Although I am grateful to my dad for unearthing a copy of the now antiquated (and somewhat irrelevant) Wonders of a Wonder Pot for its novelty and the mini-history lesson it provides, the cookbook itself is somewhat of a disappointment. Filled mainly with non-wonder pot recipes along with transliterations of Hebrew food words (for the new Israeli citizen), the few recipes Sybil Kaufman does provide for the actual pot are meat or cheese-laden with a heavy eastern European influence. In other words, not appetizing. The good news however is that by reading over the recipes — the desserts in particular — I was able to determine that nearly any cake or quick bread can be made in the pot without any major changes to the recipe. The first recipe I was eager to try out was my quick chocolate cake, an old standby around our house with a simple formula that is both parve and vegan.
Of course, having a dessert baking makes me feel that much more obligated to put a healthy dinner on the table, so I whipped up an easy lentil soup inspired by the ones we’ve been enjoying in the Yemenite Quarter. The soup, and in fact most Yemenite cuisine, is composed of surprisingly few ingredients. The addition of caramelized onions is Claudia Roden’s from her book Cooking of the Mediterranean, and the sorrel was my idea — a delicious addition if I do say so. Enjoy.
This soup can be made thicker or thinner depending on your broth-to-lentils ratio. Serves 4-6
6-8 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp ground cumin
large bunch of fresh sorrel, arugula or spinach, washed very well to remove grit
1 large onion, thinly sliced
large handful of parsley/cilantro, finely chopped
Bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add the red lentils (picked through and rinsed) and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils have broken down (sadly, they lose their bright, beautiful color, but are delicious nonetheless). Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and cumin to taste. Meanwhile, saute onions in a shallow pan until caramelized. Stir sorrel into the soup while it is still very hot — it will cook down quickly. Finely chop up parsley or cilantro (you can also do a mix) and serve soup over rice or as it is, topped with onions and herbs.
Wonder Pot Chocolate Cake (parve and vegan!)
First, make the batter for my favorite quick chocolate cake.
Spoon batter carefully into the greased and floured wonder pot (I dust with cocoa) and cook on an electric or gas burner over very low heat until done (~45 minutes).