Auld lang syne

As I try to reflect on 2015, I’m at a bit of a loss for words. In the grand scheme of things, it’s been one helluva year.

1

I got hitched on a back screen porch in the rain and I had a baby. I said goodbye to our beloved kitty and hello to a new one.

I took time away from one career while trying to spark a new one. But throughout it all there’s been food, for which I am grateful.

I pickled carrots. I made lots of smoothies. I ate lots of ice cream. There were tacos, salads, pizzas, beans, loaves of bread and bowls of soup. I’m not one for making resolutions, but there is usually a list- in my head or written down- of things “to do.” This year I will try to play more banjo, exercise everyday (more for my own peace of mind than anything else), widdle down the t-shirt collection, spend more time reading and writing and less time aimlessly wandering the internet and eat more lentils. I referenced this soup in another post recently, but it’s so good I thought I should include the recipe. I recommend that you double the amount of tomato paste and lemon juice. You can also add more lentils and liquid if you want to stretch it out for a couple of meals. Maybe add a salad and a loaf a good bread. Definitely a bowl of ice cream for dessert.

_________________________________________________

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

From The New York Times

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

PREPARATION
In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

____________________________________________________

Cheers to a happy 2016.

 

Advertisements

Bon hiver

And it snows.

Huck snow

It might be wet and icy, but it’s snow- something the rest of the world seemed to have until now but us. And Half-moon is asleep on my lap and this morning the new kitten got the closest he has gotten to snuggling with our old guy, Muddy, since he came to us right before Thanksgiving. And there is a chance- a small chance- that I might get to take the skis out tomorrow. So I guess what I am saying is that things seem pretty nice today, except that my sister- the one who ties packages with black and white string and has the best sticker collection and makes the most delicious salads- is headed back to Seattle and I wish she were still here.

IMG_5122

On Christmas Eve we walked with Half-moon to the bar to fill a growler of porter beer before heading to our parents’ house to devour the cheeseball and make a radicchio and belgian endive winter slaw for dinner. I washed the leaves while she pickled the onions in red wine vinegar. We ate the salad along with fish stew and a baguette from Batch Bakehouse (that I had to fight for after our morning yoga class… Next time I’ll be sure to get there earlier!) After dinner and peppermint custard, we sipped hot water and whiskey while my sister read us “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “The Gift of the Magi” by the light of her headlamp. We wrote our letter for Santa and went to bed. I’m nostalgic for it already.

________________________________________

Radicchio, Belgian Endive and Naval Orange Winter Slaw with Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients

1/2 small radicchio, sliced thinly
3 belgian endive, sliced thinly
2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced crosswise (into rounds)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
small bunch fresh parsley, torn into pieces
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt

Directions

Slice the red onion and soak in a bowl of cold water for ten minutes. Meanwhile, slice the radicchio, endive and oranges and toss together in a big salad bowl. Drain the onions and cover with red wine vinegar. Add the onions, vinegar, parsley and olive oil and toss again. Season to taste with salt.

______________________________________________

Happy winter.

Lemon essence

Happy citrus season.

When I was a ten or eleven-years-old, I wanted to start a restaurant called Lemon Essence. Everything on the menu would involve lemon. I can still picture the list of food that I would serve that I wrote in my adolescent handwriting on a small Clinique pamphlet. Lemon rice, lemon pasta, lemon chicken, lemon pie, lemon bars, lemonade. Inspired by a recent trip to Hawaii, the restaurant would be a giant screen porch illuminated by tiki torches.

I remember making my signature lemon pasta dish for my friend Meagan. I think we were at our friend Laura’s house. I sauteed garlic in butter and added flour (making a roux) and then added lots of fresh squeezed lemon juice and served the sauce over linguine. I think Meagan’s exact words when she ate it were “it hurts!” Not everyone loved the acidic sourness of the lemons as much as me.

I wonder if my fascination with lemons started when we visited our family friends, Bumps and Frannie, who lived in the hills above Berkeley. We took the train to visit them when I was four and eight-years-old. Bumps and Frannie had a lemon tree growing in their courtyard and the air around their home was citrus-scented.

I now have zero desire to open a restaurant, but I still love lemons. So does my sister who recommends this recipe for lentil soup (she doubled the amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice.) I am including two recipes for lemon-y salads. The first one comes from Bon Appetit and was one was served at a recent gathering of Wisconsin Whisk-ers. I think I ate the entire bowl. With shredded kale and brussel sprouts, it reminds of a really healthly caesar salad.

IMG_5032

The second recipe is for a dressing made with meyer lemon and heavy cream. I’ve written about these two ingredients before. I made this dressing for a salad for Christmas last year and it was so good.

______________________________________________

Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad

From Bon Appetit

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Directions

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

________________________________________________

Meyer Lemon Cream Salad Dressing

From Sunset Magazine

Ingredients

2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/8 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Put shallot, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in oil, then whisk in 1/2 tsp. more salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and the cream. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Stir before using.
Make ahead: Up to 3 days, chilled.

_________________________________________________

Lemons + greens = love.