Tag Archives: Soup

Lentil Soup, Radishes, Anise

21 Feb

Another (busy-at-work, forgot-to-invite-anyone-over) Tuesday CSA, another attempt to cheat time with the pressure cooker. I’d give this one a B+.

Similar to the last lentil soup: I sauteed some home-cured-by-a-friend and deliciously fatty/salty lambcetta, shallots, celery, carrots, and onions. Then I sweated a pound of lentils with it over medium heat for 5 minutes. Plus a few dried Nora peppers, chipotles, cayenne, a pinch of smoked paprika, 8 cups of water, and the lid came on, for 10 minutes at pressure. I opened it, added salt and black pepper to taste, and simmered it another 5 minutes. A whole Meyer lemon squeezed into the bowl for the last-minute acid. Pretty good. Could have used more meat or a meaty stock.

To go along with it, a salad with lettuce, fennel, pea sprouts, watermelon radish (refreshing & fun to look at), balsamic. And some lemon-anise hard candies from Miette.

 

Lentils, Kuri, Spigarello

31 Jan

Okay, too much eating out, back to cooking (mostly from the Tuesday CSA). I meant to invite a few friends over but didn’t plan ahead.

Red Kuri Squash, brushed with peanut oil, black pepper, and salt, baked about 30 minutes at 425F, until soft. No butter or sugar, and it was earthy and good with a dark belgian beer (St Bernardus Abt):

Spigarello greens, which taste uncannily like broccoli, but not bitter (shredded and sauteed with about 8 cloves of crushed garlic until just starting to wilt).

And continuing the attempt to make good quick legumes in a pressure cooker (after one failure, and one non-pressure-cooker, slower, more involved success):

Sauteed four thin-sliced shallots in the open pressure cooker, added half a pound of lentils (no liquid), and sweated them over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring. Then I added some dried peppers (nora, guajillo), two bay leaves, and four cups of water (I didn’t have any stock or pork to add). I closed the lid, brought it up to steam temperature, cooked for 10 minutes, then did a quick release of the pressure by running the pot under cold water. Hey, the lentils were perfectly done this time, with good texture and a little liquid still remaining… but blander than I wanted. Browsing the cupboards, I added a heavy pinch of cayenne powder, a bit more salt, a quarter of the dark beer, a little sauteed garlic from the spigarello, and a dash of cholula. After about 5 more minutes of simmering on low, I tasted it– spicy, and pretty good! I added juice from a meyer lemon and it was even better.

 

Excellent Lentil Soup (Toasted Spices, Spinach, Lemon)

6 Jan

I have mixed luck with soup, but this weekend I made the best lentil soup I’ve had. And no, that’s not intended to be damning-with-faint-lentil-praise — it was delicious.

I used The New Best Recipe for initial inspiration (their key insight being sweating the lentils first), but also made some changes:

I cut two strips of bacon into pieces and cooked them until done but not crispy.

I sauteed two minced shallots in the bacon fat (with the bacon still in) a few minutes until translucent, added 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 bay leaves, a crushed dried nora pepper from Tierra Farms, and about 1tsp of whole cardamom seed, turmeric, and cayenne powder, a little black pepper, and sauteed/toasted that for a few minutes.

I sorted and rinsed a cup of lentils, then added them to the spices (without any other liquid) and cooked them for about 8 minutes on medium, stirring. This was the “sweating”.

Then I added about 1/4 cup of cooking rice wine, 2 cups of chicken stock, 3 cups of water, brought them to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer and cooked for about 20 minutes– the lentils were tender but not mushy or falling apart. I fished out the bay leaves, then used an immersion blender to blend a small amount of the soup.

Finally, I tossed in a whole head of spinach (rinsed and de-stemmed), and gave it 2 minutes in the simmering soup to slightly wilt.

At this point, it was already good, but I squeezed a quarter lemon’s worth of juice into the bowl before eating and it was even better (addition of something acidic had worked well when I made black bean soup). I also chopped up some stale bread I had.

Great success!

Bean & Kale Soup, Steak, Squash, Spinach Salad

27 Dec

Using the new pressure cooker to try to make beans quickly:

A mix of classy-looking anasazi beans and white navy beans from Tierra Farms, soaked for about 12 hours, drained, then combined with 3 cups water per cup beans, half an onion, two bay leaves, two dried guajillo chiles, a few garlic cloves. Pressure cooked for 15 minutes (from the time the steam started escaping), which it turns out was longer than needed– they were very soft by the end of this.

At the same time, a few slices of bacon, a diced onion, and a few cloves of minced garlic were fried, then mixed into the cooked beans along with a shredded head of red kale, some paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper, and simmered for another 20 minutes or so. Good, though it could have simmered for longer. I’ll see how it is after sitting a day.

Also part of dinner: squash (butternut squash cut in half, rubbed with sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted at 400F until soft– about 30 minutes. Kept in the fridge for a day, then reheated and mixed with a bit of maple syrup), a steak (seared on a stovetop grill), salad (spinach, pomegranate seeds, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar), Acme sourdough, tea, wine, and chocolate. A simple feast with friends, from about an hour of evening-cooking effort.

Black Beans, Garlic, Oyster Mushrooms, Pomegranate

6 Dec

Everything except the beans and spices came from today’s CSA:

Improvising during a month of (mostly) working late: A minced onion and six(!) cloves of crushed garlic were sauteed with toasted cumin seeds and a little salt for about 10 minutes. Then black beans (one can), whole oyster mushrooms, the seeds of half a pomegranate, and a quarter of an Anchor Steam Christmas Ale were added, and cooked on medium-low for another 15 minutes or so. Hey, the result was surprisingly good– meaty, slightly spiced and sweet.

Also: steamed escarole and pea shoots. Bland and slightly bitter. I’d never cooked escarole and didn’t do any reading about it, so I’m sure there’s some better way. [edit: I’ve been informed that caramelization is key, or subsuming it into a stronger-flavored dish such as a meaty bean soup]

Roasted tomato soup topped with grilled cheese

4 Oct

Basically this recipe, but with chipotle flakes instead of red pepper, with slices of baguette and irish cheddar broiled on top, and with a little fresh basil.

Beer-Centric Dinner Party

8 Aug

This is the first time I’ve made a dinner for friends with courses each paired with / inspired by a specific beer. Some of them worked well together, some didn’t, but it was a good evening overall.

Appetizers: a slightly bitter, slightly floral beer (Upright Flora Rustica) with a collection of snacks: bread, cheese (Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam), radishes, fresh-pickled fennel (an interesting concept), Boccalone orange-fennel salami and pepper salami, salted almonds, and three kinds of pickled carrots (carrots pickled for a week with dill, vinegar, and salt, carrot quick pickles (overnight with lots of vinegar, mustard seed, cloves), and some Happy Girl spicy carrot pickles I bought).

The most vinegar-heavy pickles overwhelmed the beer (and the beer didn’t have the same hint of jalapeno it did when I’d had it on tap in Portland), but the rest of the food seemed to go reasonably well with it, especially the fennel salami and pickled fennel.

My favorite course: a salad of mixed greens + roasted stonefruit (peaches and black plums, still warm) + a little fresh mint + a ricotta that didn’t turn out the way I expected (I tried to make it with 1 pint whole milk, 1 pint heavy cream, 1 tsp salt: brought to a boil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice added, then simmered to curdle.. but it never fully curdled (did the cream interfere somehow? were the lemons not acidic enough?), so it ended up soft and creamy) + a dressing of balsamic vinegar reduced with agave syrup. We were still drinking the Flora Rustica, which worked quite well with the fruit.

Black bean soup generally based on the Cooks Illustrated New Best Recipe version: dry beans and a diced onion boiled for a few hours with a ham hock and bay leaves and a little beer until beans were soft, the ham hock and bay leaves removed and the meat from the hock shredded and returned to the pot, then a separately-sauteed sofrito (onions, garlic, red bell pepper, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle flakes, salt) added to the pot for about 20 minutes. I made this the night before and reheated it the day of the dinner. Cilantro and lime juice added just as it was served.

This was paired with Upright Billy the Mountain, which turned out to be a rather… challenging beer– a very tart and woody barrel-aged old ale, about 9% alcohol but not at all sweet like a barleywine. Whew. Interesting, but I’m not sure I’d do that again.

Pre-dessert: my second attempt at fresh ricotta (simple: 1 qt whole milk + 1 tsp salt, brought to a light boil, then 1.5 Tbsp white vinegar added, simmered a few minutes until the curds separated, strained for an hour in cheesecloth): bright, fresh, and sweet, with a nice texture. Served with Pannepot 2010, a delicious slightly sweet / musky / lightly spiced ale I’d had in Belgium but had never seen in the US until I came across it at City Beer Store (apparently they get it very occasionally). A good combination.

Official dessert– honey lavender ice cream from Bi-Rite, paired with Russian River Supplication (a sour ale fermented with brit and lots of cherries). The Supplication was actually not as acidic or difficult as the Billy the Mountain, and while strong, worked well with the ice cream (especially, a bit of ice cream after each sip of beer).

Then as our post-dinner digestif/nightcap/whatever: some Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee).

Success! Time to go lay down and do the final clean-up tomorrow.