French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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It was pretty cold and rainy over the weekend – perfect soup weather, in other words. I wanted to try something a little different, but I’d pretty much exhausted the options in Vegan Italiano. Luckily I have about 90 other cookbooks stashed away in my pantry! A little browsing and I settled on the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon.

Sadly, I only had half the required French lentils, so I had sub in a cup of brown and red lentils. (I figured while I was mixing lentils, why not go all the way with a trifecta?) The cook times on the green and brown vs. red lentils are a bit different, but it’s hard to overcook red lentils; they just break down and give the soup a rich, thick consistency that I love. Green lentils have more of a peppery flavor, so perhaps the soup wasn’t quite as flavorful as it should have been. Even so, I think it worked well enough.

Plus I kind of skimped on the paprika; I’m hardly its #1 fan, but I think maybe this is one dish it shines in. Next time I think I might go with the full amount and see what happens. (Worst case, Shane gets the soup to himself and I make a quickie pita pizza!)

Isa and Terry promise that this is “the last lentil soup recipe you will ever need” – and, while it was pretty damn tasty, I’m still partial to the Red Lentil, Lemon, and Rosemary Soup from Cookin’ Up a Storm. There’s nothing quite like slurping warm rosemary and lemon from a mug.

Lentil Bolognese

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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This little gem of a recipe is from Vegan’s Daily Companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. While not a cookbook proper – it features 365 days of vegan inspiration, including but not limited to cooking tips and recipes – each weekend is all about recipes, so. Many of them are reprints from the author’s previous cookbooks, but this one’s an original sent in by Barbara Lyons. Barb, you rock, and so does your Lentil Bolognese. Packed with veggies and a whopping cup o’ red lentils, it makes me feel a little better about eating a carb-loaded meal. I almost didn’t have to nap after polishing off a plate!

I added more spices than the recommended amount (2 teaspoons oregano as opposed to 1, and 2 tablespoons basil, vs. the suggested garnish). I also swapped out the black olives for Kalamata, because hello? There’s just no comparison.

Maharini Dal

Monday, March 9th, 2015

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Packed with red lentils for protein (and hearty, stick-to-yer-ribbedness), the Maharini Dal (“fit for a queen”) from Simple Recipes for Joy is almost as tasty as it is healthy. I say “almost” because it contains cilantro, which I omitted without hesitation. (Ew, soap!) Otherwise I’d say that the recipe’s spot-on, though I did add an extra teaspoon of cumin, coriander, and curry on account of the recommended one tablespoon of each proved a little understated for my palate.
For what it’s worth, this seems to be a recurring theme with SRJ.

Who knows, maybe my palate’s just woefully underdeveloped? I’ve been told that I’m heavy-handed with certain spices. *shrug*

Cream of “Broccoli Hates You” Soup

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

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Now that the holidays have passed, I’m concentrating all my foodie efforts on finishing up that review of Sharon Gannon’s Simple Recipes for Joy. To wit: yesterday I made a batch of Cream of Broccoli Soup, with a few notable changes:

a) Instead of adding the onions and garlic near the end of the cook cycle, I sauteed them in a bit of oil first and then kept them in the pot, along with the split peas/lentils. Tasty!

b) I swapped out the split peas (I’m allergic!) for green lentils. I think they worked okay; the soup has a fairly greenish hue, don’t you think? Plus they don’t have to cook nearly as long as the peas, so bonus.

The result was okay; certainly not the tastiest soup I’ve ever had (even just from this particular cookbook), but not the worst either (that distinction would go to French Onion, which I thought I’d love but totally loathed). It’s a little on the bland side and could use a few extra spices to mix things up. Also, I bet some green beans would be a nice addition, and green the soup up a bit.

I do loved creamed soups, on account of you can get them started hours in advance and just let everything simmer until you’re ready to blend and eat. No need to worry about overcooking, you know?

Unfortunately, the broccoli wreaked havoc on my intestines (hence the title of this post). Well, it was either that or the chickpea salad I had earlier in the day. Probably both.

Note to self: only splurge on one gas-making meal in one day.

Candle Cafe’s Make Your Own Chili Bowl

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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So this make-your-own chili bowl is from the “Super Bowl Big-Game Party” menu in Vegan Holiday Cooking (hey! that’s not a holiday!), but I made it for the last game of the World Series. (Yes, my queue is that far behind. VeganMoFo, you do it to me every year!) Personally, I think it goes well with any sports (Channeling my inner Mitchell here.), a sentient with which Shane heartily agreed,

Anyway, it’s really easy to make – just a whole lot of chopping and simmering really – and Candle Cafe offers a bunch of topping ideas. I mixed some Tofutti sour cream with chives, stirred it into my chili, and garnished it with tortilla chips. (Okay, so maybe “garnished” is an understatement.) So good, and the abundance of lentils is pretty chill on my stomach.

“Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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The Season of Soups continues with the “Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup from Vegan Eats World. Super-yummy and easy to make, with lentils (green, brown, black – take your pick!), carrots, fennel (love!), cumin, coriander, and onions.

Lots and lots of onions: one yellow onion, added directly to the soup, and three red onions, caramelized first. My eyes are still recovering from all the onion-induced crying, y’all.

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Looks like BRAAAAAAAINS!
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I kind of cheated, though; my skillet could only easily fit two onions at a time, so I got a little lazy and just went with two red onions. I think it was just about perfect; any more and it might have skewed the onion-to-lentil ratio in favor of the former. Then I’d have to rename this “Like an Egyptian” Onion Soup. So much paperwork.

An interesting side note re: the onions – you cut them in half and then slice them into half-moon shapes. These totes look like noodles once they’re added to the soup. It’s a little disconcerting. But also not a little tasty.

You say “tomato,” I say “Red Lentil and Tomahto Soup.”

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

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So I know I said that I wouldn’t have time to cook out of Simple Recipes for Joy until after VeganMoFo. (Just six days, y’all! SIX DAYS!) But as fate would have it, I have a ton of fresh tomatoes from my garden – and Simple Recipes for Joy has a recipe that calls for a whole two pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Count ’em, TWO.) On the weird side, it’s a hot soup recipe in a week when the temperature has been topping out in the high 90s every. single. day. But hey, air conditioning.

I was concerned that maybe Shane wouldn’t be in the mood for soup after eight hours spent mowing the lawn in what is essentially hot, humid August Missouri soup, but he was actually stoked on the idea: “I need to rehydrate!” Um, okay then.

So the soup is really tasty, though a little on the thin side. I ended up adding an extra cup of lentils and cooked the soup a little longer, just enough so that the lentils were tender, but didn’t dissolve (like the first batch did, and was supposed to). Along with the tomatoes and lentils there’s cumin and curry, which gives the soup a rich, savory taste.

Perfect for dipping bread in! We didn’t have any fresh bread (boo!), so I cooked up some frozen dinner rolls and those were almost as good.

Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl, The

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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I totally expected to dislike this dish (fussy eater problems!) but, much to my surprise, I loved it. Like, finished the bowl and licked it clean loved it. It’s even better than the Apple Pie Oatmeal, yo! Plus it’s quick to whip up – just 15 minutes, and it’s so unfussy a recipe that I was able to remove it from the stovetop mid-cooking so that I could feed the dogs their dinner. Very cool.

Shane enjoyed his with the recommended hummus and avocados, while I went with crackers, chia seeds, and avocado toast. This was also my first time trying mashed avocados as a spread, and I was again pleasantly surprised; avocados don’t have a super-strong flavor, so really the spread tastes like whatever seasonings you put on top. In my case, salt and pepper.