Sunday, January 13, 2013

Curried Lentil Rice Soup

Last night was
our 2013 inaugural
2nd Saturdays Potluck.
Theme was soups, stews, salads.
My dish
Curried Lentil Rice Soup.
Cooked on stove, carried to potluck dinner, 
and kept warm in crockpot for serving.

1/2 cup brown Basmati rice, soaked for 2 hours
1 cup dry brown or green lentils, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 Tablespoon olive oil
(may substitute 2-4 Tablespoons vegetable broth to reduce fat)
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 pound bag carrots, diced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle or ancho chile powder (optional)
pinch black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Rinse and soak brown rice 2 hours, then drain.
Rinse and soak lentils minimum 2 hours, drain and rinse again.
Heat olive oil in large pot, over medium high heat until hot.
Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, cumin seeds, curry powder, paprika, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, chile powder if using. 
Stir to combine., cover and cook until vegetables begin to soften,
8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If using vegetable broth instead of oil, check more frequently and add more broth if vegetables start to stick to pot.
Add drained rice, stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add drained lentils, stir to combine, and cook for additional minute.
Add broth and water, increase heat until boiling.
Stir, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 - 30 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in apple cider vinegar and serve.

Like most soups, this one gets better with time.
Depending on your diners, ancho or chipotle seasoning might be too much of a kick, so optional.

Celebrating 1968 release of
Otis Redding's
(Sittin' On the)
Dock of The Bay

it's a classic, like good soup,
I love Otis Redding's music,
and, though I am and will always be a mega
Florida Gator fan,
I am also an NCAA South East Conference fan
and celebrating conference college football win
last Monday night watching the
"...Tide roll away.." ND.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Black-eyed peas and Collard greens - Imani/New Year's Eats

Happy New Year 
- 13 years into the new century.
Happy Kwanzaa!
Principle of the day
- Faith!
Resolving to do MORE in 2013; 
in whatever way MORE presents itself.
For today, MORE home cooking!
New Year's traditional food
Black eyed peas and greens, with grits.

Creole Hoppin' - Jean (Jon) 
(Black eyed peas, brown rice and tomatoes)
Bryant Terry's
Vegan Soul Kitchen

Grits, aka polenta to some.
My own basic recipe:
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups organic (non-GMO) stone ground corn meal
pinch seasoned salt 
(more or less depending on saltiness of your broth; 
we like Tony Chachere's)
In medium saucepan over high heat, bring broth to boil.
Reduce heat to medium high; slowly whisk in corn meal and salt,
whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
If any lumps do form, break them up with whisk.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Collard greens and tomatoes
2 bunches collards, washed and chopped
(do not dry greens; moisture helps steam them when cooking)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 large tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
In large skillet over medium high heat, saute onion in oil until softened, 3-5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add garlic, pepper flakes and tomato. Saute for a minute. 
Slowly stir in broth to de-glaze pan, 
if any bits of onion are sticking to pan.
Add greens, handful at a time, adding more as the greens "cook down" or wilt. 
Stir in salt.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until greens are completely wilted.
Remove from heat, serve.

For this dish, I spooned grits into middle of plate,
and surrounded them with the "hoppin-jean" and greens.
Grits take the place of the usual cornbread.
I prefer the texture of the stone ground corn meal for grits,
instead of the packaged grits sold in most stores.
The tomatoes in both the peas and the greens 
are from my summer garden frozen stash. 
A 14oz can of diced tomatoes will work, or just omit them.

Inspiration for this plating was a vegan "grains and greens" meal enjoyed at an Abyssinian restaurant last summer in San Diego, 
where the grits were surrounded by the greens and scooped up with one's fingers to "spoon" the greens into one's mouth
Because of the peas and rice, I used a fork.

Blessed, Healthy, Happy, Prosperous

Jill Scott's BLESSED.