Mastering the Art
19 february mmxii
A splendid meal with personal chef, fashion designer, and friend, Mina Stone
February is usually blizzard bonanza month in the great Northeast. By some meteorological abracadabra (cough, climate change), we’ve escaped it. We spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with our dear friend Mina Stone. She prepared a spectacular winter meal of Mujadara, a traditional Lebanese dish of lentils, rice, and fried onions, accompanied by gorgeous roasted purple carrots with avocado and lime.
Most of our readers know of Mina Stone, the fashion designer, but she is and has always shined brightly as, Mina Stone, the personal chef as well. Her clients include many luminaries of the art world: Elizabeth Peyton, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Greene Naftali Gallery, and Urs Fischer. Fortunately for us, she happily takes her work home with her, resulting in delicious, seasonal meals for friends. Mina, the ever thoughtful cook, knows how hard I crush on her carrot salad, so she specifically created this meal for Team DOMAHOKA.
We were there on a double-whammy mission, as Mina’s new website is launching on Thursday, February 23. Maestro, Mark Ho-Kane, redesigned and built her website and was there to go over the ins and outs. The revamped space will showcase the two integral aspects of Mina’s work personas—designer extraordinaire and culinary heavyweight champion. Two exciting, new inclusions: A blog where Mina can muse on her latest adventures at the farmers market or in the garment district, and an e-commerce shop where you can score limited edition dresses. Celebrate with Mina by trying out her tantalizing recipes for Mujadara and roasted carrots! And it wouldn’t hurt to wear one of her heavenly, silk frocks while you’re in the kitchen. It just might lend you that magical Mina touch.
Mujadara (Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions)
This is my take on the traditional Lebanese dish, and therefore, a disclaimer for it being “authentic” in any way.
1 cup french lentils
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 sweet onions
1 bay leaf
About 2 tablespoons of butter, divided (Editor’s note: you can leave this part out, vegans!)
About 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and fresh pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the lentils and turn the heat to medium/low, simmering until tender (about 20–25 minutes).
Drain the lentils and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt.
Meanwhile, combine the rice with 2 cups of cold water, about 1 tablespoon of butter, and a pinch of salt. Bring rice to a boil, and then cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until all the water is absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork.
Cut the bottoms and the tops off of the onions. Slice them down the middle, remove the peel, and then slice them about 1/4 inch thick into half moons.
Heat up a skillet with a good a pour of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons), a tablespoon of butter, and the bay leaf. Add the onions to the skillet with a generous pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. Cook the onions over medium/high heat until they soften. Then, finish cooking the onions on medium/low heat. They should be very soft and have a golden caramel color with crispy parts. They should not be falling apart like caramelized onions do. (Caramelized onions cook for much longer, over very low heat.)
Toss lentils, rice, and fried onions together. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.
This dish is great with a spoonful of Greek yogurt.
Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Lime
6–8 organic carrots—if you can get them, buy a mix of purple and orange carrots
A generous sprinkling of cumin seeds
A generous sprinkling of fennel seeds
A sprinkle of chile flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
Salt and pepper
A handful of arugula or micro greens (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Scrub the carrots well, but do not peel. Slice the carrots on the diagonal, about 1/2 inch thick. Place carrots in a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil.
Toss the carrots well with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the carrots with the cumin, fennel seeds, chile flakes, salt and pepper.
Roast the carrots until they are crispy on the edges and nice and soft in the middle. About 30–35 minutes.
When the carrots are done roasting, place them on a serving platter and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Slice the avocado however you wish (I like large cubes for this dish). Squeeze 1/2 a lime over the avocado and sprinkle with salt. Scatter the avocado over the carrots.
If using, drizzle a little olive oil over greens and sprinkle with salt and lime juice, scattering them over the carrots and the avocado.
Do ahead: You can roast the carrots ahead of time (they will be good for about an hour) kept covered in a warm oven.
words Doris Ho-Kane
images Doris (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10) and Mark Ho-Kane (4, 6, 7)
recipes Mina Stone