Wednesday, April 23
One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)
The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!
As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!
Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.
In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.
One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!
Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!
Wednesday, March 26
Apparently it’s still snowing in some places. CRAZY. It’s even chilly and drizzly here in San Diego (don’t worry, I am not complaining), so I think we’re all probably in the mood for some cozy food.
My sister-in-law Cora made beef stew for the family this past summer and it was sublime. I make a pretty good beef stew, but hers was definitely better. I finally got around to bugging her for the recipe and, as usual, she obliged. She’s good like that.
Cora sort of follows Ree’s seef stew with beer and paprika recipe but changes a few things up. I followed her lead and ended up with this most delicious stew. The sauce is so rich in flavor, the meat so tender, the veggies cooked to perfection.
Yes, it’s called Boozy Beef Stew. Because there are two bottles of beer in the pot and how can you not name it Boozy Beef Stew with all that beer involved? Never fear, it doesn’t taste like a bottle of beer with a few chunks of meat thrown in. It just tastes good. So good.
Also, this recipe gives me an excuse to use one of my most favorite items in the kitchen – a bottle opener we got from Nate’s great-grandma Rose’s home when she moved into assisted living at age 99. We don’t drink around here, so this cute little bottle opener doesn’t get much action. But when I do take it out, it always makes me happy.
I modified the recipe just a bit so it is quite literally a one-pot dinner. I hate washing dishes. A lot. You’ll be able to cook it all in one pot, no extra dishes required! (Well, you will have to use a knife and cutting board, but that doesn’t count, right?)
Now, go booze up your beef.
Tuesday, October 22
Today I have a super fast and easy dinner recipe for you that is also delicious and healthy. That’s the best kind of recipe, right?
But first, a confession. I love ramen noodle packs. You know, the 89-cent packages of ramen noodles paired with the sodium-rich broth that is oh-so-good. But…but. The sodium. Ah, the sodium. I haven’t bought ramen in years and years because of that darn sodium. Happily, today’s recipe will let us have our ramen and eat it, too!
You will need to buy one of those cheap-o packages of ramen for this recipe, but you’re going to throw the flavor packet in the trash where it belongs. Instead, we’ll use healthy, natural ingredients and just a bit of salt to create a yummy meal that’s perfect for kids, adults and college-kids alike!
This recipe is fast to prepare and should be eaten immediately, so plan accordingly!Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)Cook timeTotal timeAdapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family CookbookAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, Soup, PoultryCuisine: AsianServes: 4Ingredients
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
- 2 green onions, sliced thin with greens separated from whites
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced (I use my garlic press)
- 3½ cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra as needed (a commenter mentioned that soy sauce can be high in sodium, so if you really want to cut back, try using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used)
- 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
- 1½ cups shredded coleslaw mix (I used a coleslaw mix made only with green cabbage)
- 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra as needed
- salt and pepper
Notes*Cook the chicken however is easiest for you – grill, sauté, boil, whatever!3.2.2925
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped white green onions (reserving the greens for later), ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce and bring to a simmer (you’ll want to turn the heat up to get it boiling gently, then reduce the heat to medium or so to maintain the simmer).
- Stir in ramen noodles and coleslaw and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add chicken and spinach and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the rest of the green onions and sesame oil. Mix together, taste, then add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Serve immediately.