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Curried Split Pea Soup!

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Ok, so here’s another recipe that is super easy, really delicious, nutritious, and also satisfying in a cold day. Yellow Split pea soup with curry. The basic recipe is below but you can also add or subtract to it as you like (it’s equally good without curry, for example, but I happen to like the spice). Tonight, in addition to the ingredients listed in the recipe I also added a diced green pepper, a diced tomato, and a bit of tandoori spice. The is also good if mad with red or green lentils rather than split peas. If the recipe is too large cut it in half; this soup freezes well also.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Curry and Caramelized Onions

Makes about 3 quarts

Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil or clarified butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add a diced onion and cook it—stirring frequently—for about five minutes, or until it start to brown, then stir in 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Lower the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons (or more) of your favorite curry powder, and add any of your other favorite spices as well (such as extra cumin, turmeric, coriander, or chilies; all of which should be in the curry powder already). Stir the spices for a minute or so in the hot fat to bring out their flavors, then stir in 3 cups of yellow split peas and about 10 cups of chicken broth (if you want to keep this vegetarian use vegetable broth). Season the soup with a teaspoon of kosher salt (being careful if you are using canned broth which is already salted) and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Allow the soup to boil for a minute then turn it down to a simmer. Cook the soup for about an hour—stirring it frequently—and add more liquid if it becomes too thick. Just before removing it from the heat stir in about 1/4 cup of fresh lemon or lime juice and—if you have it on hand and enjoy it’s flavor—also stir in a handful of chopped cilantro.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables and Lebanese Spices

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This is a variation of my more traditional Lebanese Lentil Soup recipe; in this version I added many more vegetables. This is super easy to make and yes it tastes as good as it looks. The vegetables I added are simply suggestions (it’s what I had on hand), use whatever you like. This is easily a meal in itself, and if you reduce the liquid and make it thick enough you can serve it over rice. And while it is a large-ish quantity, this soup freezes well. This soup is delicious and appropriate year-round but is especially fitting during the colder months.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables and Lebanese Spices 

Makes about 12 cups
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups diced cabbage
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Lebanese seven spice mix
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup lentils
1 (15oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken broth
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 cups (about 5oz. Fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup lemon juice

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat then add the onion pepper, carrot, and cabbage. Sweat the vegetables for a few minutes then add the garlic; cook the vegetables a couple minutes longer. Stir in the seven spice mix, turmeric, and salt; cook for a minute or so, then add the lentils, tomatoes, chicken broth, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it becomes too thick add additional broth or water. Stir in the spinach and cook it for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice and simmer another five minutes, or until the lentils are very soft.

Lebanese Seven SpiceMix 

Makes about 4 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container, or use as needed.

Urban Simplicity.

Cool as a cucumber (and avocado) soup recipe…

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This soup is really delicious and really easy to make. I know…I say that all the time, right? Well, all you have to do is put the ingredients in a blender and puree them. Seriously. Easy, delicious, and healthy…what’s not to like. This is also a great recipe for the crazy heatwave that has gripped much of the country. I hope you try this…you’ll be glad you did.


Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup


Makes 6-8 cups


1 English cucumber, seeds removed

1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed

¼ small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

2 cups orange juice

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon crushed hot pepper (optional)


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. 

Mulligatawny!

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Before I talk about the recipe I have to make a few other comments. You may be wondering why on earth this guy would be posting  a recipe for soup in the middle of summer, or at least early summer. Nonetheless, it’s hot outside. Well, the answer to this is twofold…one is that it was on the menu where I work (so I had to make it), but also because I really enjoy this soup. But the less obvious reason (to most, I think) is that even though spicy food is often thought of as “warming foods” for cold weather, spicy foods originate in hot climates and are naturally eaten there. Spicy foods, in fact, act as a natural air conditioner of sorts…they make you sweat which cools you off. Spicy foods are also known to stimulate the appetite, which may be lacking during steamy weather (interesting how nature takes care of us). Anyhow, mulligatawny is a curried chicken and rice soup of British-Indian origin. It is really easy to make and really delicious (it freezes well also, in the even you make too much of it). The recipe below is a basic one; when I make it for myself I add more hot pepper or a splash of hot pepper sauce. It is, without doubt, a meal in itself.

Mulligatawny
Makes about 3 quarts.
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 slices ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
4 tablespoons flour
1 apple, diced
6 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup cooked white rice
Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onion, celery, carrot, and red bell pepper, sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar, curry, cumin, pepper, salt, and hot pepper, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes over low heat while stirring. Add the apple, stir in the chicken broth and chicken; simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice just before serving.

Carrot Vichyssoise with Curry, Yogurt, and Parsley Purée

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I’ve posted this recipe before but not in quite a while. It is an excellent spring soup and can be served hot or chilled. The only variation in the recipe (there always has to be one) is that I did not include a recipe for the parsley puree. This is done easily by combining washed parsley and plain yogurt in a blender and pureeing until very smooth. And the images below illustrate how to garnish it as if it were served in a restaurant. The only tools you need are an ordinary squirt bottle and a knife. There are plenty of designs and this is a simple one. Draw lines in the soup and gently draw the tip of a pointy knife back and forth through the puree. 

Carrot Soup with Ginger, Curry and Yogurt
Yield: 2 quarts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoon honey or sugar
1-1/2 pounds peeled, diced carrots
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the curry and honey; sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer; skim any impurities that may rise to the surface. Cook the soup for approximately 45 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and warm it, but do not boil (boiling it may curdle the yogurt). Serve hot or chilled. 

How to Make a Really Flavorful Vegetable Soup in Twenty Minutes (seriously!)

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Okay, so it may take longer than twenty minutes to cut all the vegetables, but if you have them cut (or in my case–being the chef–have someone else cut them for you), this is a really quick and simple process. What is a soup anyway? Just some chopped up stuff cooked in broth, right? Well, partially, but it’s more than that. The modern English word comes from the Middle English sup or sop, referring not only to the dish but also the act…to sup is to eat; this is also from where the word supper arose. It also referred to the practice of placing a stale piece of bread in a bowl prior to pouring a thin or meager soup, giving the meal more substance. Anyhow, the way to make any vegetable soup taste really good takes three things…lots of vegetables, a good and flavorful broth (read this article on broths), and the method or sweating the vegetables; meaning covering them and letting them sort of stew or sweat in their own juices prior to adding broth. Soup is without doubt one of the world’s great comfort foods (and one of the oldest). For an actual recipe for this soup, read this post. For many other soup recipes, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

A Really Simple (but Superbly Delicious) Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe with Homemade Whole Wheat Noodles

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What is it about chicken soup? Even when I go through one of my “very-little-meat” phases I still welcome and crave this simple food. It’s a sort of cultural phenomenon…every culture and nationality has their own version of this humble dish. One of my favorite names for this recipe is “Jewish Penicillin,” making reference to its supposed properties to cure the common cold. And historically speaking it is likely one of the oldest recipes…next to cooking over a live fire, putting things in a vessel and boiling them is one of the oldest known cooking methods. There are plenty of ways to make this dish, and a seemingly endless variety of ingredients one can use, but this is a version I made the other day. It is easy and delicious. The homemade noodles were an added bonus, but if you want to make the recipe and use store-bought (or none at all) it will be equally delicious. This is also a good Base recipe,” meaning one in which you can add or subtract flavorings or ingredients to make it your own. The addition of chilies would make this interesting, as would a bit of fresh ginger and soy for an Oriental flare. More garlic, a splash of lemon, and a few sprigs of cilantro (and a sprinkling of curry) would give it a distinctive Near East flavor. You get the picture. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a second bowl of soup…

Chicken Soup with Homemade Whole Wheat Egg Noodles


Makes about 5 quarts


For the soup:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat)

3 quarts chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

4 stalks celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium turnip, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 bunch parsley, chopped
For the noodles:

1½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (optional)

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons cold water

To Make the Soup:
Combine the chicken and chicken broth in a soup pot and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the noodle dough.


Combine the whole wheat flour, gluten, eggs, and water in a bowl and mix until it begins to form a mass. Knead the dough—either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook—until it is a smooth dough (about eight minutes with an electric mixer or 12 by hand). If the dough is too dry add another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Remove the chicken from the broth to a plate and allow it to cool a bit. Strain the broth and set aside; clean the pot to start the soup.


Heat the vegetable oil in the soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, carrot, and turnip. Cook the vegetables for about five minutes while stirring. Add the garlic, turmeric, and salt; cook another five minutes. Stir in the broth; bring to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. Dice the cooked chicken and add it to the soup.


While the soup is simmering roll out the noodle dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough very thin as they tend to plump a little when they cook. Cut the noodles as thin or thick as you like, or in whatever shape that you like. Drop them into the simmering soup, shaking off any excess flour as you pick them up.


Simmer the noodles in the soup for 5-10 minutes, or until the noodles feel tender but are not falling apart. Just before removing the soup from the heat stir in the chopped parsley.

A Really Simple (but Superbly Delicious) Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe with Homemade Whole Wheat Noodles

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What is it about chicken soup? Even when I go through one of my “very-little-meat” phases I still welcome and crave this simple food. It’s a sort of cultural phenomenon…every culture and nationality has their own version of this humble dish. One of my favorite names for this recipe is “Jewish Penicillin,” making reference to its supposed properties to cure the common cold. And historically speaking it is likely one of the oldest recipes…next to cooking over a live fire, putting things in a vessel and boiling them is one of the oldest known cooking methods. There are plenty of ways to make this dish, and a seemingly endless variety of ingredients one can use, but this is a version I made the other day. It is easy and delicious. The homemade noodles were an added bonus, but if you want to make the recipe and use store-bought (or none at all) it will be equally delicious. This is also a good Base recipe,” meaning one in which you can add or subtract flavorings or ingredients to make it your own. The addition of chilies would make this interesting, as would a bit of fresh ginger and soy for an Oriental flare. More garlic, a splash of lemon, and a few sprigs of cilantro (and a sprinkling of curry) would give it a distinctive Near East flavor. You get the picture. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a second bowl of soup…

Chicken Soup with Homemade Whole Wheat Egg Noodles


Makes about 5 quarts


For the soup:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat)

3 quarts chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

4 stalks celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium turnip, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 bunch parsley, chopped
For the noodles:

1½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (optional)

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons cold water

To Make the Soup:
Combine the chicken and chicken broth in a soup pot and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the noodle dough.


Combine the whole wheat flour, gluten, eggs, and water in a bowl and mix until it begins to form a mass. Knead the dough—either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook—until it is a smooth dough (about eight minutes with an electric mixer or 12 by hand). If the dough is too dry add another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Remove the chicken from the broth to a plate and allow it to cool a bit. Strain the broth and set aside; clean the pot to start the soup.


Heat the vegetable oil in the soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, carrot, and turnip. Cook the vegetables for about five minutes while stirring. Add the garlic, turmeric, and salt; cook another five minutes. Stir in the broth; bring to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. Dice the cooked chicken and add it to the soup.


While the soup is simmering roll out the noodle dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough very thin as they tend to plump a little when they cook. Cut the noodles as thin or thick as you like, or in whatever shape that you like. Drop them into the simmering soup, shaking off any excess flour as you pick them up.


Simmer the noodles in the soup for 5-10 minutes, or until the noodles feel tender but are not falling apart. Just before removing the soup from the heat stir in the chopped parsley.

The Soup that I Grew…

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There is, I believe, nothing more satisfying than a good bowl of soup and homemade bread. Okay…so maybe there is, but you’ve got to admit the combination is really good. Anyhow, believe-it-or-not, I am still harvesting vegetables from the garden in the rear of my house (yes, in October and in Western NY). I made this yesterday and ate it with a few slices of whole wheat bread (click here for multiple recipes and pics on how to make whole wheat bread). The unseasonably warm temperatures yesterday plummeted by about 30 degrees in 2 hours, and the house sure felt–and smelled–cozy with a pot of curried vegetable soup on the stove. There’s a really basic recipe below; use it more as a guide…add or subtract whatever vegetables and spices you like (or add meat as well). Some of the vegetables that I harvested and used in this recipe are pictured below as well.

Curried Vegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 turnip, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons crushed hot pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup diced cabbage
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped kale
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, and turnip. Cook the vegetables in the oil for about five minutes, allowing them to release their flavor but not brown. Add the garlic, curry, turmeric, cumin, hot pepper, and salt; saute for another couple minutes. Stir in the cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and kale; stir to coat the vegetables with oil and spices. Stir in the broth. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup for 30-60 minutes, skimming as necessary; if it becomes to thick add more broth. Taste it for seasoning, and add the lemon juice just before serving.

"Tis the Season…

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Yes, whether we like it or not, it is that time of year again. The weather is getting colder. And with it lighter foods give way to heartier ones, and one of my favorites is soup. I’ve posted this recipe before, or at least variations of it, but it is so delicious and easy to make I thought I’d post it again (it is a crowd-pleaser). The recipe–and the picture above–both utilize butternut squash, but this recipe works great with nearly any hard squash…it’s great with pumpkin. I add a bit of sugar in the recipe, but if you stay away from sugar simply omit it (or add more if you’d like it sweeter). A fresh chili or two is great also (but not included in the recipe)…spicy and sweet and creamy compliment each other. I also used heavy cream in the recipe, you can make it lighter with the use of milk or no cream at all, but it wouldn’t be as rich. And lastly, if you want to make this vegetarian or vegan , substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth (don’t use water, it would be too bland) and soy milk to replace the cream. Anyhow–and just to reiterate–this recipe is delicious and easy to make…and it’s a great one to experiment with as well.

Butternut Squash Bisque with Apple and Toasted Walnuts
Yield: 6 cups
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoonsflour
2 tablespoonssugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds peeled and diced butternut squash
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup small diced apple

Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sweat the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they are translu­cent. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and diced pumpkin; sauté another minute. Add the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Add the cream and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Puree in a blender or food processor. After ladling the soup into warm bowls, garnish it with the toasted walnuts and diced apple.

Urban Simplicity.

Gazpacho Blanco (receta y fotos)

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All I really need to say in this post is that this soup is really simple to make and delicious and that you should make it. But I’ll say just a  few more things. I made this for a luncheon I served at work today. It is a cool and refreshing soup, but also one that is bursting with flavor and nutrition. And it is quite possibly closer to the original Gazpacho recipe than the tomato based one we have come to know. If you’re interested in what I mean by this read this article that I wrote for Artvoice last month; it also includes additional recipes for cold soups and a bit of the history behind them. What is not included in the recipe below is the bright red squiggles on top of the soup. It’s pureed roasted red peppers (with a bit of salt and garlic). If you want to see how to roast a pepper on your home stove read this previous post (which has step-by-step instructions and pics).

Gazpacho Blanco
Makes about 6 cups
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 slices bread, crusts removed, diced
2 cups yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapeno chilies, seeds removed and minced
1 pound green seedless grapes (about 3 cups)
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven. Transfer the toasted almonds with the remaining ingredients to a bowl. Mix well and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Serve chilled or at room temperature

Two Chilled Soups

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Here’s a couple really simple chilled soup recipes to satisfy your appetite while keeping the kitchen cool. One is traditional and another contemporary; both are delicious. These are part of an article I recently wrote for Artvoice newspaper; to read the entire article–which includes additional recipes and the stories behind them–click here (yes, a bit of shameless self-promotion…I’m getting better at it). Anyhow, I hope you try them; they are exceedingly easy to make and really delicious.

Gazpacho
Makes about 5 cups
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
2 slices bread, crusts removed, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until desired consistency. Let stand 10 minutes; served chilled or at room temperature. Optional garnishes include but are not limited to: diced raw onion, hard cooked egg, parsley, and olives.
 
Thai-Spiced Watermelon Soup with Riesling
Makes about 6 cups
1 cup Riesling wine
3 slices ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chilies, seeds removed and minced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
6 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
6 cups diced seedless watermelon, rind removed (about 2 lbs)
the juice of two limes

Combine the wine, ginger, garlic, chilies, lemongrass, and sugar in a small pot. Bring the wine to a boil then lower it to a simmer; cook the seasonings for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and allow the seasonings to steep for about ten minutes while the liquid cools. When the liquid is at room temperature strain it, pressing as much moisture from the seasonings (reserve the liquid; discard the seasonings). Combine the liquid with the watermelon and lime juice in a blender and process until smooth. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

Tomato Soup Recipe

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This is one of the simplest soups to make but as simple as it is it is equally satisfying. I made this at work today (albeit a larger batch than in the below recipe) and thought I’d share it.


Creamof Tomato Soup
Yield:2 quarts
3tablespoons unsalted butter
2shallots, peeled and minced
2cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8cups diced tomatoes
1cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4cup chopped basil leaves
1teaspoon kosher salt
1/2teaspoon black pepper
1cup heavy cream

Heatthe butter in a small soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots andgarlic; cook them for a couple of minutes, until they are translucentbut not browned. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, basil, salt and pepper.Bring to a boil then lower to a slow simmer. Cook the soup for about30 minutes. Add the cream and cook for a couple minutes. Transfer toa blender and process until smooth.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#408)…and what I made with it

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A basket full of fresh vegetables, which I turned into a hearty chicken-and-vegetable soup/stew with Near East spices.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#404)

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A canvas bag (on the front rack) containing–among other things–a spare camera, a book, and a few recipes. A cardboard box (on the rear rack) containing 5lbs/2.2kg of whole wheat flour, 2 pints of spiced lentil soup, and two roast chicken dinners.

Urban Simplicity.

Spiced Lentil Soup

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I really enjoy lentils….and I’m grateful that I do. Because not only are they super-healthy for you, they are also a great medium for all sorts of flavors and textures…and not just vegetarian recipes. Anyhow, a purveyor at work gave me a couple pounds of these lentils as a sample (pictured above)…beautiful aren’t they? I made the below soup recipe for staff lunch today…it was so good (if I do say so myself) I had a double serving. It’s also really easy to make. And while I used the above multi-colored lentils, any lentil will do…some just take longer to cook than others. The spices I used (pictured below and also listed in the recipe) are also interchangeable…add or subtract whatever suits your personal taste. And listed at the bottom of this post are a few links of other easy and  delicious lentil recipes.

Spiced Lentil Soup
Makes about 3 quarts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pound lentils (about a cup)
3 cups diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup lemon juice
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in aheavy soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper; saute untiltranslucent but not browned. Add the garlic and saute another minute.Lower the heat and add the curry, paprika, cumin, turmeric, fennel,coriander, and salt. Stir the spices for about a minute to bring outtheir flavor, than add the lentils; stirring to coat with the oil andspices. Add the tomatoes and broth; bring the soup to a boil thenlower to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, then add thelemon juice. Continue to simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, oruntil the lentils are very soft. If too much liquid evaporates addmore as needed.
 For other lentil recipes on this blog follow these links:

Two Cream Soup Recipes

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Vichyssoise
(Serve warm in the winter months and chilled in the summer)
Yield: 4-5 cups
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch leeks (white parts only), cutcrosswise, and washed three times
2 cups chicken stock
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomedsoup pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to bubble add thesliced and washed leeks. Sautéthe leeks for abut 2 minutes, or until they are tender andtranslucent. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper, and bring thestock to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup for about20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily mashed. Transfer thesoup to a blender or food processor, and process it until it issmooth. Return the soup to the pot and bring it again to a simmer.Stir in the cream. This soup may be served hot or cold. 
(I posted this recipe recently but made it again today and it is a crowd pleaser…so in the even you missed it, here it is again.)
 
ButternutSquash Bisque with Apple and Toasted Walnuts
Yield:6 cups
2tablespoons butter
1small onion, peeled and diced
2tablespoonsflour
2tablespoonssugar
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon allspice
1/4teaspoon nutmeg
1/2teaspoon salt
1teaspoon black pepper
2pounds peeled and diced butternut squash
2cups chicken stock
1cup heavy cream
1/4cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2cup small diced apple

Meltthe butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sweatthe onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they aretranslu­cent. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2minutes. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper,and diced pumpkin; sauté another minute. Add the stock and simmerfor 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Add the creamand simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Puree in a blender or foodprocessor. After ladling the soup into warm bowls, garnish it withthe toasted walnuts and diced apple.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

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This is by far one of my favorite soups. It’s simple to make, delicious, nutritious, and the variations are seemingly endless. Listed below is the basic recipe but you can add any number of your favorite ingredients to make it a meal-in-itself. The recipe below, for example, is vegetarian but this is equally delicious with the addition of lamb, chicken, or even shrimp. I made this for staff lunch today (leftovers for tomorrow…yum) and I kept it vegetarian but I did veer from the recipe somewhat. A couple things I did differently were that I slowly cooked whole garlic cloves and chilies in olive oil prior to adding the vegetables and spices, and I also added slices of lemon, not just the juice…when the soup cooks the garlic and lemon disintegrate into the broth becoming part of the soup itself. I also added extra vegetables not included in the recipe…cabbage, rutabaga, green beans, and spinach. For the most part I kept the seasonings the same, but I did add a little smoked paprika and turmeric (turmeric not only colors and seasons food, it is extremely good for you). All-in-all, while this is sort of a stone soup version of this recipe, it’s not too far off the original path. Anyhow, if you enjoy soup–flavorful and healthy soup–I encourage you to try this recipe, and experiment with your own version…you’ll be glad you did. And the simmering spices will make the house smell good, too.

MiddleEastern Style Lentil Soup
  Makes about 2quarts
3tablespoon olive oil
1/2cup diced onion
1/2cup diced carrots
1/2cup diced celery
1/2cup diced bell pepper (red or green)
1tablespoon minced garlic
1tablespoon chili powder
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1teaspoon ground allspice
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
2teaspoons salt
2teaspoons ground black pepper
2cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
2cups dried lentils
6-8cups chicken or vegetable broth
2tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1bay leaf

Heatthe olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion, car­rots,celery, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté over medium heat for 5minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayennepepper, salt and black pepper; sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add thetomatoes, lentils, broth, lemon juice and bay leaf; bring to a boilthen lower it to a simmer. Allow the soup to cook for 60-90 minutes or untilthe soup thickens and the lentils become very soft.

Three Photos and Six Recipes

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Did you know that January is NationalSoup Month? Well it is, and rightly so. It’s perfect for the cold weather and seemsto nourish both body and soul. Soup is delicious and nutritious,and it’s easy to make. If you can boil water you can make soup. Andthere’s something about a simmering soup pot…it’s the originalcomfort food. Soup is, in fact, one of the simplest and oldest foodpreparations there is…cooking food in liquid to tenderize it andinfuse both nutrients and flavor to the ensuing broth. The word soup, in fact,is derived from the Middle English, sop, or sup,referring to a stale piece of bread onto which hot broth was poured,thus giving a slight meal some substance. To eat in this fashion was“to sup;” which is from where the modern word “supper” isderived. Thus, the classic French Onion Soup is one of the trulyancient soups remaining today, and its ingenuity lies in itssimplicity: broth, onions, and bread (cheese is a modern and moreluxurious addition). Anyhow, soup is about the simplest recipe one can prepare, it’s nutritious and flavorful…and you only have one pot to clean.
French Onion Soup
Yield: 5-6 cups
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large onions, peeled and slicedthinly
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
6 slices French bread, toasted
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter and oil in a heavysaucepan. Add the onions and sauté over low heat until onions aregolden brown, about 40 minutes. Stir in the beef and chicken stock,bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 30minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup intooven-proof bowls and top each soup with a slice of French bread andthe grated cheeses. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes,or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
CurriedVegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups
3tablespoons canola oil
1small onion, diced
2carrots, diced
2stalks celery, diced
1parsnip, diced
1turnip, diced
2cloves garlic, minced
2tablespoons curry powder
1teaspoon turmeric
1teaspoon cumin seed
2teaspoons crushed hot pepper
2teaspoons kosher salt
1cup diced cabbage
1cup chopped cauliflower
1cup diced tomatoes
1cup chopped kale
8cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice
Heat the oil in amedium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery,parsnip, and turnip. Cook the vegetables in the oil for about fiveminutes, allowing them to realease their flavor but not brown. Addthe garlic, curry, turmeric, cumin, hot pepper, and salt; saute foranother couple minutes. Stir in the cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoesand kale; stir to coat the vegetables with oil and spices. Stir inthe broth. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cookthe soup for 30-60 minutes, skimming as necessary; if it becomes tothick add more broth. Taste it for seasoning, and add the lemon juicejust before serving.
SplitPea Soup with Garlic and Smoked Sausage
Makes about 12 cups
3 tablespoons canolaoil
2 cups diced smokedsausage
1 small onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic,minced
1 pound split peas,cleaned and rinsed
1 potato, diced
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in amedium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook itfor a few minutes, until it releases some of it’s fat and begins tobrown. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook the vegetableswith the sausage for a few minutes, until the vegetables begin tocook but are not browned. Add the peas, potato. Broth, and salt.Bring the pot to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup forabout an hour, stirring frequently. If it becomes to thick add morebroth.
ButternutSquash Bisque with Apple and Toasted Walnuts
  Makes about 6 cups
2tablespoons butter
1small onion, peeled and diced
2tablespoonsflour
2tablespoonssugar
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon allspice
1/4teaspoon nutmeg
1/2teaspoon salt
1teaspoon black pepper
2pounds peeled and diced butternut squash
2cups chicken stock
1cup heavy cream
1/4cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2cup small diced apple
Meltthe butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sweatthe onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they aretranslu­cent. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2minutes. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper,and diced pumpkin; sauté another minute. Add the stock and simmerfor 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Add the creamand simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Puree in a blender or foodprocessor. After ladling the soup into warm bowls, garnish it withthe toasted walnuts and diced apple.
 
Roast Red Pepper Bisque
Makes about 12 cups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions 
1/2cup diced celery
1/2cup diced carrots
2teaspoons minced garlic
2teaspoons salt
2teaspoons black pepper
1/2cup flour
4cups chicken broth
3cups diced roast red peppers
2cups heavy cream
Sautéthe onion, celery, and carrots, over medium heat in the butter orolive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for anotherminute or two. Stir in the flour and cook over medium/low heat for5-10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, stir with a whisk to remove anylumps. Stir in the diced peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10minutes. Add the heavy cream simmer 2 minutes. Puree in a foodprocessor or blender. Strain if you desire a smoother consistency.
PotatoChowder
Makes about 12 cups
3tablespoons unsalted butter
12ounces diced lean ham
1cup diced onion
1/2cup diced carrots
1/2cup diced celery
2teaspoons minced garlic
2-1/2pounds peeled and diced potatoes
6cups rich soup stock
1teaspoon thyme
1teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon black pepper
1cup milk (optional)
Heatthe butter in a large heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When itbegins to bubble add the ham, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.Sauté the vegetables and ham for approximately 5 minutes, or untilthey are soft and translucent but not browned. Stir in the potatoes,chicken stock, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bring the soup to aboil then lower the heat to a simmer; skim any impurities that mayhave risen to the surface. Simmer the soup for 45-60 minutes,stirring often. Using a wire whisk, gently break apart some of thepotatoes to give the soup some viscosity. If adding the milk, do sodirectly before serving the soup, and do not boil it once the milkhas been added.