Archive for ‘gadgets’

February 1, 2011

Warm-Your-Bones Lentil Soup

I try to always keep lentils on hand … for days like today.  With the snow that we got last night and the below freezing temperatures that are continuing in the next couple of days, a nice warm soup is the first thing that pops into my mind (after taking pictures of the beautiful snow of course).

This was the first thing I saw when I looked out our window this morning.  Pretty bird.

Leo cat was dying to get outside.  He pranced in the snow for 5 minutes or so, until he couldn’t feel his paws.

I think he would’ve happily stayed out there all day if I hadn’t been calling him back in.

By now, I think you may have noticed that I have a thing for pots and pans, basically all. things. kitchen.  I especially love my Le Creuset Oval French Oven … the colors, oh the colors.  I have my eye on a turquoise braiser – but that won’t be in the Howard kitchen for awhile.  For now, all my love goes to this yellow pot.  It makes me smile.

Back to the lentils.  They really are a super food – not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are also ready in around 30 minutes and they make delicious soups.  I had both red and green lentils on hand, so I used both in this recipe.  Feel free to use whatever suits your fancy, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.  I really like mixing in red lentils because they don’t have as hard of a coating as the green lentils and they break down a bit after being cooked, which gives the soup a nice texture.  The splash of red wine vinegar brings a bit of acidity to balance the savory notes of the bacon, onion, and garlic.  Some kale or spinach would be nice in this soup – chopped and thrown in towards the end … but I didn’t have that on hand.  I hope this keeps you warm in these cold days ahead!

:: You will need ::

3 strips bacon, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise & cut into half moons

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ cups lentils, picked over & rinsed

½ tsp. dried thyme

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

:: Let’s get going ::

(1) Put the bacon in a Dutch oven or deep pot on medium heat.

(2) While the bacon is cooking, peel the carrots and chop them.  Add them with the bacon in the pot.  Then, chop the onion and garlic and add it to the pot as well.

(3) Add the tomato paste to the pot and follow it with the water and buillon cubes (or chicken stock).

(4) Season the soup with the dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

(5) Wash and drain the lentils, then add them to the pot.

(6) Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down to medium low.  Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender.  Watch the water level as the soup simmers, you may need to add some.

(7) After the lentils are tender, stir in the red wine vinegar.  Enjoy!

Printable version.

Printable version with picture.


January 24, 2011

The de Buyer

For those of you who love cast iron skillets, or who love well-seasoned meat for that matter, I have a pan for you.  Williams-Sonoma has a de Buyer Carbon Steel Mineral Fry Pan that is 99% carbon, organic and 100% recyclable.  The more you use it, the better it will perform, as it becomes darker and non-stick over time.  However, it is important to note that this pan requires some T.L.C. – you must hand wash the pan, only using hot water and a miniscule amount of soap.  After each use, you must coat the pan in oil to maintain the seasoning over time.  Just from the handful of times we have used the pan thus far, it is definitely worth the extra time and I think we will enjoy it even more as it continues to season.

Before you use the de Buyer, you have to begin seasoning it by boiling potato peelings for 10 minutes.

After discarding the peelings, wipe it clean with a little bit of soap and water.  After every use and cleaning, you have to cover the interior with a thin coating of oil (we use olive oil) before storing.