I can’t figure how this happens, but occasionally there’s an extra piece of salmon at our house–typically from a dinner party. Usually, the following night, I throw it in the food processor with cheese, herbs, and garlic; we spread it on crackers or scoop it up with fresh vegetables and have it with a glass of wine. Other times it’s chopped and added to some simple greens because who doesn’t like that instant sort of dinner? #justaddvinaigretteContinue reading
A stocked pantry is something like a gold mine when you’re hungry and you have no idea what’s for lunch. A peek into one big drawer of mine includes several kinds of dried beans, at least 5 kinds of rice, bulgar, barley, polenta, oats, couscous, farro, quinoa, a variety of dried fruits, and usually a couple of kinds of lentils. (A big bank account makes a lot of people feel secure, but I’m rich when my cabinets are full.) When I have no idea what’s to eat, lentils are my go-to. They’re easy, fast, filling, healthy as can be (see below), pair with nearly anything and in many a direction, and they’re even pretty darned inexpensive.Continue reading
|Originally published three years ago, April 2, 2014 on my dinnerplace.blogspot.com site.|
Once, while visiting my sister, I said, “How about some lentil soup?” (I knew I was cooking dinner.) She shuddered and made as if to retch, all the while saying, “I love lentil soup, but…” Turns out that years ago, when she was still cooking for her family, a very large and delicious kettle of the soup went uneaten by anyone except by her. Days went by, the soup remained, she kept eating until….well, you might get the picture. Continue reading
Despite the fact that I’m a vegetable-crazy person, I often forget to put up a post for Meatless Mondays. I nearly always eat vegetables with eggs or, more often with egg whites, (the dogs get the yolks) for breakfast…
Above: Sauté spinach a minute or two in a teaspoon or two olive oil in a small, nonstick skillet with a little red onion or shallot, crack egg whites only (2-3) evenly on top, season with salt and pepper, and cover, cooking until whites are opaque. Garnish with salsa.
…but rarely write a recipe or post as the meals seem so simple–like the egg white and spinach omelet above.
Here are a few I have written and posted:
Yesterday as I thought about what dinner might bring, I kept going back to some salmon fillets I had squirreled away in the freezer. The weather had warmed up — no snow except on the Peak — and grilling was back online. Note sun on the lentils….
There was also a pound of fat asparagus waiting for its dip in the olive oil bath before grilling (contrary to popular opinion thicker asparagus has more taste than the skinny variety), but as good as all that sounded, I thought there was something missing. A bed for the protein to rest in, so to speak. We were hungry, for goodness sake. We needed something that would make for another night’s meal all by itself or for a couple of lunches, but that would cushion the blow of the salmon on the plate. Continue reading
There’s little better pot of gold in the fridge than a lentil salad. Make that curried lentil salad and we’re nudging platinum; you’re rich! Full of protein (add rice for a complete protein), fiber, color, texture, and nutrients, it’s a hefty and quick supper that translates into a week’s lunches at home or work as it travels so perfectly well. Tuck it into a pita or a tortilla. Warm a big spoonful and eat with scrambled eggs; it will love you all the more. See below.
Lentils are that perfect landscape upon which almost anything can be planted, grown, and harvested. They’re a warming winter soup or a trusty spring salad. They’re a platter for big hunks of protein when need be.
After Thanksgiving, and just before the Christmas cookie baking and bingeing, it might be time for a big, thick, healthy slow-cooker soup. If you practice the great tradition of Advent, maybe you’re cleaning your physical as well as your spiritual house in preparation for greeting God. Whatever the case, this meal is great for dinner and then to take for filling lunches and will keep you from hitting the candy machine or the chip bag about 3pm. Probably.
below: daughter Emily baking apple pie for our Thanksgiving
Having just spent a week at the beach, it was hard for me to come back to reality. (Too much pie, of course. Is that possible?) But it was time to find something to cook for dinner and I took the easy way out: slow-cooker. Continue reading
I love and adore lentil soup. (Hint: Don’t eat it three days running.)
When I say this to my sister, she says,
“OH NO! I HATE LENTIL SOUP. Though I once loved it.”
Now how could anyone hate lentil soup? (Unless they’ve never eaten it. I think, in my sister’s case, she ate it three days running. That’s how I know.)
I don’t think I ever ate lentil soup as a child. (I could be wrong.) My mom, from the south, more than likely made bean soup or pinto bean soup. I can’t remember where I first ate lentil soup. We lived in Europe during the late ’80’s…maybe then. But, I’m guessing it might have been in a restaurant. Which one? Your guess is as good as mine. No matter. The fact is, I make incredible lentil soup.
Ok, most ANYONE makes incredible lentil soup. And, if you don’t? I’m here to teach you how.
The beauty of lentil soup is thus: Although it appears like a forever-and-a-day-cooked legume soup, lentil is pretty fast. And if you pour boiling water over the lentils as you begin the soup, it’s even faster. (A hint: split pea is fast, too. It’s a camping soup, even.) So if you want food to look like (or taste like) you spent all day long at it, go to the mall til 4. Rush home, start the soup, and look like a heroine at dinner. No one needs to know you were trying on high-heeled red leather boots at 3:55pm.
And what about the Croque, Monsieur? I’ll tell you how to do that in a flash as well. Think grilled ham and cheese and you’re almost done. Really, it’s Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame (if you put a fried egg on top).. and this my take on these sandwiches; they’re very tasty. There are other more complicated croque monsieurs and madames; you can look them up. I like the very easy monsieur here.
It so feels like fall here… And today the mountains are covered in Moses-like clouds. While the heat is not on yet, it may be tomorrow.
below: Dave enjoying some soup on the deck on October 21, 2010
Oh, and thank God for The Church at Woodmoor and for Dr. Tom’s cat Olive returning home. Take care of my nephew John. Amen. There. Thanks to all for all the incredible birthday wishes. Now on to the soup!
Pancetta Lentil Soup
1# green or brown lentils (I like green)
3-4 c boiling water
1-2 oz pancetta (Italian bacon) diced (or 3 pieces American bacon, diced)*
6 stalks celery, diced (You can use food processor for all of veggies-in batches-for speed.)
3 onions, diced
2 shallots or 1 leed (white part) diced
4oz mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1t fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried thyme
3 qt chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 c white wine (or water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c chopped new potatoes
15 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow (summer) squash, chopped
Kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper
Droplets of Tabasco (or other) hot sauce
1/2 c Parmesan, grated
Bring to a boil 3-4 cups of water and pour over lentils in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a 10-12 qt. stock pot, saute chopped pancetta over medium heat until golden. Add celery, onions, shallots or leeks and mushrooms. Stir in herbs. Saute until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Stir often.
Add broth and wine or water and bring to a boil. Add lentils, garlic, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and squashes. Season with 2t salt and 1/2 t pepper and several drops of Tabasco. Taste and adjust seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to high simmer. Let cook until vegetables and lentils are tender–about an hour. (Less at sea level.) Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in large bowls and pass Parmesan at the table.
*For another lentil soup, use chopped ham here or even sliced kielbasa. I have often used bulk breakfast sausage for a very hearty soup. If you’d like a veggie or vegan soup, simply saute the veggies in olive oil only, use vegetable broth, and skip the Parmesan cheese.
Lovely with Croque Monsieur sandwiches.
Alyce’s Quick Croque Monsieur or Ham and Cheese Grilled French Toast
2T each, butter and olive oil
8 slices Italian bread
2T Dijon-style mustard
Salt and pepper
1/2# Black Forest ham (or your favorite ham)
1/4# Sliced Swiss Cheese (I like Emmanthaler)
Heat oven to 250 degrees F and place a cookie sheet in oven.
In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.
Meantime, beat eggs and water in a large, shallow bowl (a pasta bowl works well). Season with a good-sized pinch of salt and pepper. Beat again.
Spread each piece of bread lightly with Dijon mustard. With the mustard-covered sides facing inward, layer four slices of bread with ham and top with cheese, dividing the meat and cheese equally amongst the four slices. Top each with another slice of bread and dip in the beaten egg-water mixture. Turn sandwich over and wet the other side well with the egg-water mixture.
Gently place each sandwich in the heated pan. Cook until the first side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side of both sandwiches until that side is brown. Remove to cookie sheet in oven to keep warm and repeat with other two sandwiches.
Serve with hot lentil soup.
below: apples and peanut butter-fall dessert
Cold weather means nothing when there’s food like this. Lovely with an almost-cold glass of Chardonnay.
Sing a new song,
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Alas, alack. Skippy has been gone a couple of weeks now. Back “home.” Anecdotal evidence appears to indicate he misses us not… Oh well.
Above: Big-Mouth Gab
Below: Grandma Melinda and Katie with baby-to-be due in November
Meantime, I’ve promised my physical therapist I’ll blog about my fitness. So, here are a few sentences until later: I’ve been in physical therapy for months regaining my upper-body strength, sapped by years of bad conducting practices, tendonitis, and pinched nerves. Over the last two months, I’ve begun lifting weights and have addeed other exercises. This month, I’ve graduated to a “Y” membership, where I’ve begun to think of myself as gymrat. Kind of. Dave is going, too…when he’s home. While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a new woman, I’m certainly not the same being as before. As I figure out how to talk about it, I’ll say more. I will say that if you spend a half an hour on the treadmill, watching how many calories you burn go up ever so slowly, you’re less apt to over-indulge at lunch.