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Red Lentil, Cauliflower, and Thai Red Curry Soup

You’re looking at a full head of cauliflower. Trust me, it never looked this good. Not even when it’s roasted in the oven whole, the current en vogue style. It’s also super hip because this cauliflower and red lentil thai spiced soup is a riff on a Yotam Ottlenghi recipe from Plenty More. And you know, because I needed to post another soup recipe on this blog.

I don’t have any pithy words or cute stories that accompany this soup. We’ve just gotten home from a family ski vacation, in which we tackled two-deck rummy; managed to not injure ourselves; skied big moguls safely, albeit not artfully; and, stapled dollar bills to a wall. So coming home to this beauty after a long weekend away, a full day of work, and minimal groceries in the house is pure delight.

Thai Red Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

  • 3 tbsp cooking oil, like olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and florets roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed and lightly bashed
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Juice of one lime
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and starting to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook for an additional minute. Add the cauliflower. Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the water, lentils, lemongrass, lime leaves. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Return heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils and the cauliflower are soft, roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and the kaffir lime leaves.

Allow the soup to cool on the stove. Puree using an immersion blender. Stir in the coconut milk and the lime juice. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro. Toasted pita bread is also a tasty accomplishment.

*If you’d like to freeze the soup, leave the coconut milk and lime juice out. Thaw your frozen soup and reheat on the stove. Then stir in the coconut milk and lime juice.

Thai Red Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

 

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My memory is terrible. Little fragments here or there. Mostly because I don’t spend time tying to remember. So here’s a little fragment for you: I’m definitely under six years old. We’re still living in Germany, and I have a little garden trowel in my hand. Carefully and delicately, I’m using the back side of the trowel to ensure the mound of earth has no cracks. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing anything but playing (in reality); in my mind, I’m tending to the white asparagus crop.

I grew up around white asparagus. Served as a side, served as as soup. Shared plots of land were dedicated to growing this beautiful vegetable. Which explains why I go totally gaga whenever a bunch pops up at the local grocery store. Sure, we’re far away from the normal growing season, but I can’t help myself.

Look at it.

White Asparagus | Kitchen Notes

Beautiful. And haunting. And slightly creepy. And totally mesmerizing. Yes, I know: it’s just asparagus.

Here’s the rub: you can make white asparagus soup from scratch. Saute some onion, add a bit of white wine, thicken with cream or potatoes. Season with salt and white pepper. You could use whole, delicious foods to help you make a delicious soup. Please go with this route. I implore you.

Or, you could be like me, and giddily drive 30+ minutes to the one Germany bakery and shopette in town. There, you breath in the scents of fresh baked bread, oogle the various condiments and sundries, purchase four laugenbroetchen, and pick up a packet of Knorr Spragelcreme Suppe mix. If you were truly me, you’d also hit yourself aside the head a few times on your drive back, specifically for not buying that delicious looking zwetschgenkuchen.

Spargel Suppe Fix | Kitchen Notes

 

Food blog fail, right? So here’s an experimental recipe I would use to make Spargel Suppe from scratch. Let me know how it goes and what tweaks you would make. Then, next time, instead of being silly and buying a pre-made mix, I’ll just make it from scratch.

Spargel Creme Suppe

  • 1 bunch white asparagus, peeled. Tips removed and set aside
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 small to medium yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup white wine, such as a Reisling
  • 3 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Fenugreek powder (yes, seriously, try it)

In a large stock pot, sauté onions with butter or olive oil (maybe 1/2 tablespoon). Once the onions have started to brown, add in the wine and the diced potatoes. Add the stems of the white asparagus. Add 3 cups of water or vegetable broth, cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. I suggest adding a 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek powder at this stage as well. Using an immersion or stick blender, blend the soup together. If the soup is too thick, add more water and or the cream at this stage. Add the asparagus tips and simmer for about 5 minutes, until tender. Serve in shallow bowls with a parsley sprinkle.

Spargel Suppe | Kitchen Notes

End of Summer Soup | Kitchen Notes

With Labor Day behind us and cooler weather forecasted for this weekend, everyone in our neighborhood is pretending fall is just around the corner. We know better of course — there’s one month more of summer here in the Phoenix metro area. And here I am, making soup.

Which doesn’t surprise any of us…right? Right? I’d certainly think not, given how much soup I post about on this blog. And why is that I always seem to create delicious soup in the summer?

Zucchini and Corn Soup | Kitchen Notes

 

My well intentioned goal to create a vichyssoise ended only as a goal. Something about heavy cream in the summer heat didn’t appeal to me. The summer soup is made with potatoes to thicken it, and flavored by summer zucchini and fresh corn.

Summer Vichyssoise

  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 ears of corn, removed from the stem
  • 4 large yukon golf potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of shallot pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth

Heat a large stock pot over medium. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent and then slightly caramelized. Add the zucchini and potatoes. Season with salt and shallot pepper. Allow to sauté until the zucchini has softened. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add about 3/4 of the corn, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Once the potatoes have softened, allow the soup to cool. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desire creaminess.

Warm the blended soup back up, serve with the remaining corn and garnished with cilantro.

Kitchen Notes

 

 

Cumin Spiced Soup | Kitchen  Notes

We’re almost five months into the year – and what a beautiful year it’s been so far! In the beauty of reflection, here’s how I’ve held up on my resolutions thus far. Remember, I first shared them back at the beginning of the year.

  • Double the veggies: This one was a gimme, and definitely not a stretch goal for the year. As an update, we no find ourselves eating vegetarian based meals at least 2 or 3 times a week. I’d say we’re now at the sustain phase of this resolution.
  • Get outside: Casey took this one to heart. Every weekend, he was hiking or running the trails. My unadventurous self made it out close to every other weekend. The weather started to turn from warm to hot in this past week; our trail days are limited until fall again. Good thing I joined that dance fitness studio!
  • Apply to grad school: maybe I’ll have a better update for you later in the year.

I’m also excited to note that I met my blog posting goals for Q1, and am looking to stretch myself as head into the summer. Because let’s face it, summer has exciting foods and colors to offer that winter – despite being my favorite season – just can’t compete with. So here’s to committing to two recipe posts and one cookbook/reading list per month!

With that, I leave you with a cumin spiked creamy and delicious red lentil soup. Which of course I made when it was over 90 degrees out. Oops. Enjoy!

Cumin Spiced Lentil Soup | Kitchen Notes

Cumin Spiced Lentil Soup

*chop the vegetables as “rustic” (aka large) as you want. Once cooked, you’ll whirl together in a blender.

  • Olive oil, about 2 tps
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 golden potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ~1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/2 to 1 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1 generous Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander or fenugreek – whatever you have on hand
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • Lemons, for serving

In a large stock pot, sauté the onions until translucent (about 3-5 minutes) over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute more). Add the carrots and potatoes. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the spices (salt through cumin). If you’d like you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat. Stir to coat the veggies. Then add the lentils and stock. Bring to a simmer or low boil and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until veggies are soft. If you kept your veggies bigger, the cooking time will be longer. Check on the soup every so often…if it looks too thick, add a pit more broth, no more than 1/4 cup at a time.

Once the veggies are soft, remove from heat. Allow to cool – season with salt, pepper, or any of the ground spices in the recipe to taste. Then allow the soup to cool completely. Once cool, use an immersion blender to blend the soup to desire consistency. You can also blend the soup using a standard blender.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the soup. Garnish with cilantro leaves or z’atar spiked yogurt if you desire.

 

Well: happy September to all. I’m back from vacation and suffering from a bit of kitchen lethargy. Thought that might be the jet lag (it’s really lack of inspiration in the kitchen).

So let’s talk about one of those blessing and banes of summer: zucchini. You love them and you hate them, as the quantity amasses in your garden or the price continues to entice you at the grocery store.

This quick link of recipes from The Kitchn will help you me out. I used the zucchini and garlic soup as a base recipe for a curried zucchini soup. Just substitute the garlic for 2 tablespoons of green curry paste. Serve with cilantro and a summer tomato and parsley salad.

I know this was a lazy Monday post. Vacation reflections and new (more exciting!) recipes are in the future. Here’s another zucchini post from a two years ago (at least I’m not too zucchini crazy on this blog).

Weeknight Remedy | Kitchen Notes

Curried Carrot and Sweet Pot Soup

Brrr…it’s chilly outside. Sure, I’ll take 45 degrees and sunny over 45 degrees and rainy, but this Phoenix girl isn’t used to such cool temps. I’ve kept huddled inside with a blanket, a good book, and Netflix (we have a love hate relationship: I love the selection, I hate that I can just watch my way through a season in a weekend). Oh, and soup. Of course, soup. Who doesn’t love soup when it’s cold?

I’ll pretty much eat soup whenever.

This recipe is much more of an approximation than an exact science (a little of this, a pinch of that is my philosophy for most of my soup making). Sauted onions and garlic, cooked with sweet carrots and bright orange sweet potatoes. With just enough cumin, curry, and fenugreek to give a kick of spice. I even got crafty and made some homemade croutons, because it is Sunday after all…

Curried Carrot Soup with homemade croutons

  • 1 and 3/4 lbs carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of fenugreek powder
  • 2 teaspoons of madras curry powder
  • 6 cups of broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Saute onions on medium heat until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add pressed garlic and continue to cook on low-medium heat until garlic is fragrant. Add spices and stir until onions are well coated. Add carrots and sweet potato, allowing the vegetables to caramelize at the bottom of the pan and then turning. Do this for about 3-5 minutes. Add 4 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. You made need to add an additional cup of broth half way through. Add the final cup of broth and allow soup to cool. Once cool, blend in small batches until smooth.

Croutons

For the croutons

  • 6 slices of whole wheat loaf bread (not sandwich bread)
  • Olive oil for sprinkling
  • Salt
  • Shallot pepper
  • Chopped parsley to taste

Heat the broiler on low. Cut the bread slices into 1 inch or smaller cubes. Toss the bread cubes with olive oil, salt, shallot pepper, and parsley. Spread on a foil lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven. Broil for 3-5 minutes, then shake pan and flip croutons. Broil another 3-5. Allow to cool before serving with the soup.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Happy New Year everyone!

No quite sure which resolutions I’ll be making, but thinking of staying with something simple. Like, have more dinner parties.

Organizing RecipesI started my new year’s planning this past weekend, taking on a long-needed but oft put-aside task: sorting and organizing all the recipes clipped from food magazines. Every so often, I’d take a half-hearted approach, glancing through the pages and thinking “I’ve had this recipe for ages and never made it. Let’s change that.” And then of course, I’d never make the recipe. So this weekend was a full throttle approach: toss what I won’t/haven’t made and organize what I will make.

And today, aside from sleeping too late and accomplishing little, I put together a lovely little soup to enjoy on a crisp January day. I unearthed the foundation recipe in my organizing project: a spring minestrone that was featured last (2012) year in Bon Apetit. It’s not spring, but wouldn’t spring be lovely about now? All in all, it’s a rendition of a cool weather classic: chicken noodle. Except with meatballs, which are pretty darn tasty.

The chicken meatballs take some time and effort; please don’t be put off. They are worth it. Feel free to make this soup yours. Add greens, peas, or other vegetables, etc.

Vegetable Soup with Chicken Meatballs, adapted from Bon Apetit, 2012

To make the meatballs:

  • 1 lbs ground chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup – or slightly less – panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • Sprinkle (1/8 or less tsp) of red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Meatballs Cooking

In a bowl, combine ground chicken breast, herbs, spices, breadcrumbs, and egg. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours). Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Remove chicken mixture from the fridge and roll into small meatballs (bite size). Place completed meatballs on the prepped cookie sheet.

Heat a frying pan with a small bit of butter (1 tsp). Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the meatballs to the pan, 5 or 6 at a time. Make sure not to crowd the pan, as it will make turning them more difficult. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 3-4 minutes total. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Complete until all the meatballs are cooked, aiding more butter or olive oil as necessary. Makes about 30 meatballs. *Note, cooking time will be longer the larger your meatballs are.

Soup - Top View

For the soup:

  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped into bite sized pieces and blanched.
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 5 cups of chicken broth
  • Parsley and parmesan to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until translucent, about 4 – 6 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, and carrots. Continue cooking until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the green beans and chicken meatballs (cooked prior). Simmer for another 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley and parmesan.

Chicken Meatball Soup

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