What does it take for quinoa to get a little respect? There is a strong case to be made for quinoa. The United Nations, after all, proclaimed 2013 “The Year of Quinoa.” Nutritionists extol quinoa’s nutritional virtues. It’s a complete protein and […]
Virginia Woolf said of soup: ” Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.” That is certainly the way I feel about soup. I confess that I enjoy making soup often and find comfort in eating it. I almost always begin a dinner party–even a casual one– with […]
I love fall. I love the crisp cool edge that creeps into the mornings.
I love the changing colors of the leaves on my Japanese Maple.
I love the songs of autumn. If you need a little fall “fix,” here is a great rendition of Autumn Leaves by the late Eva Cassidy. If you don’t know about her, you are in for a treat.
And, in the cooking realm, I love that fall gives me permission to make soup again.
I posted my all-time favorite lentil soup recipe on this blog back in December. I hope you have found time to try that recipe. It is one of the wonders of the soup world. That soup is called Egyptian Lentil Soup and you can look it up in the index that appears on the right side of this page or by clicking here http://bluecayenne.com/?p=566.
The lentil soup I’m posting today is also excellent. It is a little more “tomatoey” and takes a slightly different spice turn with the addition of a small amount of curry powder and a small amount of dried thyme leaves. It is also just downright pretty with its bright oranges, greens and reds.
If you can’t work up the energy to make lentil soup today, don’t put your lentils away just yet. It is clear from a quick Internet search that lentils (and beans) are a popular crafting item. For example, someone had a good sense of humor and was definitely “feeling the Bern” with this piece:
The Bernie picture got me to thinking that orange lentils would be perfect for portraying The Donald’s hair. Go for it and be sure to send me a picture!
This recipe is adapted from one that appeared on the Cookie and Kate Food Blog. A link to the original recipe appears at the end of this post.
Ingredients: Lentil Soup with Spinach
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. curry powder
1/4 t. dried thyme leaves
Generous pinch of whole cumin seeds
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 C. orange lentils
4 C. vegetable broth
2 C. water
1 t. salt (more to taste)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 C. chopped fresh spinach leaves
Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 lemon (to taste)
Heat olive oil in a large soup pan.
Sauté chopped onion and carrots in hot oil, stirring often, until onion is softened and translucent. This should take about five minutes. Add chopped garlic, cumin, curry powder, and thyme leaves to the onion/carrot mixture. Stir spices to mix then in thoroughly–about 30 seconds.
Add the diced tomatoes and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Stir.
Add lentils, broth and water. Add pepper flakes and salt. Season with freshly-ground black pepper. Bring soup to a boil then lower heat and let the soup cook at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes.
Stir in chopped spinach and cook for a few more minutes until spinach is softened.
Remove from heat, add lemon juice and taste for seasoning.
Here is a link to the Cookie and Kate recipe from which this recipe was adapted:
If you have been reading this blog regularly, you know by now that I have yet to meet a soup that I don’t enjoy. This South Indian lentil and vegetable soup is no exception and always conjures up a wonderful travel memory for me. I’ll […]
What in the heck is farro?
When I first (mis)heard the term on the radio while driving, my distracted mind went in all sorts of wrong directions—a bitter Woody Allen misalliance, a dark Coen Brothers comedy that gave the Minnesota expression “you betcha” new meaning when used in conjunction with the operation of a wood chipper… It was that kind of day.
Then I got serious and discovered that farro is a grain. In fact, it is a pretty important grain in that it was one of the earliest forms of wheat to be cultivated and became the most important grain in the Mediterranean area until Roman times. Farro is also called Emmer Wheat.
So, why do you care? First, farro is good for you. It is a whole grain and has twice the fiber and protein of modern wheat. It is a true superfood. Secondly, it has a nutty and delicious flavor and, thirdly, and not unimportantly, you can buy it at Costco. Cooked in a soup, it retains it shape and gives a great chewey texture reminiscent of barley to meatless soups and other dishes. Since Costco is unforgiving for those of us who shop for one, I now own a four-pound bag of farro. You can expect to see other farro dishes on Blue Cayenne. From what I see on the Internet, farro can be used in salads, pilafs, stuffings, breakfast grains, desserts and more.
This recipe was adapted from one published recently in the NY Times.
Recipe: Farro and Bean Soup
1 1/2 C. dry red beans, kidney beans, pintos or borlottis, rinsed and picked over for stones (I used Rancho Gordo Rio Zape red beans)
1 C. farro, rinsed
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on soup
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bouquet garni with a few springs of fresh parsley, thyme, a bay leaf and a parmesan rind)
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 small stalk celery, diced
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into half lengthwise, cleaned and sliced thin
6 sage leaves, chopped, plus more for serving
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 T. tomato paste
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
Freshly ground pepper
2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan (or Asagio) for serving
Combine dry beans and farro in a bowl with 1 1/2 quarts of water and let soak overnight.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pan and saute one half of chopped onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Add one-half the minced garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Then, add the soaked beans, farro, and your bouquet garni to the pan along with the water you used to soak the beans. Add an additional 1 1/2 quarts of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a slow boil. If foam forms, skim it off. Reduce the heat and cover the soup and simmer it for one hour.
While the soup is simmering, heat remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add onion, carrots, leeks, celery and a teaspoon (or more) of salt to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender–about 5 minutes. When vegetables are soft(ish) add remaining garlic and the chopped sage to the pan. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add tomatoes and their juices. Salt to taste and continue to cook. Stir this mixture until tomatoes have cooked down slightly.
Add vegetable mixture to the farro and beans in the large soup pan. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and salt to taste. Simmer soup for 45 minutes to an hour until the soup thickens. Add pepper. Adjust salt. Remove bouquet garni.
Stir in the parsley and additional chopped sage (if desired), Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan over each bowl of soup. Enjoy.
Cook’s Note: I used Rancho Gordo heirloom beans for this soup. Rancho Gordo beans are available at some health food stores and online.
I’ve had a bit of trouble posting this blog entry but I think I finally have the right version posted this time. Earlier in the year, when I was toying with the idea of starting a food blog, I tested the waters by posting recipes on my Facebook page. I’m trying to move those recipes here to the real blog so that I have a complete file on this site. Pardon the posting glitch.
This is a wonderful appetizer/first course.
I originally found this recipe on the NY Times’ food page. I love the glowing golden color of this soup. Wait! Is it a soup? One source I read called gazpacho a liquid salad. I like that.
If you enjoy food history as I do, the background for gazpacho is pretty interesting. While it is most often associated with southern Spain, food historians believe the dish was probably introduced to Spain during the Middle Ages by North African Muslims who, in Spain, were called Moors. Some historians, on the other hand, trace the soup’s origins back to the Romans. Interestingly, the soup originally consisted of garlic, almonds, stale bread, sherry vinegar and olive oil or water and the ingredients were pounded together in a large wooden bowl. It was a worker’s dish. After Columbus’ discovery of New World foods, the recipe often was altered to include tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and cooks haven’t looked back since then in modifying the recipe in all sorts of glorious ways. This recipe, for example, contains no bread.
In the 19th Century, gazpacho became a more widely-eaten dish with recipes popping up in northern Europe and in the United States. French writer Theophile Gautier, for example, carried stories about the dish back from Spain to northern Europe, calling it “hell broth.” One of the first transfers of the dish to America was recorded in a 1824 cookbook, The Virginia Housewife.
I served this gazpacho in an elegant glass. No one at my table called it hell broth…at least, not to my face.
2 Pounds of ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1 Light green pepper like an Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 Small white or red onion, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 Clove garlic
2 t. sherry vinegar, more to taste
1/3 Cup extra-virgin olive oil more to taste, plus more for drizzling
Blend tomatoes, pepper, cucumber. onion and garlic in a blender until the mixture is totally blended and very smooth. This will take two to three minutes and you will want to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender bowl several times during the process.
Keep the blender motor running and add vinegar and 2 t. salt and slowly add the olive oil to the blender bowl. You can vary the amount of olive oil you use to get the right smooth texture for your gazpacho. Your gazpacho should be the consistency o a smooth, emulsified salad dressing.
Strain the gazpacho through a sieve or strainer to remove any remaining solids.
Store in your refrigerator in a glass container for at least six hours and preferably overnight to thoroughly chill before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. You can add a bit more salt or vinegar or some lemon juice to your taste. I like lemon juice. Top with a few drops of olive oil and serve.
Here is the link to the original recipe in the NY Times.
The ancient Egyptians ate it. The Romans, too. Roman Emperor Augustus even coined a catchy phrase: “as quick as boiled asparagus!” to describe a quick action. (Apparently, those Romans really knew how to kid around, although “as quick as boiled asparagus” sounds […]