Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Curry’

 

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

I realized this week that there is only one month left of my children’s summer vacation.  It was a punch to the stomach.   Only one month left to get out there and drink in the summer, to make memories.  They are 7 and 5, and for anyone that has or has had children of these ages, you probably understand why I feel that these ages are perfect.  They love to be around Radd and me, yet are independent enough to do things on their own.  All the hassles of tiny babes and toddlers are gone and we’re left to enjoy these perfectly sweet, intelligent, and hilarious tiny human beings.  Leaving the house is easy.  I remember when it used to be such a production:  diaper bags, extra clothes, baby food (in a cooler), etc.  Life is so effortless right now and I want to bottle this up and keep it forever.  Because it won’t be long before they’ll pick hanging out with their friends over being with us.  I know change is on the horizon and I can’t stop it.  I hate change– have I ever mentioned that before?  I do. It’s just how I am wired.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

But not only is school break about to end, I’m grappling with the realization that I have one month left of my thirties.  A big (gulp) birthday is just around the corner.   I wish I could be one of those people that welcomed it, but again, I hate change.  So instead, I’m working on trying to embrace it as well as trying to enjoy the heck out of this next month.  We’ll be doing the things I love– just more of them.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

Wait.  This is a food blog, right?  Okay, enough of the existential wrangling.  One of the things I’ll also be doing is tinkering in my kitchen, as I always do.  Recently, I made these fantastic corn and zucchini fritters.  If I’m being honest, I needed an acceptable way to eat the cilantro-mint chutney without simply drinking it and I figured a corn and zucchini fritter with an Indian flare would be perfect.  Indeed it was.  Eating a ton of vegetables that have been formed into a patty and crisped-up in olive oil is always a good idea.  These fritters are somewhat fragile, meaning you can’t pick them up with your hands.  I didn’t want to over-do the amount of flour that was in them.  They’re more of a “hash brown” texture.  And they are absolutely perfect with the cilantro-mint chutney.  I like to add some heat to mine with a jalapeño.  They are simple to make and come together rather quickly, which makes them perfect for a weeknight meal.  They are a wonderful meal on their own, or serve them alongside something else as a side.  Either way, I know you’re going to love them.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

The Recipe: Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney

(makes 9 3-inch patties)

For the Corn and Zucchini Fritters:

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 pound zucchini, coarsely grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (GF flour can be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder (this is subtle, use more for more of a punch)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

freshly ground pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

olive oil, for frying

For the Cilantro Mint Chutney:

1/2 cup cilantro, slightly packed

1/2 cup fresh mint, slightly packed

3-4 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger

squeeze of lime

pinch of sugar

kosher salt to taste

minced jalapeño to taste (I used 1/4 of a large one)

To make the Cilantro Mint Chutney:  combine all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Season properly with sugar, salt, and lime.  Set aside so the flavors can combine.

In a colander placed over a medium-sized bowl, combine the grated zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then gently squeeze the liquid from the zucchini with your hands. You want the zucchini to be as dry as possible, so it will crisp when fried.

In a medium-sized bowl, using your hands, gently combine the zucchini, corn, garlic, flour, curry powder, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper together.  Making sure to evenly coat the vegetables with the flour.  Then add the egg and mix again using your hands until everything is evenly moistened.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a hot skillet–cast-iron worked well.  Form 3-inch patties that are about 1/2-inch thick with the zucchini mixture and gently place them in the skillet. Fry as many as will fit into the pan at a time.  Fry on medium-high heat until the underside is a deep golden brown, then flip.  Repeat until all of the mixture is gone.  Be sure to add more olive oil into the pan each time.  The fritters are best eaten immediately.  Top with the chutney and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

We joined a CSA recently!  For a vegetable-obsessed girl like me, this is big news.  So much so that I want to tell everyone I interact with…but that would be a bit weird, so I’ll just tell you.  I’m already anxious for June to roll around– for that first box to arrive, full of vegetables grown for my family by people that I know.   To be honest, we haven’t been CSA members for a couple of years now.  I know, I know.  You see, the previous CSA that we belonged to didn’t quite meet my family’s needs.  We ended up spending a ton of money every week to supplement the offering.  This year we dove back in, and decided to go with Bossy Acres.  The fabulous ladies that run this CSA are heavily involved in the Twin Cities food community.  I had heard remarkable things about their CSA from several friends.  And then, once I had a chance to talk with the owners about the excitement and passion that they put into their work, it made me realize that I wanted my family to be part of it.  And I am so darn excited!  Did I already mention that?

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

Alright, now that I’m done with my mini celebration it’s on to today’s post.  Even though this is THE NEVER-ENDING WINTER here in Minnesota, I’ve moved on to think about lighter, quicker fare.  Spring has to arrive eventually, right?  It’s just a matter of time before the farmers’ markets are loaded with fresh vegetables, and I’ll also be getting my first CSA delivery.  Waiting is hard.  I want strawberries and tomatoes now.  But until then, I’ll enjoy this gorgeous cauliflower.Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

I love how hearty cauliflower is.  It’s reliable and always a good option in the Summer or Winter.  Out-of-season tomatoes and cucumbers can’t claim that.  I enjoy this side dish (though I eat it as a main course) when the cauliflower is roasted just a bit. Not entirely soft, but not raw either.  Once it’s done, I like to toss it immediately with red onion and golden raisins on the hot roasting pan.  It warms them through and takes the edge off the onion.  Infusing the spices in warmed olive oil is a great way to maximize the flavor.  This is a subtle dish.  It’s not swimming in a sauce or loaded with flavors that punch you in the face.  And it comes together in a matter of minutes.  The golden raisins are key– the slight sweetness that they add is crucial here.  Hope you enjoy!

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

(serves 2-4)

1 large head of organic cauliflower, broken into small bite-sized pieces

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup organic golden raisins

handful of fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting

1 teaspoon hot curry powder  ( I love Penzys’ version)

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of kosher salt to taste

lime wedges, for serving

Preheat an oven to 400°F.  Toss the cauliflower pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower has browned slightly but isn’t completely soft.  Remove from oven and immediately toss the sliced red onion and golden raisins on the hot pan with the cauliflower.

Meanwhile, prepare the curry-scented olive oil by placing 2 tablespoons of olive into a small skillet.  Mix the curry powder, turmeric, and cumin into the oil and heat on medium for about 1-2 minutes, or until the oil becomes warm and fragrant.  Make sure to stir it.  Remove from heat and pour over the vegetables.  Toss with cilantro.  Season with salt, if necessary.  Serve with a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

Read Full Post »

Roasted Potatoes with a Curry Dipping Sauce | Relishing It

Sometimes you make mistakes.  Sometimes, you have to admit when you’ve simply been wrong.  Now don’t get too excited– this isn’t some juicy confession.  I’m talking about my misguided idea that potatoes should be avoided.  That they aren’t “good for you.”  I ate them sparingly for years, but then it occured to me, they’re a whole food.  Nature makes them all on it’s own.  Come on!  They’re potatoes.  Why did I think this was a bad thing?  Yes, they’re a carbohydrate, but I’m cool with that.  I need carbs in this body.  They give me energy.  I know I shouldn’t go crazy and pile starches onto my plate every meal, but, the same can be said about almost every food.  Well, maybe not broccoli…or kale…but you get the point.

Roasted Potatoes with a Curry Dipping Sauce | Relishing It

I’m glad I’ve rediscovered my love of potatoes.  I’ve probably mentioned here in the past that my Mom has always had an amazing garden.  When I was a little girl, we lived on a farm where there was plenty of space for her to grow almost anything.  Even so, rather than restrict them to the garden, the potatoes had a special HUGE section in a field near the house.  My grandparents would come over and we’d have potato-planting parties out in that field.  True story.  My favorite part was when, after a few months, we’d all head back out to the field and dig ’em up.  I can still see my Dad, with the salt shaker that he’d bring out into the field (seriously), shining up a few potatoes to crunch-away on while we dug.

Crispy roasted potatoes are amazing.  Here I’ve paired them with a delicious coconut curry dipping sauce.  The most important thing to keep in mind when making roasted potatoes is that you simply can’t cut them up and put them in the oven.  You need to cook them a fair amount beforehand.  Some people choose to boil them slightly, I always steam my potatoes.  I find that they don’t get saturated and fall apart this way.  It also keeps them from losing some of their nutrients.  For convenience, you can steam up a big batch of potatoes in the beginning of the week and leave them sit in your fridge– that way they’re ready to use whenever you need them.  You’d be surprised how many ways you can find to use them.

Roasted Potatoes with a Curry Dipping Sauce | Relishing It

The curry sauce here is delicious.  It’s simple and not overly fancy.  You should have most of these ingredients on hand already.  With the crispy potatoes, it makes a brilliant combination.  I hope you give these a try!

The Recipe:  Roasted Potatoes with a Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce

(serves 4)

1 pound small, yellow potatoes

1/3 cup finely chopped white onion

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet curry powder (I love Penzys’ version)

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

pinch of sugar, to taste

1 1/2 cups chicken broth, (1 tablespoon reserved)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

salt and pepper

fresh cilantro for serving

In a large sauce pan, place a steamer basket (or you can choose to simply boil them) and fill with the potatoes and a bit of water.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam until the potatoes are tender when tested.  I steam my small potatoes whole, but if you only have large ones– just cut them up before steaming.  Make sure to not over-steam them, as they will fall apart.  I’m not going to give an exact time, as it will depend upon the size of your potato.  It’s best to just test them.  When they feel as if they’re nearly done.  Remove from heat and let them sit covered for a few minutes to finish cooking and then let cool.  At this point you can either put them in the refrigerator to use at a later time, or continue with the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Quarter the potatoes and place on a large baking sheet that has been coated with a thin layer of olive oil.  Drizzle a bit more olive oil on top of them and toss.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Keep in mind that potatoes tend to need a lot of salt.  Don’t be too shy.  Roast for about 15 minutes, then carefully flip the potatoes.  Yes, I do this individually, because I really enjoy crispy potatoes and I want all the sides to be properly golden browned.   It doesn’t take that long.  Roast for another 15 minutes.  Give another toss and test them.  Roast longer if necessary (again, much will depend upon how big your potatoes were cut).  Mine are usually done after 30 minutes.  Taste.  re-season, if necessary.

While your potatoes are roasting, begin the curry.  In a medium-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes until somewhat tender.  Add the curry powder, turmeric, and garam masala and toast for abut 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth (sans 1 tablespoon), tomato paste and coconut milk and a pinch of sugar.  Whisk together until smooth.  Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes,  stirring frequently.  Taste as you go, add more salt or sugar, if necessary.  In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon chicken broth until it’s smooth.  Whisk mixture into the skillet and cook for about another 10 minutes until the mixture is somewhat thickened.  Reseason, if necessary.

Immediately sprinkle chopped cilantro on the hot, crispy potatoes when removed from the oven and serve along side the curry sauce.  The potatoes are best eaten immediately.  Enjoy!

photo

Last week was a busy one.  Along with the excitement of Halloween and indulging in far too much candy, our precious girl turned five!  You add so much happiness and joy to our lives, Aria.  We love you so much– Happy birthday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

Read Full Post »

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

Last week, my little blog turned two.  It’s been a wonderful and busy couple of years.  I’ve made some incredible friends, both in real life and social media, that I would never have met had I decided not to try my hand at this blogging thing.  My children have grown– and no longer need quite as much minute-to-minute attention– which makes it a bit easier to do this sort of thing.  I guess I’ve also learned to better balance blogging along with taking care of my family.

That first year it felt like preparing, photographing, and writing consumed so much of my time.  I’m more efficient now, less focused on getting that perfect photo.  And while I still have a lot to learn, I realize that I’m not going to be  Cannelle et Vanille or What Katie Ate.  I adore those blogs, but that’s not why I’m here.  I’m comfortable being Laurie from Relishing It.  I’m here to show you some (hopefully) pretty photos of some (hopefully) healthy, tasty food, along with a few sweet indulgences.  I’m here to share ideas and thoughts about balanced eating and sustainable food production that can turn into conversations.  For me, food is more than sustenance.  It’s at the center of every gathering, it’s sharing and comparing cultural upbringings.  Most importantly, food is about taking care of my family.  I want to feed them well and keep them healthy, and I honestly believe that being aware of whether your food contains harmful chemicals, how it’s produced, and where it comes from can do that.  So, to you readers and friends that keep coming back to my little corner of the internet every week, I thank you.

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

Sweet Curry Powder via Relishing It

Now onto one of my favorite little dishes– egg salad!  I could eat egg salad every day of the year.  I’m serious.  This avocado egg salad is still the most popular post on Relishing It– by a long shot.  So today I figure it’s time to share an egg salad recipe that I actually like even a little bit more than that one.  This one relies on sweet curry powder and coconut milk for it’s primary flavors (it’s mayonnaise-free).  Those two ingredients combine to give this egg salad a wonderful, though not overpowering flavor.  And the cilantro, red onion, and garlic add a little freshness and complexity.  It’s simple and divine.

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

You may have noticed that the bread in these photos is…different.  Interested?  It’s actually a wonderful, hearty, gluten-free loaf that is full of healthy, delicious ingredients.  You can find the recipe at the My New Roots blog for Life Changing Loaf of Bread.  I love it with this– or any– egg salad.  I like to make a loaf and wrap the sliced leftovers in the freezer.  They are perfect when toasted.  Even if you’re not gluten-intolerant it’s worth giving it a try.  Enjoy!

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Curried Egg Salad 

(Serves 1)

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sweet curry powder

3 tablespoons coconut milk, (canned version)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a bowl, add the chopped eggs.  Using a fork, mash about 1/3 of them.  Add the rest of ingredients and gently mix together.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so the flavors can meld, or eat right away if you’re impatient like myself.  Enjoy!

Note:  Store your leftover coconut milk in a canning jar in the refrigerator– you will be amazed at how many wonderful things you can find to use it in!

Thanks for stopping by– have a great weekend!

xo

Laurie

Read Full Post »

Coconut Red Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles via Relishing It

Hello again!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  Ours went by far too quickly, and was… a bit of a mixed bag.  Friday night I made this tasty coconut red curry soup, we played games, and had a dance party in Aria’s room– flashing colored lights and blaring music included.  It was great.  I still smile when I think about how happy she was spending her birthday money on her own disco ball.  Saturday, on the other hand, was not so pleasant.  Do you ever have days where everyone in the family wants to do something different?  No one can agree on a plan, everyone is a bit “off”, and the day spirals into communal grumpiness.  That was our Saturday.  As we were putting the kids to bed that night, talking about how we had wasted one of our precious weekend days, my daughter (in her sweet four-year-old voice) said, “Everybody’s different.  That’s just how life is.”  So there’s a bit of wisdom.  Thankfully, by Sunday we had all learned our lessons and agreed to compromise, and it was fantastic.  The sun was shining, we went out-and-about, the kids were happy, the adults were happy.  We ended the weekend on a great note.

Guajillo Peppers for Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

Anyway…back to this soup that I threw together for “Friday Night Fun.”  It’s loaded with tons of healthy ingredients– brown rice noodles, bok choy, snow peas, turmeric, chicken, and homemade red curry paste.  It’s all in there, combining to make a warm and filling soup laced with those delicious Thai flavors that we love.  The idea for this soup came about awhile back when I was making some other Thai dish.  I realized that I was out of curry paste, so I took a look at the ingredients on the empty bottle in the fridge.  I was already familiar with making my own condiments ( here and here), so I decided to give homemade curry paste a shot.  And since the the first listed ingredient was sugar, I figured it was an opportunity to make a healthier version to use in other meals.  One of the things I love about making homemade versions is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way.  It’s fun to go ‘off-book’.  As long as you pay attention to how the flavor combinations develop as you add ingredients, you’ll be fine.  Cooking with this philosophy opens up so many possibilities.  Have the courage to take a chance, and rely on your taste, and it’ll be a game changer for your kitchen skills.

Ingredients for Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

At any rate, I love the result of this red curry paste.  I decided to not add anything sweet to the actual paste.  Instead, I made up for any needed sweetness by seasoning the whole soup.  Use your judgement to fit this dish to your family’s taste.  The same goes for the dried chili peppers.  Here, I used a mild one– Guajillo.  Penzeys carries all sorts of dried chili peppers in different ranges of heat.  Use whichever you prefer.  And don’t be put-off by the anchovies in the paste.  They add a little umami flavor, but you won’t taste anything fish-like.  Trust me on this one.  One final thing on the paste, it’s a nice idea to make this a bit ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together.  You will have leftovers that can be stored in the refrigerator.  Of course, if you decide not to make your own curry paste, this soup will still be wonderful with a store-bought version.

Homemade Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

I love cooking with coconut milk (the canned version, not the carton).  Here, I sweetened the soup with a bit of honey, but palm sugar (or regular) can also be used.  The vegetables are interchangeable, of course.  A couple of hefty handfuls of spinach are a nice replacement for the bok choy.  Red pepper (sautéed a bit beforehand) also goes very well in this dish.  You can roast your own chicken, bake some chicken breasts, or use store-bought rotisserie chicken for an even quicker meal.  Or you can leave the chicken out entirely for a vegetarian option.  If you happen to have kaffir lime leaves on hand, throw them in– they will be brilliant.  I didn’t this time around, but the extra lime juice worked just fine.

Coconut Red Curry Soup via Relishing It

A note about the bowl in the photo– isn’t it lovely?  You know I advocate using local ingredients as much as possible, but I also have a soft spot for local artists.  The gorgeous bowl in these photos is from Evla Pottery.  I fell in love with their work years ago when my husband surprised me with a large decorative plate.  Last week while on a stroll with Aria, I stopped in to have a look around and was smitten with these bowls.  Evla is run by a husband and wife who craft wonderful pottery and paintings.  They have a beautiful store, and I’m thankful that they’re just a few blocks from our home.  Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood, or take a look on-line if you need to treat yourself or another to something special.

Coconut Red Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles via Relishing It

The Recipe: Red Coconut Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles

(Serves 4-6)

For the Red Curry Paste:

4 dried Guajillo peppers (other peppers will work fine, too)

1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped ( about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1 knob fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon hot curry powder

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3-4 tablespoons minced shallot

3 garlic cloves

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

3 tablespoons liquid from soaked peppers, more if needed

For the Coconut Red Curry Soup:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

About 1 pound chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (rotisserie works well, too)

2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 stalk lemon grass, left whole

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon hot or sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2-3 tablespoons honey (or more, to taste)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons red curry paste

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated  (or a couple hefty handful of fresh spinach)

About 1  1/2 cups fresh snow peas

1/2 chopped cilantro

1-2 limes, cut into wedges

5 cups water

1 can organic coconut milk

8 ounces brown rice noodles

To make the red curry paste:  Place the dried chili peppers into a small bowl, pour boiling water over them and cover the bowl with a plate.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Reserve some of the soaking liquid.  Using  a small mini food processor, add the peppers, lemon grass, ginger, curry powder, ground coriander, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, anchovies, and 3 tablespoons soaking liquid.  Blend for a few minutes until very smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the coconut red curry soup:  In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil.  Add the shallots and ginger and sauté for a minute or so.  Add the curry powder, turmeric, ground coriander, and red curry paste and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add  5 cups of water along with the lemon grass stalk, fish sauce, coconut milk, and honey.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or so.

Meanwhile, bring a large kettle full of water to a boil for the brown rice noodles.  When the soup tastes as if the flavors have melded, cook the rice noodles in the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are al dente. Remove the stalk of lemongrass.  About 2 minutes before the rice noodles are done, add the snow peas , bok choy , and chicken to the soup.    Strain the noodles and add them to the soup.  Stir in most of the green onions and cilantro, reserving a bit for garnishing the top each bowl.  Be sure to serve a lime wedge or two along with each bowl– the lime really brightens the soup and brings all of the flavors together.   This soup is best enjoyed immediately when it is done.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today! xo

Laurie

Read Full Post »

I finally went on a full-scale cleaning and organizing mission.  I love my kitchen, but I could always use more space– just one more cupboard.  The focal point of my organizing was the food pantry.  There was a time, not long ago, when I got excited everytime I looked in the pantry– so many possibilities!  So many dishes to create!  Lately, opening that door just led to me being annoyed.  Plastic bags with twist ties, hiding all of those beautiful grains/legumes/dried fruit/and nuts that I buy in bulk.  Random boxes half-full of dried pasta.  I needed a better system, and mason jars were the answer.  They stack beautifully and best of all, I can see all of those beautiful dried goods– including these amazing lentils.

I love lentils: red, french, green, brown– they all have fantastic flavors.  Lentils are high protein and fiber and low fat.  They’re also convenient, since they don’t take long to prepare, so they’re perfect for when you need to get a quick weeknight dinner on the table.  Even better, they’re inexpensive.  I like to prepare them with an egg on top (because eggs make everything better), or made into simple, flavorful soups like this one.  They’re brilliant!

The flavors in this lentil soup mingle perfectly.  The ginger, curry, cardamom, and cumin are stand-outs.  They give the soup an identity.  And the lemongrass adds that little zing that really brightens things up.  Depending on where you are, lemongrass may be difficult to find.  If so, just add a bit of lemon zest and a healthy squirt of lemon juice before serving.  The coconut milk is the backbone here,  it ties all of the other wonderful flavors together.  It is rich and creamy, and envelopes those warm spices.  I use a whole can in this recipe, but if you want to reduce the calorie count, add just a half can.  If you do so, make sure to compensate for the loss of liquid by adding a bit more broth or water.  And don’t buy the ‘lite’ versions of coconut milk– they’re not particularly good.  Pair this soup with a nice piece of crusty bread drizzled in olive oil, and enjoy!

The Recipe:  Lentil Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger

(Serves 4 comfortably)

5-6 small/medium carrots, chopped (1 1/4 cup)

1 medium red onion, chopped  (about 1 cup)

1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and discarded, finely minced

1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cup dried brown or green lentils, rinsed

1 can (13.5 ounces) organic coconut milk

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 quart organic chicken broth

pinch of salt

lemon, cilantro, and sour cream for garnish, optional

In a large Dutch oven placed over medium heat add the olive oil.  When hot add the carrots, red onion, lemon grass, ginger, a sprinkle of salt and sauté  for about 7- 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  Then add the curry powder and cardamom and  toast for just 30 seconds, or so.  Immediately add the tomatoes, chicken stock, coconut milk, and lentils.  Raise heat and bring to a small boil.  Immediately lower heat to low/medium and cook the soup covered for about 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are your desired consistency.  The amount of time will vary depending upon how high your flame is.  Taste the soup and adjust salt accordingly.  Take note that this is a soup that will thicken as it sits, so leftovers may need a splash of broth or water to loosen it up.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and lemon, if desired, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Laurie

Join me on Twitter

Read Full Post »

As I’ve said in prior posts, my family eats a lot of soup through the chilly Fall and Winter months.  Some lighter soups I prepare as a first course to a meal, while other more substantial versions become the meal itself.  This is one of those that is hearty enough to stand alone.  It has the added benefit of not only being delicious, but it’s somewhat unique.  It has an interesting flavor that breaks up the monotony of all those broth-based soups.  My neighbor introduced me to this beautiful soup two years ago.   It is has become one of our favorites.

Take a look at all of those vegetables!  Just when you think you cannot possibly add more, it’s time to put an entire bag of spinach into the pot.  The veggies are just one of the many reasons to love this soup.  The broth is another.  It’s hefty and creamy, with just the right amount of peanut, ginger, and curry to give it that unique flavor.  You may think you’re cheating by eating such an indulgent dish, but fear not– the small amount of peanut butter goes a long way here.  Another reason to love this soup is that it comes together in a snap and cooks up in little time.  The sweet potatoes become tender quickly, so it doesn’t need to simmer on the stove for long.   Finally, the addition of chicken is a nice contrast to all of the vegetables, and makes the soup even more substantial.  If you prefer, you can easily leave it out for a vegetarian version– just be sure to add a few more vegetables.

The Recipe:  African Peanut Soup

Makes 4 -6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon curry powder

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

4 cups organic chicken stock

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces

1 – 1 1/2 pounds organic/free-range  chicken breast, cooked and cubed

1/2 cup  or more of peanut butter (try to use a natural kind containing just ground peanuts)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 – 5 oz bag of baby spinach leaves, torn

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper chopped

peanuts and lime wedges,  for garnish

To make the soup:  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Saute on medium heat the onion, peppers, carrots, and celery until soft — about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder.  Saute for about  a minute.  Add the tomatoes and bay leaf.  Cook for three more minutes, so the tomatoes can reduce a bit.

Add the broth, sweet potatoes, and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft. 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in the peanut butter and cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro and spinach.  Cook until spinach wilts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of peanuts.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from an article in Parade Magazine, I’m told

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It  — have a wonderful weekend!

Laurie

Follow me on Twitter!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: