janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘red lentil’

Creamy Broccoli Dal

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on June 4, 2012 at 6:36 AM

There are many reasons why I love Rob, but one of them is that he is really laid back.  He doesn’t stress out when the fridge is already full and I come home with even more veggies or when I buy, um, another cookbook, or two… I also love the way he approaches cooking: a few staple recipes interspersed with new recipes.

Recently, he’s been culling meals from our favourites. Rob’s Repeater Recipes as I have tagged them on the site: Dal Bhat, Besan Chilla, Tamarind Lentils and this Creamy Broccoli Dal from Vegan Yum Yum. Why mess with success? They fall under “you can make these dishes for me anytime” category. Definitely comfort food.  I have mentioned this delightful dal a few times, but have yet to share the recipe because we didn’t have any photos. Since we usually make this whenever we have a surplus of broccoli, I knew we would eventually capture it at a photogenic angle. I tried… there is something about a slurry of a soup that makes it hard to look as great as it tastes.

This is one of our go-to recipes because it is so packed with flavours. Indian-inspired flavours like cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, chile flakes and garam masala really make this pop. The red lentils cook away into a creamy background interspersed with bits of broccoli (we use both the florets and stem). If you are anti-bits, just use the stems. If you are anti-broccoli (gasp!), just use the stems, because only the florets give it away that veggies are hidden in here. The almond milk helps to add an extra level of creaminess.

As written, the recipe serves 2-3 people. We’ve realized that doubling it makes the most sense since we like it so much. 🙂

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness  and to Cookbooks Sundays.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lime

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on May 30, 2012 at 5:30 AM

For the seasoned bloggers and blog-readers out there, when reading recipes, how often to you think to yourself: Oh yeah, I’ve made something similar to that before… move on…

I rarely repeat recipes, and sometimes even shy away from ones that look similar to ones I’ve made before. It is all about variety! The more, the merrier!

While I have made some really delicious red lentil soups, mostly with lemon (lemon+cumin+cilantro=fantastic), I was still intrigued by Deborah Madison’s Red Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lime from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Both soups have similarities: red lentils, cumin, cilantro, onion and citrus.

The differences: tomato paste vs yellow mustard. Spinach, too. (The original recipe also called for yogurt and rice, both of which I omitted)

This soup just goes to show you how a simple change in seasoning can drastically alter a dish. Both equally delicious, yet completely different.

In this soup, you have a savoury red lentil soup flavoured primarily by mustard, oh yes mustard, with a hint cumin, sweetened by the spinach, then livened by the cilantro and fresh lime juice. They work so well together. And yes, this time my yellow mustard seeds did not disappoint! I am positively smitten by mustard. What are your favourite recipes with mustard?

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lime
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this month‘s Simple and in Season and to Cookbooks Sundays.

Read the rest of this entry »

Root Vegetable Mulligatawny

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on April 16, 2012 at 6:17 AM

I know you raised an eyebrow when I posted the recipe for Banana Naan. Bread flour, what?!

Let me assure you that for my Indian Easter, I continued with the clean out my kitchen mantra and no-more-buying things for the pantry moratorium with the Janet-friendly part of the meal.

I had been eyeing Sarah’s Mulligatawny Soup ever since she posted it in January. My Mom told me not to stress about the meals, so I scoped out recipes that I could make with the produce I already had (we happened to be fortunate that cauliflower was on sale for $1/head for our pakoras). Almost everything else had been squirreled away in my freezer, or living without a purpose in my fridge (I was looking at half a celeriac and half a kabocha squash!). While Sarah also provided the recipe for the Celeriac and Pumpkin Curry, they don’t taste remotely similar.

Mulligatawny is a British Indian curry-flavoured soup and literally means “pepper water”. However, recipes seem to be so varied that anything goes. Tess‘ version of mulligatawny is primarily red lentils, lemon and cilantro, whereas this is a creamy, tomato-spiked vegetable curry-soup brightened with tamarind. The leftovers were definitely more of a curry consistency.

Preparing a huge batch of soup in advance is a great way to relieve the stressful prep before a large meal. However, I didn’t fully appreciate how much soup I would be making. Sarah suggested it would serve a crowd, and she didn’t lie. We definitely already had enough food to feed an army along with the pakoras, 2 other curries [Malai Koftas, and a Spinach Chana Dal curry], a couscous pilaf salad and dessert. Oh, and we bought naan, too. Those recipes are still forthcoming, no worries!

Why did we make such a feast? 1) To make sure there was something for everyone to enjoy; and 2) No cooking required for the rest of the weekend since we’d be eating the leftovers.

This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s Sunday Night Soup Night and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Read the rest of this entry »

Celeriac and Pumpkin Curry

In Mains (Vegetarian) on March 19, 2012 at 6:20 AM

Celeriac. Pumpkin. Could I be sharing any more autumn-like produce?

As I am munching away through my freezer before our next move, I am rediscovering meals that I should have blogged about but for some reason, I haven’t!

I am a long-standing proponent of leftovers but oddly enough, when I stash leftovers in the freezer, they kind of sit there for a while. Freshly made meals are always my go-to choice, but I have some real gems being unearthed these days.

I have  become a bit more accustomed to the tamer curries that are made with curry powder, red lentils and an assortment of veggies. I really liked the Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal and since celeriac was my favourite veggie this winter, I was eager to try my hand at a similar stewy curry from Sarah. Typically, potatoes are used in Indian cooking but here, celeriac adds a different dimension which complements the sweetness from the pumpkin.  I also loved the addition of the spinach thrown in for good green measure. I usually don’t freeze meals that use greens, but these leftovers are ok from the freezer.

By the way, does anyone know what kind of pumpkin is sold in stores that are cut into large wedges? They are labelled as Ontario pumpkins, but I have no clue what kind they are… I don’t cook with the jack-o-lantern pumpkins, but this was definitely a pumpkin for cooking. 🙂

This is being submitted to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spiced Red Lentil Pancakes

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on February 6, 2012 at 6:25 AM

Most food bloggers have non-foodie day jobs. Tell me, do you share your blog with your co-workers, with your supervisors? Would you include it on your CV?

I work in the medical field. I am a doctor, although still in training during my residency.

Suffice it to say, I work in a very conservative field.

I recently applied for a fellowship after I graduate. In about 16 months. My applications went in 21 months before the position started (I think it is just as ludicrous as you). I polished off my CV, highlighting my clinical and research experience. Thankfully I didn’t have to follow a resume template, so I debated whether to include my “other interests”. One of my mentors told me casual hobbies/interests like “cooking”, “cycling”, etc should be excluded unless you earn medals. Telling me you love to cook, tells me you love to eat, he said. And what is special about that?

In the end, I decided to highlight extracurricular achievements. I highlighted that my recipes had been included in Canadian Living; I currently maintain this blog promoting healthy recipes; and I listed the supported cycling trips that I have done over 300 km.

While I tend to keep my blog on the down-low from my supervisors, I have shared it with other residents.

Including this information wouldn’t hurt me as an applicant (right?) and if anything it would give them something to talk about, other than my very interesting research.

At one hospital, I was interviewed consecutively by 10 people. As you are probably thinking, this could be pretty intimidating! However, the group was really approachable and open, and they relished talking about my research and non-research interests. More than one had my blog on their computer screen!

Sharing your blog with co-workers can be such a nerve-wracking experience. I absolutely adore the food blogging community I have joined, but I know that my food preferences are in the minority. Especially in Texas. In fact, being someone who blogs about said food seems even more ludicrous, eh? I would have thought the same thing three years ago, but really, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Food blogging is something special. A place for me to express myself, both through writing, photography and culinary creativity. It also exposes my vulnerability, hence my shyness with co-workers.

But please do share with me how you share your blog.

And… so about these pancakes. I bookmarked them after seeing them on Joanne’s blog, but she kindly she reminded me of them after I posted about Besan Chilla.

Sometimes I find vegetable-based dishes that scream “I need some protein!”. Instead of adding a bean or grain to the dish, this time I opted for a side of beans in pancake form. 😉

These pancakes have a similar texture to the potato pancakes I ate as a child due to the shredded carrot. However, the flavour is anything but bland as they are spiced with ginger, garlic, onion and garam masala. Other than veganizing the recipe by substituting the chia for egg, I also decreased the garam masala from Joanne’s original recipe and found them great as-is. They could be eaten as a simple pancake with a side of chutney, or a nice salad, or with a mild curry.

Rob and I ate them with the Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple to beef up the meal. We found that when we smothered them with the curry sauce, it almost tasted like schnitzel. Texture-wise. I know, so weird, but true.

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Astrid.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on December 12, 2011 at 6:44 AM

(Sorry, let me sneak in one fabulous main dish this week before we get the cookie bonanza)

On the love-like scale, I gave this a love. Rob gave it a low like. A 5/10 is definitely a fail in my regards. While testing recipes for Terry’s new book, more and more recipes fell in the “Rob loves this more than Janet” category. Not Rob loves the food more than me, but he loved the food more than I loved the food… kapiche? 😉

Testing recipes has been a nice adventure for us to learn more about our cooking and eating preferences. Rob loved the Curry Laksa with Oyster Mushrooms, whereas I wasn’t as smitten. The spicy fastlane cabbage kimchi was way too spicy for me (1/2 cup of Korean pepper flakes!), but Rob loved it in small amounts. I adored the mild ginger kimchi option, though. Likewise, the jigae (kimchi, tofu and eggplant stew) was too spicy for me again, but Rob enjoyed it. In Rob’s quest to make an authentic Massaman curry, he found a winner here, but I wasn’t as sold. Meanwhile, I found my mojo with the Middle Eastern dishes in the book like the Sweet Autumn Toasted Pita and Kale Salad (a Fattoush knock-off), the Moroccan Vegetable Couscous, the Ethiopian Yellow Split Peas with Chard and Tomatoes and the delicious French-inspired White Bean and Celery Root Puree. We both loved the Venezuelan-style Tofu Sofrito Scramble, though. 🙂

This Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal came from Appetite for Reduction (recipe here) and I thought Rob would like it- a red lentil curry, complete with ginger, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon, complemented with a host of root vegetables: carrot, parsnip and turnip (did you spot the cruciferous vegetable?). A quick and healthy recipe, it was also up my alley. Turns out the word curry threw Rob off – he found it to be blander than anticipated. Meanwhile, I adored it! This time, I snatched the leftovers! The vegetables make this a sweet curry and I thought this complemented the savoury spices well. For the curry novices out there, there was no hint of curry powder taste… unless you decide to add more! I found this perfecto as written.

Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

Indian Eggplant and Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat Meets Baingan Bharta)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on November 11, 2011 at 6:17 AM

There is always something fun going on in our kitchen….

As Rob likes to say, if something hasn’t been dropped while he’s cooked, then he hasn’t really cooked.

My nemesis in the kitchen is having my water boil over while I make steel-cut oats. I swear, it happens nearly every week. Mostly because after I get my oats simmering, I usually wander away to do other things… load/unload the dishwasher, get dressed, etc… and then I hear sputtering and I’m back in an instant to calm the oats.

I am pretty good about not burning things, though.

So, when I roasted some eggplants over the gas flame on the oven, Rob was alarmed when he smelled smoke from his upstairs office. Everything alright? he asked. He peered at my neat pile of 7 Asian eggplants, on fire on the stovetop.

I am roasting eggplants! They are supposed to turn catch on fire and turn black. Honestly! This fire is under control!

While in Turkey, I learned how to roast an eggplant to get that smokey flavour for the eggplant in Sultan’s delight. You need to do it over an open flame. Apparently the big fat eggplants here have a much tougher skin, so they suggested getting an Asian or European variety with a thinner skin. After you have charred the eggplant, carefully remove the skin while retaining all the juice. The smaller eggplants, though, turn this into a very tedious chore. But, yes, it was worth the efforts. You can’t duplicate that flavour without the fire.

I have been meaning to make the Indian roasted eggplant dish, Baingan Bharta, for the longest time. However, as it is vegetable-based side dish, I have found it harder to incorporate into my weekly meals. I don’t usually do the two-dish dinners. So when I spotted this Eggplant and Lentil Curry at The Kathmanduo, I knew I had a great combination.

Essentially, you are combining dal bhat (or just dal since there is no rice) with baingan bharta. The dal, alone, was superb. The fenugreek adds a more savoury note that is tempered by the typical Indian culprits of cumin, ginger and coriander. You could stop right there, throw in some rice and have an excellent meal.

Please keep going, though.

With the roasted eggplant, you create a smokey, sultry savoury mush. It wasn’t what I was expecting from a bharta, as I wanted something with more tomato presence. The smokiness from the eggplant was unbeatable, though. Now throw it into your dal. Mix the two together. Bliss, sheer bliss. And a complete meal: veggies and beans. Add your favourite grain if you are still so inclined.

Sadly, as much as I adored this dish, this will be the last time I will be able to roast anything on an open flame in the kitchen.

Not because it was a fire hazard, or that I had a lot of cleaning to do afterwards…

But rather, we discovered that the smoke really irritates Rob’s allergies. The house smelled like smoke for 2 days and for weeks, Rob had unresolved sniffles. It took us a while to pinpoint the culprit but I’ve conceded the eggplant roasting for now. Even though Rob agreed this was the best eggplant dish he had ever had. Not willing to risk anyone’s health, it will have to stay locked in our memories forever. 🙂

This is being submitted to Lisa’s Celebration of Indian Food, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mixed Lentil and Tomato Stew

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on October 31, 2011 at 6:48 AM

When I made the Chickpea and Chana Dal Curry with the Tamarind-Mint Sauce, I really liked how the chickpeas were still relatively intact but the chana dal melted into a creamy sauce.  It got me thinking: I don’t tend to mix my beans that often.  Although there was that Symphonic Mixed Bean Salad, but those beans came mixed in a can!

I have so many beans that Rob thinks it would be really funny if I put them all in one big bean salad. But they all cook at different times, Rob… Why not just save a 1/4 cup of cooked beans each time and then freeze them for the salad? Totally right on the money there!

But until I cook more of my heirloom beans, that salad will have to wait.

To culminate the end of my month of vegan recipes, and 3 weeks of daily beans, I figured I would share a dish that mixes up a few beans (count all 4 beans!). Gosh, what have I been missing?

I originally spotted this recipe on The Wednesday Chef, as a Two Lentil Stew that she adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors when I was looking for more recipes with chana dal. In the comment section, though, it turned out it was actually a Five Lentil Stew that she had modified… and I had 4/5 of the beans: red lentil, chana dal, mung dal and toor dal. Not too shabby if you ask me, with only urad dal as the missing ingredient. And since they are all split beans, this stew cooks up quickly.

The mixture of beans in this stew creates a glorious effect. Some turn to mush, others keep their shape, more are half-way in between. The texture is unbeatable.

Only have two of the beans? Find a ratio that works for you. My ingredient amounts are a bit wonky because I wanted a total of 1.25 cups of beans. Any combination will still work, because the flavours of the stew are nice and soothing. Almost like a little hug for a cold and wet day. Or a nice warm oasis while slurping this up at work for lunch. This is a comforting tomato-laden stew with your warming Indian spices: cumin, garlic and garam masala. Add heat to taste, but with my mild tastes, I kept the chili flakes to a minimum.

And with that, we have an easy month of beans. They are so versatile, that I encourage you to continue to see how you can add them to your meals. Cathy wrote a wicked awesome round-up earlier this month with even more ways to incorporate beans that I encourage you to read. She even has ideas for beans in your breakfast and dessert, too!

Who knows, maybe next year for VeganMoFo I will plan ahead to do 31 days of DIFFERENT beans.. Not sure whether I have that many, but it would be close! 😉

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 31, 2011 at 6:15 AM

Onto curry #3…

While I have made some great Indian food, Rob’s kitchen territory reigns in India. He loves spicy and anything curry, whereas I prefer dishes that are more mild and don’t have that curry flavour that we still have yet to pin down to a specific spice (?asafoetida ?peppercorns ?amchoor). Now that we will be sharing more meals together, we are trying to compromise with our meals. Hence, my plethora of curries!

I decided to make dal palak, a classic Indian lentil dish jam-packed with spinach. No curry powder in the recipe? Perfect! I was still a bit hesitant to try the dish, despite its rave reviews, because I have had a similar paneer-based dish at a friend’s house. They knew I had a sensitive palate, but had to throw in chilis for flavour, they told me. For me, it was too earthy and too spicy. A true Indian family, they told me it was the blandest food they had ever made! I ate what I could, which wasn’t much.

So with this hesitation, I was cursing as I had nearly every burner going on the stove plus the food processor and spice grinder. This multi-step meal requires a steamed spinach paste that is combined with soft red lentils and spiced with a fragrant mixture of garlic, shallots, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and lime juice. Just a hint of spice from the Aleppo chili flakes.

While I was initially cursing, this all dissipated when I finally sampled the dish. This was glorious. The fresh spinach and freshly ground coriander seeds were sweet and it was balanced by the earthy, but not heavy cumin. The fresh lime juice brought this to the next level.

I never knew Indian food could taste so good with such limited ingredients. It wasn’t laden in oil, it was bursting in a creamy spinach soupy mixture. I ate it as is, similar to a stew, but it would be great combined with brown basmati rice, or served with some paratha or roti.

Rob was sad that I rarely make recipes a second time, and thus worried we could possibly forget about this gem. However, this is probably the first thing I will think about when spinach goes on sale for 47c/bunch again. 🙂

Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)
This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dal Bhat (Nepalese Mountain Lentil Curry)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 AM

My friend will be hiking up to the Mount Everest base camp in a few weeks. Last month, Rob and I joined her for a morning weekend hike starting at Hilton Falls. Rob picked out a nice trail. Just a short 8km hike, he told us. It will probably take 2 hours.

I love hiking, but let’s just say that I was woefully unprepared for this hike.

Never go unprepared, let’s just put it at that…

However, this wasn’t an 8km 2 hour hike.

It turned out to be a rocky 13km hike that took 4.5 hours!

I was hungry. And thirsty. And sore.. and tired, because I hadn’t slept well the night before, and by the end, cranky beyond belief. And positively pooped when we finished.  Good thing I am not hiking up Mount Everest just yet! Although hopefully I am ready for my upcoming hikes in Iceland {happy dance!}

Regardless, the scenery was nice, the route challenging and more importantly, we were able to chat about my friend’s impending trip.

Of course, we also talked about food. She’ll be eating a lot of dal bhat, which is Nepal’s traditional dish with lentils and rice.  She has yet to take us up on our offer to preview Nepalese cuisine, but after remembering what a nice, soothing dish it was, I asked Rob to make it when I was feeling unwell.

Rob did a double-take as well. Me? Asking for a curry when feeling sick? I wanted something soothing, comforting and porridge-like, akin to my quinoa and red lentil kitchari. I wanted something on the blander side but still with some flavour. Curries do not have to have lots of pepper (especially if you make them yourself), which is why dal bhat definitely hit the spot, and kicking off my week of beginner curries. Curries for people who don’t like curry.

This recipe was adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves, where we swapped in red lentils, decreased the water and fiddled with the chili peppers. Otherwise, the warming spices including coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom create a soothing palate. Quick cooking red lentils make this a nice meal that can easily be added to your meal rotation. Or if you are hiking up Mount Everest, a delicious meal to sustain you up the mountainous climb. As with all curries, the leftovers are even more wonderful as the flavours meld further and thicken up with the rice.

This is my submission to E.A.T. World for Nepal, to this week’s Potluck Party for Best Dish and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quinoa and Red Lentil Kitchari

In Mains (Vegetarian) on June 29, 2011 at 6:17 AM

A week ago was the big move. From condo to house. You wouldn’t believe how much can accumulate in a 1 bedroom apartment, especially when you have a fondness for cookbooks and dried beans. All my houseplants don’t make it that easy to move, either, but I was incredibly grateful for everyone’s help to move us into our new place.

When helping with a move,  there are ways to help even if you don’t have lots of muscle power (like me!). My mom, even though she can pump more weight than me by far, so thoughtfully, offered to help by making a veritable feast for everyone helping with the move. Everyone raved about the Mango BBQ Beans which were better this time with black eyed peas, and as usual my mom made a nice buttermilk-based coleslaw from America’s Test Kitchens, our family French Potato Salad, hummus with hamburgers and sausages for the carnivores.   As a forward-thinker, she made tons of food so there were leftovers. This way, Rob and I didn’t have to think about making food for a while. And feed our friends both lunch and dinner, since it took that long to help us move. 😛

Once all the boxes were moved in, we made sure we had a bed with sheets so we could crash that night. My next priority room was the kitchen (it took 5 days for me to hook my laptop to the internet!). While pantry items are still all over the place in unpacked boxes, the major appliances, knives, cutlery, plates, spices, etc, have all found a place in the kitchen. I could wiggle my way around the kitchen by the end of the weekend which felt great.

The first meal I made in our new home was this Quinoa and Red Lentil Kitchari, adapted from The 30-Minute Vegan. I wanted something quick, tasty and healthy. This is an endlessly variable recipe, throwing in your favourite vegetables, mixing up the herbs, swapping the miso and ginger for lime juice or toasted sesame oil.

Kitchari, according to Reinfeld, is a healing meal according to Ayurveda, a traditional medicine from India. At its core, it is a mixture of two grains, in this case quinoa and red lentils, which both cook up quickly. Other recipes use mung beans and basmati rice with more traditional Indian flavours, but really anything goes.

This was a simple porridge-type stew, like a lentil-based dal with crunchy quinoa. Not only was this a great dish to eat, it was simple to prepare without too much fuss.  I could throw in any vegetable and work with the herbs in the garden, and the items I still had left in my fridge. In this version, you have great texture from the cabbage and colour from the carrots. We debated which flavour was more pronounced, but I thought the dill worked great with the hint of miso. My friend thought ginger was more prominent. In any case, we all enjoyed it.

When life seems to be so chaotic, it was great to come back to eat this and bring me back to some peace.  I just haven’t figured out the best place to photograph my meals in the new house! The scourge of an East-facing kitchen. 😉

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six Shades of Red Soup (Beet, Potato and Red Lentil Soup with Dill)

In Soups on June 1, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Despite being of Central and Eastern European descent, I actually don’t cook many German or Ukrainian dishes (mainly special treats, though). However, Rob’s parents are very keen on traditional Polish food, and when they came to visit last weekend to help with the burgeoning garden, I wanted to create a meal that everyone would enjoy.

I knew the raw kale salad with beets was a hit over Easter, so I figured I would pick a dish that had similar familiar ingredients: beets, potatoes and dill. That may sound so boring and bland, but I knew I hit jackpot when I spotted the Six Shades of Red Soup in Color Me Vegan (original recipe posted here). It was a virtually fat-free soup filled with red lentils, red potatoes, beets, (red) onion, dill and the perfect twist: red miso. The sixth shade of red was from vegetable juice, which I omitted. I also increased the dill and pureed half the soup for a creamier consistency.

Six Shades of Red Soup (Beet, Potato and Red Lentil Soup with Dill)
As you can see, this was a beautiful soup.  It deepened in colour overnight and the flavours melded wonderfully. It was creamy, yet chunky, with sweetness from the beets but structure from the potatoes with a hint of dill and a depthness brought from the red miso.

I am happy to report that it met the approval of the traditional Polish folk. Not your traditional borscht, different, but in a  good way, is how they put it and invited me to make it again anytime. Me, redo a recipe? By request from special people only!

This made a ton of soup, with generous servings, so I was able to enjoy the leftovers. The soup doubled as a perfect meal while cycling last weekend. With the long distances, I prefer to eat more liquid-based foods (ie, soup! homemade sports drink! smoothies!) and this hit the spot. It was light on my stomach and jammed full of vegetables and miso providing sodium and potassium, which is important to replenish when exercising.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Served with Love and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, founded by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments and hosted by Jacqueline.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Lentil and Lemon Soup

In Appetizers, Favourites, Soups on April 18, 2011 at 6:19 AM

Red Lentil and Lemon Soup
Since declaring myself vegan (although in addition to cutting out dairy, fish and meat, I have also cut out refined sugars, flours, breads and pasta; focusing more on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes), this has caused quite a hubbub amongst my friends and family when we eat together. What will I eat? Does the restaurant have a Janet-friendly vegan option? And what the heck will I eat over Easter?

I didn’t really anticipate this, because my meals have gradually become vegan over time. Combined with a few new cookbooks and new (and old) blogs that I follow, the transition in my own kitchen has been easy and gone un-noticed for the most part. I just had to switch from my 1% milk to a nondairy drink (I have been meticulously documenting my experiences to find my favourite).

I am hoping my blog can inspire others to try recipes that are filled with more whole foods. Contrary to popular belief, the foods I eat taste good. I make no apologies for including a lot of fresh produce and spices, because that’s where the flavour comes from.

However, there are lots of recipes that I make that are very simple and fast, too. I first made this soup to rave reviews from my family over Christmas, including my Dad who doesn’t really like beans, and I plan on breaking it out again over Easter. Adapted from the New York Times, red lentils are simmered into a creamy yet chunky soup, that is complemented by a smoky cumin-tomato broth  yet becomes a light soup with the fresh lemon juice. The cilantro is stirred right into the soup and adds the brightness that makes this soup so special, so please do not skip this step.  Such a simple recipe, yet it is more than the sum of its parts. Decadent enough to be served to company and quick enough to prepare so that you can enjoy their company instead of labouring in the kitchen. Easy to double so you can enjoy leftovers for a few days.

What vegan meals do you enjoy sharing with others that are not vegan?

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo from Cook (Almost) Anything.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Lentil, Spinach, and Lemon Soup

In Soups on February 9, 2011 at 5:24 AM

Red Lentil, Spinach, and Lemon Soup

Here’s another guest post by me, Rob, enthusiast of the tempeh and the tamarind… and this blog!

One day, not too long ago, Saveur told me about a certain dish she was planning to make. This dish featured one of my favourite ingredients: tamarind! She was making it for this blog. I’m sure that you will see it soon. This dish was right up my alley and I wanted to make it for myself, too. She told me that I could borrow the cookbook so I could transcribe the recipe for myself… as long as she got it back the next day. She needed it!

She was very excited about this cookbook. It was Radiant Health, Inner Wealth by Quintessence C. Challis. It was full of many vegan recipes that were designed to be as healthy and fulfilling as possible. I think she has big plans for this cookbook. I can see why she needed it back.

When I took the book home I began to leaf through it to evaluate its potential. The photograph on the cover was simply entrancing: pineapple, mangos, kiwifruits, shredded coconut, fried cubes of tofu, peanuts… these are some of my favourite things! It’s not just tamarind and tempeh that get me all wobbly in the knees, after all. Was this cookbook designed for me? Did the author know that I would be starting at this cover and be hypnotized?

As my interest was piqued, I continued looking through the book. One dish, the Lemon-Ginger Miso Medicine asks the reader, “How exactly will this soup give you the superpowers?” That’s liberal use of the definite article! The cookbook has the good style! And who wouldn’t want some superpowers?

However, neither the tamarind recipe nor the miso medicine were the recipes that caught my attention that night. It was the Red Lentil, Spinach, and Lemon Soup. The description of this recipe commented that red lentils are “one of those foods that proves life is good!” I agree! That’s one of my mantras: life is good! It’s short and you have to make the most of it.

It was a sign. I had to make this. The various tamarind dishes could get in the queue and wait for later.

Unlike many soups, this one doesn’t have much fat or salt. It was full of healthy lentils. The spinach and garlic are added at the end and cooked only a little bit, helping to preserve any good stuff inside them. I made it, ate the leftovers for days, and just made it again the other day. One good soup deserves another round, right?

This is being sent to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays. Read the rest of this entry »

Syrian Vegetarian Bulgur Patties (Kibbeh)

In Appetizers, Mains (Vegetarian) on December 9, 2010 at 11:25 PM

While I have had a few flops, most of the recipes I try are very good. It helps that I know which ingredients I am more likely to enjoy, and I also try to choose tried-and-true recipes that others have praised as well. Am I the only one that scoots down to the bottom of the comments to see if anyone else actually made the same recipe? It is the first place I go, and another reason why I love browsing people’s recipe archives. 🙂

Aromas of Aleppo is a gorgeous cookbook featuring recipes from the Jews that formerly lived in Syria. But gorgeous photos does make a great recipe. One of the recipes I was immediately drawn to was the vegetarian kibbeh recipe, which are bulgur patties with red lentils, minced tomato, bell peppers, scallions and seasoned with cumin and chili flakes. This recipe had everything going for it except one thing – the amount of oil. Kibbeh is common in the Middle East, and can be baked, grilled, fried or as in the this case, none of the above. After the bulgur and red lentils are cooked, they are chilled and then eaten as-is.

I have adapted the original recipe. First I halved it because the recipe made a TON of food. Second, decreased the oil. The original (doubled) recipe called for 2 cups of oil, which is outrageous. I almost put it all in, as I wasn’t really thinking straightly at the time. Must. Not. Follow. Recipes. Blindly. My version still had too much oil, so I plead with you not the make the same mistake I did. You can definitely work with less, but feel free to experiment with the amount of oil to get a texture you prefer.

These are very flavourful patties, but I will admit to only forming the torpedos for the photos. Otherwise, I just used a spoon to scoop out the mixture. Serve with tamarind concentrate, tahini, or alongside other appetizers.

This is my submission to Tobias’ 14th Mediterranean Cooking Event, featuring dishes from Syria.

Read the rest of this entry »