Monday, December 31, 2012

French Indigo Lentil Soup

(recipe adapted from Cooking From an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass)

2 quarts mushroom or vegetable broth, or water
3 cups chopped onions (2 very large onions)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
2 cups chopped celery (3 large ribs, halved lengthwise and sliced)
2 cups chopped carrots (about 2 large carrots)
8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 cups French indigo lentils, rinsed (also known as Du Puy lentils)
3 small bay leaves
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup shredded greens (baby spinach or Swiss chard)
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Add 2 Tbsp. of the broth to a heavy saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding small amounts of broth to prevent burning the bottom of the pan.  Add the thyme, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, remaining broth, lentils, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, shredded greens, parsley, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings, ladle into bowls, and serve.

(Packed with veggies, hearty and makes a ton!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup

(this is from a food blog, but I can't remember which one - maybe 101 cookbooks?)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 medium sweet onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. salt
3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 quart (4 cups) broth
10 fresh basil leaves (plus more for garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-lidded pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.  Allow the soup to cool slightly.  Then puree in batches in a blender until very smooth.  If you like a thinner consistency, add a little bit more stock or water.

Garnish with more fresh basil.

(This may be the best tomato soup I've ever tasted.  And so easy to make!  It simmered merrily for two hours while I decorated my Christmas tree.  Although it's a pureed soup, my dinner guest Mike thought it was very hearty.  We ate it with some grilled cheese sandwiches, yum.  It makes a ton, too!  Enough for a dinner guest, then a week's worth of lunches.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Roasted Fennel and Mushroom Salad with Radishes

(recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine)

2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 1/2 pounds), bulbs quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, 1/3 cup fronds reserved and chopped
1 1/4 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and cut into quarters if large or halved if medium
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 to 6 radishes, halved and sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500F.  Toss fennel and mushrooms with 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and sugar in large bowl.  Remove baking sheet from oven and, working quickly, carefully transfer fennel and mushrooms to sheet and spread in even layer.  (Do not wash bowl.)  Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned on one side, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir during roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk remaining tablespoon oil, lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in now-empty bowl.

Toss hot vegetables with vinaigrette and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Stir in radishes and reserved fennel fronds, transfer to serving platter, and serve.

Serves 4.

(I found this to keep ok in the fridge for a few days.  Really interesting mix of flavors and textures.  The fennel was a nice, soft, creamy consistency after roasting.  Love the mustard dressing, really made it pop!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spiced Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk

(recipe from Sprouted Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric OR curry powder
2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used olive oil)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layer removed, lower portion finely minced
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg (I used dried)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3 Tbsp. lemon, lime, or orange juice
a few handfuls of swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 cup flake coconut, toasted (optional)
chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Add the rinsed lentils, broth, thyme, and tumeric or curry powder to a large pot.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes.

While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a pan.  Add the onion and saute until just browned.  Add the lemongrass, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some fresh ground nutmeg and saute another minute.  Add the onion mixture to the lentils and stir, keeping the heat on a low simmer.

Add the coconut milk and greens and simmer another five minutes, stirring occasionally until just wilted.  Taste for salt and spice and add as you prefer.  Finish with the citrus juice and serve warm with toasted coconut flakes and cilantro on top.

4 cups broth yield a stewier soup.  If you prefer more broth to your soup, add another cup or two when cooking the lentils.

(Amazing!  I liked the stewier consistency.  I added the toasted coconut flakes and cilantro right in at the end.  This was wonderful for work lunches, so hearty.  The citrus juice really makes the whole thing pop.  Really unique dish.)