Adventures in Food, Episode 2: Stuff in My Pantry

All right folks, its time for another installment of Adventures in Food. This episode takes place in my pantry and features all the random stuff I’ve bought.

All the random stuff I've boughtHere’s the rundown of my recent impulse and adventure buys:

Trio of sea salts- Himalayan pink, grey, and cyprus flake. I searched for a while for this assortment of sea salts, and finally found one at a reasonable price at our local big box store. My favorite so far is the cyprus flake sea salt, but mostly because I haven’t decided how to use the other two.

Quick Cooking Bulgar, aka Barley– as featured in a previous post.

Paprika– a Hungarian paprika, a generic cheapo paprika (not pictured) and a jar that my mom got me that I haven’t opened yet. Why so much paprika? One word: Chickenpaprikash (ok that’s two words).

Minnesota Wild Rice (you have to say it “minn-ee-soooh-tah”- its more authentic that way) and Farro– Surprisingly, I found these both at a local big box store. I’ve also purchased Quinoa, but I’ve since used that up and moved on to other grains. The wild rice does have an earthy flavor, and kinda smells boggy when cooking it (what I imagine a bog to smell like since I’ve never actually been to a bog). I’ve used the Farro in quite a few recipes, trying to get a feel for it: Risotto, roasted cauliflower soup and just plain.

The Sauce That Killed Kenny– This is a hot sauce that a friend gave us. It sat on my shelf for a while until I started trying spicy foods. Now we add a drop or two to stir fry and sauces to give them a little kick.

Currants– I’ve had these for a while; unlike most of the stuff listed I actually had a recipe in mind when I bought the box… I think the recipe used like 1/4 cup of currants. I like to add them to salads with or instead of dried cranberries.

Curry Powder– Curry is my newest addition to my spice collection. I always thought that curry was too spicy for me, but since I started trying spicier foods I worked up the courage to buy it. Now its one of my most frequently used spices (I’ve been cooking a lot of Indian food lately).

Specialty Mustards– I discovered the jam, jelly and mustard lady at my local farmer’s market- she ensnared me with her free samples and cute little jars. I bought a sun-dried tomato and garlic mustard, and later a cranberry mustard that I was planning to serve at Thanksgiving with the turkey but it got lost in the shuffle.Very tasty but at $7 for a small jar, they’re a sometimes impulse buy for me.

Garam Masala & Tumeric– (the tumeric is the goldenrod yellow spice in the recycled container). These were my first ‘outside my comfort zone’ Indian spice purchases.

What random impulse food purchases have you made?

Advertisements

Spicy Tuna Melt with Jalapeños and Sharp Cheddar

This is my go-to sandwich when I’m feeling too lazy to cook a full dinner but still want something satisfying. Melted cheddar, zippy jalapeños and tuna on crispy bread…. my mouth is watering just thinking about these sandwiches! This is a pretty versatile recipe- you can omit, substitute, increase or decrease your favorite ingredients based on your personal preferences (we never measure for this– just eyeball it- so all of the measurements below are approximations). This particular iteration is my bf’s latest creation.

Tasty Tuna Melt Goodness

Spicy Tuna Melt with Jalapeños and Sharp Cheddar

Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 sandwiches (or one humongous sandwich)

Ingredients

7 oz. can of tuna or chicken packed in water
2 heaping spoonfuls of light Miracle Whip (about 1/4 cup give or take)
1 heaping spoonful of coarse grain mustard (about 2 tablespoons)
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
dash of hot sauce (bf used The Sauce That Killed Kenny)

1-2 ribs celery, finely diced (optional)
6-12 jalapeños (sliced, pickled)
2-3 generous slices of sharp white cheddar per sandwich
2 or 4 slices of your favorite bread (I use a whole grain bread)

Special Tools: Panini press/grill (optional)

What To Do

If you’re using a panini press that requires preheating, start that now so it’s nice and hot when you’ve assembled the sandwiches. If you don’t have a panini press, you can use a non-stick pan or pan sprayed with non-stick spray on medium-low heat.

Open the can of tuna and drain off the excess water. I usually rinse the can before opening, and use the lid to drain off the liquid after opening by pressing the lid against the meat.

In a medium size bowl, separate the tuna chunks with a fork. Basically just smush the tuna until it looks like the picture below.

Separated Tuna Chunks

Next, add in the globs of Miracle Whip (or mayo). Don’t add too much at this stage- you can always add in more Miracle Whip or mustard if you feel that the tuna is too dry.

Tuna & Miracle Whip

And the coarse grain mustard. You can spend a lot of money on fancy mustard, but we’ve found that a certain discount store’s house branded coarse grain mustard tastes just as good as some of the expensive mustards I’ve purchased.I also really like Trader Joe’s whole grain mustard.

Coarse Grain Mustard

Sprinkle on the spices, dried onions, parsley and pepper. Add a dash of hot sauce if you dare!

Spices on Tuna

Carefully incorporate the Miracle Whip, mustard and spices into the tuna using a fork or spatula. The mixture should be just moist enough to hold everything together.

Mix it all together

If you’re using the celery, add it in now. Stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture. We didn’t use celery this time, but it does add a nice crisp crunch to this sandwich. And the fiber content in the celery will help you keep feeling full after this meal.

If you’re making two sandwiches, divide the mixture evenly and spread onto the bread. You can also save half of the tuna mix for later (another tasty sandwich or add to a salad for a healthy lunch) or make one huge glorious sandwich if you’re feeling ravenous.

Arrange the sliced pickled jalapeños evenly on each sandwich.

Sliced Jalapeños on Tuna

Slice the sharp white cheddar using a cheese cutter (for soft cheeses) or a knife.

Who cut it?

And distribute evenly across the sandwiches.

Cheese on Tuna SandwichPlace the second slice of bread on top and place onto the panini press with the tuna mixture on top (the slice of bread you just added should be on the bottom). I’ve found that this tends to decrease the likelihood that the sandwich will get soggy.

Grill for about 2-3 minutes, then flip over and grill for an additional 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you are talented enough to be able to flip the sandwich without making a mess, try positioning it at a 45 degree angle from the first grill marks– this will give the bread pretty crosshatched grill marks. I can occasionally do that.

Pretty Tuna Sandwich Grill Marks

Cut the sandwich into halves diagonally (it’s a scientific fact that sandwiches cut diagonally taste better and help you with geometry tests).

Nom Tuna Sandwich

Eat hot. Enjoy!

Awesome Naughty Tomatoes Kurkure Ad

Apparently, a number of readers have found my site by searching for Kurkure. I feel a little bad that I only have one post relating to that taste exploration, so I’ve decided to share this video my bf found with you.

I’m not sure that I get all of the subtle cultural references, but enjoyable nonetheless! Be sure to check out some of the other Kurkure commercials- like this one featuring a flaming Kurkure consumer or this one where the prodigal son returns to eat Kurkure on a horse.

Happy Friday, everyone!

What I’m Reading: Moosewood Restaurant New Classics: 350 Recipes for Homestyle Favorites and Everyday Feasts

My trips to the library make me feel like a kid in a candy store (Or more like: the little girl watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for the first time, awestruck at the huge library with floor to ceiling books and ladders on wheels– that is my dream library!!). Once I get started in one of my favorite sections (cooking, social history or crime novels), I tend to walk out of there with anywhere from 5 (if I’ve behaved) to 10 books or more. Luckily, libraries are free, if I remember to return or renew on time, and we have an awesome library system where I live.

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics is the second Moosewood book I’ve checked out, and it’s every bit as good as the previous one. Moosewood is a natural foods restaurant catering to vegetarians and vegans, and they put out a new cook book every few years. If you don’t eat vegetarian food on a regular basis, their food will blow your mind. Healthy– yes, but also creative, tasty and satisfying. And, carnivores can add meat to most dishes if they like.

My criteria for purchasing a cookbook are as follows: 

1. Is it available in the library? If yes, check it out! (This is pretty much my first step, I tend to avoid purchasing cookbooks in stores on impulse without researching first… I don’t have enough shelf space to do this anymore).

2. Are there at least ten recipes that I want to make? If yes, I mark those with sticky notes for future reference.

3. Did I make 3-5 of the recipes that I wanted to make, time permitting? Did I like how the food turned out?

4. If I answer yes to #2 and #3, then I look for the book on Amazon.com and either add it to my cart or my wishlist for a future purchase or gift.

If there’s only one or two recipes that I like, I’ll write those down on a notepad and return the book to the library.

So- here’s what I want to make in this book (that I haven’t already made):

Asparagus with Red Pepper Sauce
Bulghur with Caramelized Onions
Roasted Pepper & Onion Wrap
Green Olive & Artichoke Tapenade
Israeli Couscous & French Green Lentils
Orecchiette with Butter Beans
Middle Eastern Lentils and Pasta
Apple Onion Cheese Gratin
Caramelized Onion Tart
Pine Nut Pasta Cavalfiore
Presto! Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Raspberry Glaze (I’m making this for my roommate after Lent!)

Here’s what I’ve made so far:

Roasted Caramelized Balsamic Onions (Yes, this is every bit as good as it sounds, and no I didn’t take any pictures– we ate them all! One of the few recipes that I used butter for)
Baked Ziti with Roasted Peppers (Yum yum yum)
Pumpkin Cornmeal Biscuits (pretty alright; a nice change of pace from the usual biscuit)
Pumpkin Muffins (threw some chocolate chips in these– very tasty!)
Curried Lentil Dip (great served with veggies or even as a sauce for other dishes-like Khitcheree).

5 recipes made is pretty good for me, especially when I have four other cookbooks I’m reading simultaneously… though this one is definitely one of my favs.

All in all, a great book, with helpful information about food- types of beans, seaweed, etc. and ordering information for some of the more exotic or hard to find items interspersed throughout the text. I will be very sad when I have to return this book… I may just have to make it a permanent member of my collection.

 

Note: the author of this blog has no affiliation with Moosewood or the publisher, and received no compensation for this post.

Lentil Dip with Curry, Apples & Coconut

This recipe was inspired by flipping through the Moosewood cookbook that I checked out from the library and it instantly caught my eye – Lentils? Yes, please! Curry? Yes! Garam Masala? Yes yes yes. Coconut milk? Hmmm… Haven’t tried that yet. I am intrigued. (That was my inner dialogue as I read through the book, aka talking to my self).

Apparently, this dip can be healthy if you use reduced-fat coconut milk or apple juice. I wanted to use coconut milk because I’ve never cooked with it but all I could find was the regular, full fat version. I used Thai Kitchen, as it was recommended and doesn’t have preservatives.

This is Curried Lentil Dip, Not a Moldy BroccoliCurried Lentil Dip

Adapted from the Moosewood Cooks recipe.

Time: 30 min
Servings: makes 4 cups of dip

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil or EVOO
1 cup diced onions
1 3/4 cups peeled, cored and diced apples
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup reduced-fat coconut milk (or apple juice, or yogurt)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

Special Tools: food processor or blender

What To Do

Heat the water and lentils in a medium sized pot until the water boils.

Red Lentils

Then, simmer the lentils for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are mushy and the water is absorbed. They will look like this:

Lentils Mushy Mush

Meanwhile, saute the chopped onions, apples and garlic in the oil in a pan on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

The apple never falls far from the tree....

Those are the chopped apples.

Measure out your curry and garam masala…

Curry & Garam Masala

Apple-Onion-Curry-Garam Masala

And stir them into the apple and onions and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. The apples and onions should be soft.

Be sure to coat the apples and onions evenly in the spices.

Lentils Apples Onions Coconut Milk in Food Processor

Puree the cooked lentils, apples and onions with the coconut milk (or apple juice or yogurt) and lemon juice.

Coconut Milk

P.S. Did you know that coconut milk is solid at room temperature?

P.P.S. I’m thinking of subbing low-fat yogurt instead of the coconut milk next time I make this… It will give that creamy texture but I use it more regularly in my cooking so it won’t sit in my fridge forever…

I now have 3/4 of a can of coconut milk to use up… I may just try to make my first real curry!

Raw Veggies

Taste to see if the dip needs any additional seasoning. You can eat this chilled or at room temperature– both are great! Serve with bread, crackers, chips or sliced raw veggies- I tried this with broccoli, carrots and broccoli stalks. Delicious! I also used this as a condiment with a mung bean & lentil dal dish (khitcheree– no, I can’t pronounce that) that I made (I promise to post about that soon!)- excellent!

Curried Lentil Dip

Happy munching!

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes because it is infused with cheesy goodness. If you’ve never tried your hand at making it, or if you’re afraid of Gordon Ramsey materializing in your kitchen insulting your cooking skills in a British accent, forget Señor Ramsey and get cookin’ because this is just too good to pass up!

(This video is definitely NSFW- language). But excellent for impromptu kitchen dance parties. That is all.

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto

Adapted from this recipe.

Time: 45-50 min (15 min prep; 30-35 min cook)
Servings: 6

Ingredients

6 1/2 cups (give or take) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio, or other starchy short grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/2 to 1 full medium zucchini, thinly sliced into pieces about 2-3 inches long (see picture below)
10 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips

1-2 cups of your favorite veggies; I used the following:
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup broccoli stems, diced
1 jalepeño, diced

2+ tsp dried thyme
2+ tsp dried basil
2+ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Special Tools: deep sauté pan or large, heavy stockpot, wooden spoon

What To Do

Heat the stock on medium high in a sauce pan– if it starts to boil, turn down the heat but keep the cover on to keep the stock hot.

Crush and dice the garlic, and chop up your onion.

Onions & Garlic- Yum!

Heat the EVOO in a sauté pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion, and stir with a wooden spoon (since you’re going to stir a lot, you want to use a stirring device that doesn’t conduct heat well).

Sauté the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until translucent.

Add the rice and stir to mix into the garlic and onions. I ran out of Arborio rice, so I substituted with some farro that I had on hand. Note: Farro takes a bit longer to cook than Arborio. I’ve found that when using farro in risotto, it will be a little more liquidy the first day I make it, but after sitting overnight or for several days it tends to soak up a bit more liquid to make a thicker, creamier risotto (Also, I ❤ leftovers!).

Deglazing the Pan

Let the rice cook for 3-5 minutes, until the kernels turn a toasted golden brown color.  Next, deglaze the pan with the wine or an equivalent amount of stock. Add a ladelfull of stock and mix the rice and veggies into the liquid.

While that is simmering……

Courgette is a fancy name

Chop up your veggies if you haven’t already done so. You’ll want to add the veggies to the rice mixture in order of how long they’ll take to fully cook, so carrots and broccoli stalks go first.

Why do I use broccoli stalks, you ask? Well, to be honest, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away! It seems like such a waste to buy broccoli for the crown and then throw away perfectly edible food! I’ve found that these stalks work great as vegetable “filler” in meals where I just don’t have enough other veggies on hand, or in meals where the flavors and ingredients are strong enough to season this relatively innocuous veggie. I’ve found that it kind of has a mellower broccoli flavor than the florets, but melds easily into other cooked dishes– sauces, casseroles, rice. (After some quick googling, it looks like other people eat the stalks, too! Raw and cooked– check it out). I like the term “Stalker”- haha! Looks like raw stalks are loaded with Vitamin A, too!

Veggies in the Pan

Add the veggies to the pan. Sprinkle around 1 tsp of each of your spices on top of the veggies, add a ladle of stock and stir.

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into strips and fold into the risotto. You can add them to the rice earlier or later depending on how infused you want the dish to be with their tomato flavor.

Bread & Butter ProTip: If you’re using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain the oil into the sauté pan instead of using plain EVOO. This will add another layer of flavor to your dish. Or, use the oil to flavor a roasted vegetable size dish.

Alternate adding a ladle of stock, a pinch of the spices and stirring until you have used up all of your stock. You’ll want to wait until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding the next ladle (if I’m pressed for time or feeling lazy, I’ll turn up the heat on the stove to move this along). Stirring is what makes this dish so creamy– so be sure to stir every couple of minutes.

When you have one or two ladles of stock left, slowly sprinkle on the grated cheese while stirring to incorporate into the rice and veggie mixture. If you dump all of the cheese in at once, it is likely to clump together rather than melting evenly throughout the risotto.

Once the cheese has melted into the risotto, it’s ready to eat!

Serve with a fresh grating of cheese (mmmm cheese) if desired.

Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetable Risotto2

Bon Appétit!

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Bread. It can be both rustically simple and exquisitely divine. Few other foods evoke such feelings of reverence (and boredom– White bread?!? Come on!). This simple quick bread is on the rustic side of the scale, though you might be inclined to thank a deity when you realize you’ve just found a way to use up all of that old Natty your friends brought to your last party.

I love this bread (and AllRecipes for the recipe) because it satisfies my cravings for piping hot homemade bread in just over an hour. And as an added bonus, my apartment gets that awesome baked goods smell! Whether you pair this with a soup (like my Crushed Lentil or Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup) or eat it hot right out of the pan (perhaps slathered with a thin generous layer of butter), this bread is super satisfying.

His bread is buttered on both sides.

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Time: 60 min (10 min prep, 45-50 min bake)
Servings: 12 (… if you’re not hungry)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (Any beer- old or new- works. I’ve used Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald, Bud Lite, Miller High Life–sooo classy, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy with Lemonade)

Special Tools: Bread loaf pan (9×5 in), sturdy mixing spoon/spatula

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Spray your bread pan with non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT beer. With a whisk, fork or mixing spatula, mix the dry ingredients evenly.

Pour in beer- slowly! If your bowl isn’t large enough, wait until the foam has evaporated or whatever foam does, stir once, and pour the rest of the beer in. Mix until the ingredients form an elastic but stiff dough.

Pour the dough into the bread pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until the bread passes the toothpick test (insert a tooth pick halfway into the dough. If it comes out clean, the bread is done).

Cool and serve, or eat hot right out of the pan!

[More great bread quotes]

Baked Kale Chips

These kale chips are great as a garnish on a soup or a tasty, healthy snack to munch on (just don’t overdo it with the EVOO & salt). Raw kale has loads of beta carotene, iron and vitamins A, C & K so I’m looking for more ways to incorporate this into our diet. But really, when vegetables taste this good, it’s easy to find a reason!

Baked Kale

Baked Kale Chips

Time: 25 min (5 min prep, 20 min bake)
Servings: 4 (or less if you eat them all in one sitting like we did…)

Ingredients

1 or more bunch kale, preferably the curly leaf version, like Scots Kale
3-5 Tbsp Olive Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil, aka EVOO)
3-5 Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Sea or flaked salt
Fresh ground pepper

Special Tools: Gallon sized plastic resealable bag, baking or parchment paper (optional)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Wash and drain the kale leaves.

Hail to the Kale

Roughly chop the kale into bite sized pieces, cutting off the stalks at the end. I recommend toasting with a glass of scotch before hacking away (just kidding). If you find that some of your stalks are too thick, just pull or chop the leaves right off the stalk as I did with the stalk on the right above.

Kale in a bag

Place the kale pieces into the plastic bag and pour the EVOO & balsamic vinegar into the bag. Seal tightly (double check!) and shake the bag around until the leaves are evenly coated. I’ve found that this method coats the leaves more evenly with less oil, keeping the fat and calorie content down.

Line a large baking sheet with the baking/parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.

Spread the kale pieces evenly on the pan in a thin layer.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and grind some pepper on the kale.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy. Turn the pieces with tongs or a spatula about halfway in, after 15 minutes, to ensure that all of the pieces are evenly cooked and crunchy.

When the kale chips look done, take them out and toss in a bowl with a final sprinkle of salt and ground pepper.

Kale as a Garnish

Serve hot.

Crushed Lentil Soup

I first had crushed lentil soup at my all time favorite Lebanese restaurant- The Grape Leaf. This soup was a turning point for me in my culinary repertoire. Prior to this soup, I pretty much thought that soup was Lipton’s chicken noodle soup that my mom would make from a packet when I was sick or some hearty but fairly unhealthy soup, like my college’s baked potato soup (tasty but high in calories). After tasting the Grape Leaf’s crushed lentil soup, I realized two things: 1: I love lentils! and 2: Soup can actually be pretty darn good.

This soup could be vegetarian- pretty much just substitute the broth/stock for vegetable broth! (I almost made it vegetarian, but I couldn’t get the vegetable broth jar open. Doh!) I actually found the original version of this soup in one of the editions of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks— a tome of vegetarian recipes that the Moosewood Collective puts out every so often, filled with creative and tasty vegetarian foods.

I make this soup pretty much as often as I make cornbread (they’re YUMMY together)– so at least once a month, if not more.

Crushed Lentil Soup garnished with Beer Bread chunks and Baked Kale

Crushed Lentil Soup

Time: Approx. 1 hour
Servings: 4-8

Ingredients

Garlic, 5-10 cloves (depending on how garlicky you like your soup)
3-5 Tbsp Olive Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil, aka EVOO)

An assortment of vegetables, about 6-8 cups total. I use the following:
2 medium sweet onions, diced
3-4 ribs of celery, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
2 broccoli stalks, diced (You can use the florets as well)
1 Jalapeño (optional)

Spices
1-2 Tbsp cumin (more or less to taste)
1-2 Tbsp curry powder (more or less to taste)
1-2 Tbsp turmeric or a pinch of saffron
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
Dash of: Paprika, fresh-ground pepper, sea salt, chili powder

1 1/2 to 2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or water, heated
Sea salt to taste
Lemon zest to taste (1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Garnish: Sea salt, baked kale chips, or bread (optional)

Special Tools: Immersion blender, heavy duty blender, or food processor (to blend the soup)

What To Do

Chop up your vegetables, except garlic, into roughly the same size pieces– you just want them to cook evenly. They’re going to get blended later, so they don’t have to look pretty! If you like, you can slice or chop them up with a food processor.

Dice the garlic. In a large stockpot, heat the EVOO and garlic on medium heat  for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic has begun to turn golden (but not crispy).

Garlic & EVOO

Add the rest of the vegetables and stir to coat them with the EVOO.
Veggies

Now, add your spices and stir again. Place a lid over the pot to get cookin’!

While the vegetables are cooking, rinse and drain your lentils. Be sure to pick out any small rocks or debris. I used a mix of brown and red, but you can use your favorite variety. I’ve been trying to find French green lentils, as I’ve heard they’re exceptionally tasty.

Red & Brown Lentils

Add the rinsed lentils to the vegetables. Pour the heated stock into the vegetable-lentil mixture and stir until combined. Let the soup simmer, with the lid on, on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.Adding Chicken Broth

Your soup will look like this when its about done. Test the lentils and vegetables with a tasting spoon (Those plastic spoons you get from take out are perfect!  Yes, I am one of those people- I reuse plastic utensils). If the lentils and veggies are tender, and you’re satisfied with the seasonings, remove the pot from the heat and over to a stable flat area, like your counter. Be sure to use potholders! What's cookin' good lookin?

If you have an immersion blender, you can start blending up the soup right away. If you’re using a blender or food processor, you may want to allow the soup to cool down (for your safety) before blending.

Blend the soup for 2-3 minutes, until fairly smooth. Ultimately the texture is up to you, so be sure to taste the soup at various stages until you’re happy (coarse, medium, fine). I generally prefer a finely blended soup.

Its like a Jacuzzi... a sharp Jacuzzi

Zest and juice one lemon (if you don’t have a lemon on hand, you can omit the zest and just use the juice). Stir in the lemon juice (lemon juice tends to break down when heated, so to retain the flavor, add at the end of the cooking process).  Taste the soup, and add more lemon juice if desired.

If you cooled the soup down, gently reheat the soup before serving.

Garnish, if desired, with bread and kale chips. Serve hot!

Enjoy, and as they say in Lebanon: “The eating is proportional to the love.” (Thanks to this blog for that phrase!)