Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Long time no see, fellow bloggers! I can’t believe how busy I’ve been the last few weeks. Hope you can forgive me. I made this soup a few Mondays ago, but never got around to sharing it with you.

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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Ingredients
1/2 cup red lentils
5 baby gold potatoes
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 mini red peppers
1 large spoonful of tomato paste
6-8 cups of water or vegetable broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Parsley

Directions

1. Cut the tops of the red peppers. Remove the seeds and rinse with water. Roll in olive oil and broil in the oven until slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.

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2. Boil red lentils in a small to medium sized pot until soft. Lower heat to simmer.
3. Saute onions, carrots, and potatoes in olive oil. Once transparent, mix in the tomato paste. Pour mixture into the pot with the lentils.

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4. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, then add the roasted red peppers and seasonings.
5. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

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I love how creamy this soup was without a single drop of actual cream. It was also very filling and tasty.

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French Onion Soup

Have you ever been to Nordstrom Bistro? I used to work close to a mall with one of these and it was one of my favorite lunch spots. Yummy chicken, sandwiches, garlic aoili, and French Onion Soup. It was the perfect place to reward myself for getting through those stressful days.

After falling in love with Nordstrom’s version, I’ve been itching to try my hand at this classic soup. And tonight, I decided, would finally be the big day.

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One of the main things that kept me from making this soup sooner was finding the right recipe. I’ve tried French Onion Soup at a few other restaurants only to be greatly disappointed.

I tried to find the Nordstrom recipe…but I couldn’t trust the ingredient list. Guess I’ll have to actually buy their cookbook to know for sure. In the meantime, I found confidence in Martha Stewart’s French Onion Soup recipe. So I hit the store to gather the ingredients.

There were two key ingredients I struggled to find: dry sherry and guyere cheese. Thanks to Google, I learned that sherry is either kept with wine or vinegar. As for the guyere, all I found was apple smoked guyere. It turned out okay, but it didn’t melt very well and didn’t have the original taste. I guess I’ll try Whole Foods next time.

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French Onion Soup

Ingredients

3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 chopped mushrooms
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp sugar
1 large yellow onion (I cut mine with a mandoline slicer)
1 tsp Thyme
Salt and pepper
Guyere cheese
French bread slices

Directions

STEP 1
Melt butter in a heavy pot on medium-low heat. Add onions. Spread them out in as thin a layer as possible. Sprinkle with sugar, and cook, stirring just as needed to keep onions from sticking, until they are melting and soft, golden brown, and beginning to caramelize, about 1 hour.
STEP 2
Sprinkle flour over onions, and stir to coat. Add sherry, stock, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
STEP 3
Meanwhile, lightly toast bread under a broiler; set aside. Ladle hot soup into ovenproof bowls. Arrange the bowls on a baking pan. Place 1 or 2 slices of toasted bread over each bowl of soup. Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese over bread in each bowl, and place under the broiler until cheese is melted and crusty brown around the edges. Watch carefully that bread doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.

Le sigh. This soup tasted good…but it was a little too heavy. Not sure if it was the sherry or the broth or what…but I’d definitely make some more adjustments to the recipe next time around. It was a lot of work for a Wednesday night. :/

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Meatless Monday – Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It’s Monday again…and you know what that means…it’s time for another Meatless Monday recipe. I’ve been wanting to make a really delicious broccoli cheddar soup for a while now and I may have found the best recipe ever. I modified it a little, of course, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

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The thing I liked best about this soup is that everything was cooked in one pot, making clean up a little less cumbersome. Cooking every night is great, but I do get tired of the constant dishes.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup half n half
1 cup milk
2 cups filtered water (no tap)
2 tsp Better Than Chicken Boullion
1/4 cup orzo pasta
8oz sharp cheddar
1/2 lb broccoli
1 handful of carrots sticks
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Melt butter over onions and garlic
2. Add flour and stir

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3. Pour in half n half, milk, water, and chicken paste
4. Cook on medium-high heat until it’s just about to boil
5. Mix in broccoli and carrots, lower heat to a simmer for 20 minutes
6. Mix in cheddar, orzo pasta, and spices
7. Cook for another 10-15 minutes
8. Serve with bread or crackers

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Tortellini Soup

Pinterest is my go to when I’m looking for something new to make. I just scroll for minutes to hours on end, looking at pretty pictures of food. Later on when I’m in the mood for something new, I have a database of recipes just waiting to be used.

Tonight I was finally able to use the tortellini soup recipe I found.

Whenever I’m going to cook something new, I always read through the recipe a few times. It’s like preparing for a final exam. I want to know how long it will take, what ingredients I need, and what I can change about it. This practice has saved me from many unpleasant surprises…like finding out something needs to bake for 3 hours when you’re hungry now.

Luckily this tortellini soup was easy and quick to make. Perfect for a busy night after a busy day.

I followed the basic instructions, but made some adjustments with the ingredients: I used a sort of chicken stock paste instead of boullilon cubes; omitted the Italian sausage and replaced it with sauteed onions, garlic, and mushrooms; and used 2 cups of tortellini instead of 3.

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When it comes to new recipes, my boyfriend is a hard sell. He likes what he likes and he’s not afraid to say what he doesn’t like. His honesty has done so much for my cooking. It means a lot that I can trust him to tell me what he really thinks about the things I make.

The verdict on the soup? He liked the aroma and flavor but wasn’t impressed with the texture. He felt like something was missing. His suggestion for next time? Make a thicker sauce and add broccolli and potatoes. Make it more of a pasta dish and less of a soup. Brilliant idea. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I get a chance to reanimate. 😉

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Dinner – Lentil soup, sauteed mushrooms, and pan fried chicken medallions

Tonight’s meal was full of some of my favorite foods. Since a lot of the things I make use similar ingredients, there are certain items you are almost guaranteed to find in my kitchen at any point in time:

Onions

Olive oil

Tomato paste

Red and green lentils

Rice

Pretty much everything you need to make Ezo Gelin Çorbası, a classic Turkish lentil soup. As usual, I was cooking for 2 tonight, so I started by boiling a cup of red lentils and a chicken bouillon cube in 5 cups of filtered water. Red lentils take approximately 20 minutes to cook, but I recommend learning when they’re ready by sight/a taste test since stovetop cooking times generally vary. The goal is get the lentils nice and soft (sort of like cooking rice). Speaking of rice, the traditional recipe calls for a bit of rice (like a 1/4 cup or less), but I just skipped this step since I didn’t have any.

While the lentils cook, saute onions in olive oil, adding a large spoonful of tomato paste once the onions are translucent. Again, I had to modify because I ran out of tomato paste. Instead I added half a can of tomato soup directly into the lentils and then the sauteed onions. The soup was a slightly lighter orange than it normally would be, but the difference in taste was negligible. 🙂 Next, season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Finally, I removed the soup from the heat and blended everything together using my Kitchenaid immersion blender (my second favorite kitchen tool after my mandoline slicer).

Over the last couple of months, I have fallen hard for white mushrooms. I used to be terrified of them, but after finding this cooking method, I can’t get enough of them!

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I used to buy my white mushrooms pre-washed and sliced, until I figured out how much cheaper it was to buy them in bulk. Now I get twice the mushrooms I was getting before. Sure I have to rinse and slice them, but it’s worth it.

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The important thing with mushrooms is that they shouldn’t be moved around a lot once cooking on the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and let them be for about 8 minutes before turning them over (medium, high heat). After you turn them over, add chopped onions and garlic.

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Two of the healthiest and most delicious flavors from Mother Earth! Once the onions and garlic are cooked through, add salt, black pepper, thyme, and a splash of soy sauce. Soo good with steak or chicken.

Speaking of chicken, I also made some chicken medallions from a single chicken breast. I’m planning a separate post about my chicken method for an another time, but for now, here’s a picture of the complete meal on a bed of spinach.

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Relatively simple and quick…and soo good. I could use a walk now, I’m so full!

What did you make for dinner?

Kerry

Soup – Healing Chicken Soup

This is another big weekend for us. Friends are visiting from out of town, restaurant reservations are made, and fun is about to be had. But illness doesn’t care about plans. Those viruses just invite themselves in and make themselves comfortable. Luckily I am prepared for this unexpected visit and can get it under control before it rains on my oh so happy parade. This is an age old remedy that’s proved itself for generations: good old fashioned chicken soup. It’s antiviral, it’s tasty, soothing, and very easy to make.

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Start by boiling chicken in a mixture of filtered water and chicken broth (a bouillon cube or two will work fine as well). For two people, I usually boil a single chicken breast with about 6-8 cups of broth/water. This is great because I can just pull one from the freezer and drop it right into the pot.

While, the chicken cooks, saute a handful of chopped white onions in olive oil. Then squeeze 2-3 lemons and set aside. When the chicken is completely white, I usually add a half cup of Orzo pasta. Today I was out so I broke spaghetti into little pieces.

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Before adding the pasta, remove the chicken and place it on a cutting board. While pasta cooks, shred the chicken into bite sized strips. The chicken will be hot so you may want to use a knife at first. But I prefer to use my hands. I don’t usually shred the entire chicken breast but it’s completely up to you.

Now you can put the shredded chicken, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a little salt and pepper into the pot.

So simple! Feel free to add carrots, celery, or garlic. But I like it plain.

One bowl of this and you’ll be feeling better in no time! I know I do. 🙂

Happy Friday,

Kerry