……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Red Lentil Soup May 30, 2012

Filed under: Lunch,Soup,Vegan,Vegetarian — krandle @ 5:27 pm
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Sometimes, you wind up with an ingredient that you have to invent uses for. It doesn’t fit into the things you normally make, you have no idea how to use it, and none of your stockpiled recipe ideas mention it anywhere. So you start making things up.

A while ago, my mother gave me a bag of red lentils. Not just any old bag. An enormous, unending bag of red lentils, so authentically designed for frequent lentil cooks that Lakshmi is on the outside of the bag. It was an incredibly thoughtful present, and I do love cooking beans/lentils/etc., so I was excited about it. I have to say that I ended up using most of the bag to make a weird rice/lentil mixture. Every time I needed a grain for a stir fry or something, I’d do 3/4 cup rice and 1/4 cup lentils. It added some texture and fiber…and that was pretty much the only idea I had. All my other lentil recipes called for firmer green or brown lentils.

That is, until I decided to make some red lentil soup. I have to say I wish I’d never concocted the rice/lentil mixture; this soup is so much better than that.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro
from Martha Stewart Living

Lentil soup is delicious – but it always looks weird, so you get a small photo. The coconut milk drizzle adds extra creaminess to the soup.

2 tsp. safflower oil (or just vegetable oil if you’re a plain person)
3 Tbs. finely chopped peeled ginger (from a 2-in piece)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (4 Tbs.)
2 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 tsp. curry powder
Coarse salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
3 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 Tbs. cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook ginger, garlic, shallots and carrots, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in 1 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving the solids. Puree the strained liquid and the remaining soup in a food processor until smooth. Reheat after blending and stir in reserved solids.

At this point, if you’re going to freeze your soup, this is the time to do it. If not, stir in some of the cherries and cilantro stems, then ladle soup into bowls. Swirl the remaining coconut milk and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.

Per serving: 348 calories, 8 g saturated fat, 48 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 12 g dietary fiber


Pink Hummus: Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.

Yup. It’s pink hummus. And it’s delicious. Bam.

Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip from B.A.

1 large (8-ounce) beet, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup garbanzo beans (from 15 1/2 oz can), drained and rinsed
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil beet until tender, about 12 minutes. Puree in food processor. Add garbanzos, olive oil, almonds, and garlic, and puree until smooth. Blend in red wine vinegar, then add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with pita and crudités.


Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa November 19, 2011

Yeah, we haven’t posted for a while. We’re busy and hungry and tired and not cooking very many worthwhile new things. M is only eating produce, and I am only eating strange concoctions that I can make in the crockpot and/or freeze and then reheat.

BUT, I made some incredibly delicious salsa to eat on chips, on top of salad, on top of quesadillas, and, well, just on a spoon. You should make some right now. It may be one of the best things you’ve ever done with a sweet potato that didn’t also clog your arteries.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa 

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 red onion, diced small
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tomato, diced small
1 avocado, diced small
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 clove roasted garlic, chopped – or 1 Tbs. diced garlic from a jar – or some granulated garlic
1/4 cup lime juice (fresh from 2 limes, or just 1/4 cup)

Roast the sweet potato and the onion for a total of 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let cool completely. Separately, combine all the other ingredients and blend with the sweet potatoes and onions. Season with salt, garlic, and cumin to taste.

Eat immediately. It lasts ok in the fridge if it’s well-covered, but not for more than two days. (But don’t worry. It just won’t last that long.)


Pumpkin Black Bean Soup October 28, 2011

This recipe, in addition to being tasty, is incredibly easy to make when you’re away from your kitchen (or feeling very lazy). I made it while away for a weekend when I didn’t have refrigeration beforehand, and didn’t have access to all my normal kitchen things (and yes, I brought all these ingredients and a pan of cornbread with me when I was on vacation).

The original recipe suggests serving with warm tortillas, but I found cornbread to be a great accompaniment.

Note: while I normally advocate adding more of whatever spices you like, this recipe is uniquely balanced as it is. Don’t add more cilantro, even if you love it.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup 

This is supposed to be two servings, but we found that it’s more like four servings.

1 tsp cumin
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can black beans
1 can light, unsweetened coconut milk (in case you’re having a hard time finding this, check the Asian foods section of the grocery store)
1 cup vegetable broth
4 Tbs fresh cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
3/4 tsp. lime zest

In a large saucepan, combine cumin, pumpkin, black beans, coconut milk, broth and 3 Tbs cilantro. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Turn off heat, add lime juice, lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro.


Savory Summer Squash Bread for the Bread Maker August 30, 2011

Here goes my next recipe for using summer squash (I like this one too, as it combines my abundance of squash with my fascination with my new-ish breadmaker.)

Makes quite a delicious base for a grilled cheese

Savory Squash Bread – for a 1.5 lb. loaf that cooks to the size of a 2 lb. loaf

3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs honey
1.5 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup zucchini or squash, shredded
1 cup flour
2.5 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp dried basil or rosemary
1 Tbs sesame seed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry yeast

Throw it all in the bread machine and bake it.


Curried Summer Squash Soup August 26, 2011

More squash – and with squash, you don’t need to add milk or anything heavy to make the curry flavors stand out. Just pop the squash in the food processor to make everything creamy and delicious. Plus, it freezes nicely, just like all the other squash soups I’ve made this summer.

Curried Summer Squash Soup 

4 summer squashes, cut into 1/2-in cubes
4 red potatoes, cubed
1-2 garlic cloves
1 onion
Chili powder
Dry mustard
4 cups stock
Green beans
Olive oil
Cayenne powder

Start by browning the onion with the garlic in some olive oil. Add the squash and potatoes and continue to cook. Add in all the spices, stirring frequently so they become fragrant and don’t burn. After vegetables begin to soften and caramelize, add 3 cups of stock. [I also added some white beans at this point.] Cook with the lid closed until potatoes are soft.

Pull out 2/3 of the squash and vegetables and puree in a food processor or blender in batches, then add back into the soup. Add in the remaining 1 cup of stock and all the corn, green beans, and peas, cooking soup until it’s warm and newly added vegetables are just beginning to cook but are still crisp. At this point, also add in cayenne to taste.


Attack of the squash August 11, 2011

Filed under: Vegan — krandle @ 8:05 am

Went away and hoped the squash would die back some while untended. Didn’t guess I’d come home to these…