November – Curried Red Lentil Soup

November – Curried Red Lentil Soup

Fall is here and this soup has the color and flavor of October, perfect for cooler weather. Make it ahead, it is even better after standing overnight. It will, however, thicken. Thin it as needed with additonal water and check the seasonings to see if you need to add more.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup

The crunchy topping is a perfect contrast to the creamy soup.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Serves 6

Soup ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (1″) piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and diced
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups of stemmed and torn kale leaves
  • 5 tablespoons of curry powder (mine was mild, you may want to use less if your own is spicy)
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of gochugaru (or none if your curry powder is hot)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 cups of red lentils, rinsed and examined for small stones
  • 1 14.5 oz can of coconut milk (I used full fat)

Spiced cashew topping:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of cashews
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

For serving: fresh mint leaves, fresh thyme leaves and lemon zest

Method:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the carrots, potato, kale, curry powder, salt, gochugaru (if using), and pepper. Cook stirring until the kale wilts.
  2. Add 6 cups of water, lentils, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are creamy and the potato is tender…about 30 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, leaving some small chunks for texture. Or cool and puree part of the soup in a regular blender. Make sure the soup is cool or you will have an volcano of hot soup spouting out the top. (It has happened to me and is not a pleasant clean up not to mention a potential scalding.)
  4. To serve, top with the spiced cashews, torn mint leaves, thyme and grated lemon zest.

Spiced Cashews:

  1. In a medium skillet over medium low heat, heat the oil. Add the cashews and pepitas,stirring, until golden. Add the sesame seeds, sugar, coriander, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup

This soup can thicken on standing, if needed add more water to thin. Check the seasoning before serving to see if you need to add more salt or spices.

Any extra topping is delicous used with other soups, roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash…even on a salad.

October – Health Food Salad

October – Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

I am giving you a post Thanksgiving recipe today, a salad you may want to eat after the glorious overindulgence in traditional Thanksgiving sides and desserts. I know I will be serving it. You could even toss in some leftover turkey to make it a whole meal. I think the folks over at Fiesta Friday may want to tag it. Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie, it’s Fiesta Friday #458 this week. Come on over and plan your menus for the holidays, decorate your home, or keep the kids busy with activities or baking.

This is another recipe from salad freak. You are going to be seeing more great recipes from this book. My version, as usual, has some changes as not all the ingredients were available. But it is definitely true to the spirit of the recipe. I added a small handful of shredded pecorino which was not in the book, leave it out for a vegan version.

Adding the cheese was inspired by a recipe in Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life. She has a very simple but delicious Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper which couldn’t be easier. Here it is:

In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt. Very finely (essential) shred about 1-1/2 lbs of cored red cabbage. Discard any with white cores. Toss the cabbage in a bowl with a large spoonful or two of the dressing. Add the Parmesan and toss again. Add a generous grind of fresh pepper. Taste and add more dressing or salt and pepper.

Anyway, on to the current version of this cabbage salad.

I used the fine blade of my food processor to shredd the cored cabbage, and the shredding blade for the carrots. You could certainly do this with a knife (a bread knife might be easier for the cabbage) and the large shredding side of a box grater.

Feel free to improvise here with whatever is in your fridge. Thinly sliced fennel would be good, celery as well.

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 2 large handfuls of sprouts, any kind you find. I used sunflower and pea shoots, but radish, lentils or alfalfa would all be fine.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of raisins (I used a mix of golden and black currents because of was out of the dark ones…much to my last minute surprise)
  • 1 cup of roasted shelled sunflower seeds (I think pumpkin seeds would also be delicious)
  • 1/4 cup of hemp seeds (I didn’t have any and left them out)
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan (leave out for a vegan version)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Method:

  1. Core the cabbage and shave it thinly into a large bowl. Grate the carrots into the same bowl.
  2. Toss in the sprouts, raisins, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and hemp seeds, if using. Mix it all up and then add a large pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and the juice of half the lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, Parmesan or olive oil if needed.

This salad keeps incredibly well and was still delicious the next night for dinner with some added rotisserie chicken.

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

From:

salad freak

Salad Freak by Jess Damuck

October – Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

October – Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

This small plate elevates roasted vegetables to a new high. It could serve as a vegan main course if you tossed it with some brown rice or put it on top of a crisp pizza crust.

It’s also perfect as part of a tapas spread with flat bread, some dolmas, feta and olives.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

End-of-season tomatoes or even out-of-season ones would be fine as they are roasted to concentrate their flavors. The miso-tahini sauce further enlivens the dish and would also be delicious on a baked sweet potato or butternut squash, or as a dressing for green or grain salads.

Serve this just out of the oven or at room temperature.

The recipe comes from the cookbook the Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach. It’s a cookbook I recieved for Christmas this past year and have just started using more frequently.

the Weekday Vegetarians

the Weekday Vegetarians

Their premise is that, as a family, they agreed to be vegetarians during the week and only eat meat on the weekends. There are lots of interesting recipes most of which are very vegetable forward.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of small eggplants (if you can get Fairy Tale ones, those would be perfect…I couldn’t)
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 Italian plum tomates or 10-12 smaller ones
  • freshly chopped flat leaf parsley for garnishing

Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons of tahini
  • 2 teaspoons of white miso
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, or squeezed juice of 1/2 small one
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 3-6 tablespoons of water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch-thick slices and toss them with the olive oil in a large bowl, add salt and pepper. If you manage to get smaller eggplants, cut them in half. Place them in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet pan.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half (or quarters if large) and add them to the same bowl, coating them with the remaining oil. Nestle them between the eggplant slices.
  4. Bake on the lowest shelf of your oven for 20 minutes, then turn the eggplant slices and return the sheet pan to the center of the oven. Bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes until the eggplant is browned and crispy and the tomatoes are shriveled. I removed the eggplant slices and returned the tomatoes to the oven for another 10 minutes as they needed more time.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. In a small bowl or jar combine the tahini, miso, lemon juice, maple syrup and 4 tablespoons of water. Whisk or shake the jar vigorously to combine, adding the additional 2 tablespoons of water to thin it if needed.
  6. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter, drizzle with the tahini-miso sauce, top with choped parsley.

You can serve this warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Note: My tahini sauce was so thick it was impossible to measure. I processed it in a small food processor until it was smooth and pourable. That made it much easier to manage.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

October – Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

October – Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

This is the first of several recipes I intend to post inspired by the cookbook salad freak by jess damuck.

Salad Freak by Jess Damuck

It’s based on a recipe in the book, but I didn’t have all their listed ingredients on hand and had to do some adapting. I replaced the crunch of pomegranate seeds with some toasted walnuts, the delicata squash with cubed butternut. They served it with sheep’s milk yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt), I substituted freshly grated parmesan. Because I wanted a little more of the toasted flavor, I roasted the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts till they were brown and crunchy…the oven was off anyway for the butternut squash so why not? They were delicious scattered on top.

I used my food processor the shred the Brussels sprouts and kale but a sharp knife will do just fine.

Here’s the best thing about this recipe, it was just as delicious three days later for lunch with a little added cold chicken.

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 large delicata squash (sliced into 1/4 inch rings, seeds scooped out) or 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, washed and shredded about 1/4 inch
  • 1/2 lb. of Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and shredded about 1/4 inch
  • 1 cup of pomegranate seeds or crushed toasted walnuts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for roasting the vegetables and 3 tablespoons for the dressing
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Spread the squash, garlic cloves and outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, making sure everything is coated. Roast until the squash in golden brown and the outer leaves look charred, about 25 minutes. You can turn the squash over halfway but I didn’t.
  3. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  4. Add the shredded vegetables to a large salad bowl.
  5. If you used a food processor to shred the greens you can rinse it out to make the dressing. Squeeze the garlic from their skins into the food processor, add the honey, mustard, cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil plus salt and pepper. Process until smooth. If you don’t use the processor you can simply mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle, or with the side of your knife, or in a blender, then add the other ingredients and whisk or blend smooth.
  6. Pour the dressing over the shredded kale and Brussels sprouts. Toss well to combine and taste for seasoning. Let it sit for a few minutes to tenderize the kale or massage the dressing into the greens. Add the toasted walnuts and toss again.
  7. Arrange the squash on the side of a shallow bowl or platter, top with the kale mixture, garnish with the roasted leaves of the Brussels sprouts and the parmesan cheese.
Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

This is vegetarian, skip the cheese and spread a thin layer of coconut yogurt on your platter before adding the salad for a vegan option. I think this would make a great holiday side since it can be made ahead. It’s substantial enough to eat as a main course. Add some rotisserie chicken or roasted tofu for extra protein.

October – Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

October – Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Late fall and winter are my favorite seasons of the year. I know it’s unusual, but I love the rain. I probably wouldn’t feel the same way if I had to deal with snow and freezing weather. But, I’m lucky enough to live in a place where the temperatures rarely get below 35 degrees F. I do miss the wonderful fresh ripe tomatoes of summer though.

In most places cherry tomatoes are available 12 months of the year, and with a little doctoring they can be quite delicious even in the dead of winter.

This is the perfect way to perk them up. Add a little pesto and mozzarella and you’ll swear it’s late August.

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 10 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Slices of mozzarella or a ball of burrata
  • Pesto
  • Baguettes, halved and toasted

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, capers, anchovies, a pinch of chili flakes, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and rest on the countertop (if serving immediately) or in the refrigerator for 8 hours or up to overnight. Bring to room temperature before preparing.
  2. Top each toasted bread slice with a smear of pesto, a slice of mozzarella, and some of the tomato salad.
  3. Or, top the bread with tomato salad and a piece of burrata.
  4. Garnish with microgreens of some chopped basil, if available.

With a glass of wine you would swear it was still summer.

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Burrata

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Marinated Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella

I think the folks at Fiesta Friday will enjoy these, something to keep in their back pocket to cheer up a dark day in February. This week is Fiesta Friday #453, come on over and join Angie and the gang at this virtual blogging party.