Friday, April 10, 2009

Recipe: Maintaining Your Sanity

I don't claim to know how to always keep the peace with my partner or to reduce the stress in my life to a manageable nugget. But what I can claim pretty confidently, is that I am a kick-ass cook. So this post has to do with real recipes, of the finite and concrete variety. You know. For food.

It is a transgression from the usual wedding article, link or DIY idea, yes. Kinda. But since I added "plus other random thoughts and projects" in my blog description, I think I'm covered. But really, it is something we rarely talk about on wedding blogs, unfortunately: eating right. Eating well is always important, but it is often the first thing to fall by the wayside during stressful or busy periods in our lives.

Recently I practically force-fed a good friend a spoonful of cold red lentil soup just to prove to him that a) I really do cook; and b) Lentils rock! I was successful on both counts, and the next day he excitedly reported to me that he was headed to the market to see if he could dig up some red lentils for his own home concoction. Well, why reinvent the wheel! I just shared my recipe with him and then immediately thought, why not share it with you, Internet? Actually, it already has a life on the Internet, but I can at least point you in the right direction.

Because I do think it is important to nurture your body with good wholesome food. Especially when it is easy and cheap to do so! Did I mention pretty? Maybe the lovely red lentils in this recipe will inspire your wedding colors.

I promise, it is easy and delicious (even cold!). And if you don't have a food processor, no worries. I devised a little trick (I do have a food processor but was being lazy): Instead of putting some of the soup in the food processor and returning to the pot, simply add some bread crumbs (or even small ripped pieces of bread) until you get the thickness you desire. The bread crumbs soak up the liquid and make for a hearty, tasty stew-like delight. But this soup still makes for a light and satisfying meal. With a slice of good bread, or a salad, and a nice glass of wine or beer, you are all set. Just ask my meat-loving, protein demanding beau. He's been known to sneak into the fridge for a second helping when he thinks I'm not paying attention. Ah, I'm always paying attention, honey.  And by the way, it was actually your third helping, my sweet.

yummy red lentil soup!

Try to check out the New York Times online on Wednesdays for the Dining Out/In sections--there are always a few super easy and yummy recipes that will tempt you to squeeze a measly 20-40 minutes into your day to cook for yourself (and your honey, if he/she is lucky!). "The Minimalist" is probably one of my favorite columns. That guy sure knows how to keep things cheap, simple and enticing.

I will be posting some of my favorite recipes here for you, when they are a) Delicious; b) Easy; c) Quick; and d) Maybe even something you might be tempted to make for your wedding, if you are doing the cooking. A few already come to mind now for that last reason--the kind of recipes that make me wish I was making the food for my own wedding.

So, the lentils. The following is a recipe from "A Good Appetite," another wonderful column by Melissa Clark, but go read the full article here, as she always writes so well and includes a nice story or background about each dish:

A GOOD APPETITE; A Lentil Soup to Make You Stop, Taste and Savor

Time: 45 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!