In Mexico you are as likely to find the comforting pasta dish fideo seco on the table as beans or rice, especially in central Mexico, where it is very popular. We cook fideos not as the Italians do, but like the Spanish, who brought them to Mexico, first frying them in oil until they are toasty and nutty-tasting, then simmering them in a tomato-based sauce or broth until the sauce thickens considerably and coats the noodles.
Out of the fifty or so lentils grown in India, toor dal, with its velvety consistency when pureed, is one of the best lentils to make soups with. Toor, in the pigeon pea family, is used as a base for the famous sambhar served with dosas in the south of India and for the simple aromatic Gujarati dal. This soup is a combination of the two, and no matter what time of the year, it serves as a wonderful vehicle for seasonal vegetables and greens. Enjoy this soup as a light lunch, a first course, or, more traditionally, with rice or roti.
I look to fresh pineapple, caramelizing it with maple syrup and spices then tiling it onto the bottom of the pan before baking the cake. Believe me, it’s worth the effort. When you haul the cake from the oven, the heady perfume of vanilla, almond, cinnamon, and star anise fills the room. When you flip the cake and lift the pan, the pineapple slices glisten like jewels and stun your friends waiting at the table.
Pumpkin adds texture and nutrition to this chili that is packed with flavor (and extra veggies)! My favorite way to eat it is with sliced avocado on top.
This is a true BIG crowd-pleasing dish—with loads of meats and a variety of vegetables, there is something for everyone in this pot!