lid, carefully. Squeeze some fresh lemon on your tasty dish.

green and orange

fold- roll -cut

pressure cooker- a whole new world

My next pressure cooker project is

about to become tomato chutney

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I’m sure that I’m not the only one that hates it when a good cork is tossed away.

I love wine and I love corks! So I collect them.

corks corks corks

some quick cork facts:

  • cork oak tree grows in coastal regions of the Mediterranean.
  • cork trees survive harsh conditions.
  • average life expectancy of a cork tree would be 120 to 200 years.
  • natural cork is actually obtained from the bark of the tree.
  • In ancient times, cork bark was used to form sandal soles, food storage vessels, and floats for fishing nets.
  • Seventeenth century, one French monk, Dom Perignon, is credited with being the first to recognize the ability of cork to contain sparkling wines. The rest- is history.

Cork oak with bark of lower trunk removed (Ian Francis, Australia).

Corks uses nowadays:

cork collage

cork designs by Martin Margiela

cork floor

cork floor (from corkfloor.com)

And here are some things the kids made at our Trash 2 Art club, and anyone can make:

heat resistent cork trivet

heat-resistant cork trivet

Erel's trivet

Yahel's cork art- ancient dog?

cork trivet

Standing cork trivet

and there’s plenty more to do with corks. maybe we’ll wait for next winter. meanwhile- collecting more of them.

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glued in place cardboard

glued in place cardboard

I’m getting there. Still, lots to do.

Hmmm, what’s it gonna look like?

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recycle plastic bags and milk cartons into baskets

recycle plastic bags and milk cartons into baskets

So… what shall we start with?

Well, I am celebrating Shavuot, which is known to be one of the oldest holidays in Judaism. On this holiday, harvest of the first grains is being celebrated with songs and dances, remembering the old times when the people went up to Jerusalem, to the Temple, bringing with them gifts and offerings of the first fruits, veggies and flowers. Today, among other customs, we fill nice little baskets with goodies, and decorate both the baskets and the kids that carry them.

My little league dived happily into our little basket project while maintaining the opportunity of keeping green.

Wait, don’t throw:

  • those milk cartons, or plastic jugs, or those cubic tissue boxes;
  • grocery plastic bags that come in all those cool colors.

After the containers are empty, clean and well dry, cut their top, and then cut all four side panels into strips, going all the way down to the base, only make sure that eventually, you have an odd number of strips.

Cut your colorful plastic bags into many long, thin strips, about 1 inch wide.

Knot string to string in a way that eventually produces one long, multi-colored “thread” for your weaving.

Now you can start weaving from the bottom of the container and up.

weaving those plastic bags

weaving those plastic bags

Start by knotting the “thread” around one of the carton stripes at the bottom, and then around the carton, weaving the thread in a consistent manner, first under the carton strip, and then over the next strip, under the next one, and over the next one, producing a pattern of warp and woof.

You can tie a knot at the end just around one of the strips. For one of the baskets (shown above), the ends of the strips are folded outwards. For another basket, we embedded plastic beads to make it even more happier.

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