Monday, October 25, 2010

Minestrone Soup!

Alex was feeling a little sickly on Sunday and requested soup for dinner. I gave him a choice between sausage and lentil or a vegetable minestrone, and he opted for the veggie soup. (I think this may be the first time ever he picked the non sausage option. :-) )

I googled around a bit, but couldn’t find a recipe I liked so decided to make something up. Minestrone is basically veggies, beans and pasta in a tomato-y broth right? Close enough.

This turned out REALLY good! YUM. Soothing and filling, and super healthy I might add. Perfect for a chilly evening and sick husband.

Minestrone Soup
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk of celery
4 cloves of garlic
½ can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1/3-1/2 Cup corn kernals
1 box of vegetable broth (about 5 cups)
¼ Cup or so quinoa
About 1 cup of small pasta
Olive oil
Spices: parsley, basil, oregano, Marjoram , sea salt, black pepper, bay leaf

Finely chop all of the raw vegetables and garlic. Saute onions, garlic, carrot, and celery in olive oil in a large pot until the onions soften. Add diced tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and black beans. Stir. Add the veggie broth, quinoa and corn. Add spices, to taste. I ended up with probably 2 TBS of parsley, 1 TBS of Oregano, 1 TBS of basil, 1TSP of marjoram, a few grinds of pepper, salt to taste and a few shakes of crushed bay leaf. Add what looks right and smells good!

Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer about 15-20 minutes. While this is cooking, cook the pasta to package directions. When it’s al dente, strain and add to the soup. Enjoy!

I forgot to take a picture at the table, but this works just as well!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A breath of fresh air.

I love living in the city. However, one of the great parts of NYC is that on days when you just need a breath of fresh air, a bit of peace and quiet, you can head north for 30 minutes, and find this.


And a little of this as well.



This Sunday was truly a beautiful fall day and just the right amount of chill in the air to make hiking in Harriman State Park the perfect way to spend the afternoon. A great time had by all!




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Warm Beet and Lentil Salad

So I realized it's been WAY too long since I last posted. Opps! I'm not quite sure what happened, but I figured I couldn't leave you hanging too much longer without something new and exciting from the kitchen.

I have been pretty uninspired by the recipes I've been finding in my reader lately, but saw this one on Savory, Spicy Sweet this morning and thought it might be just the thing to get me out of the slump.

I have never actually cooked beets before. In fact, I tried them for the first time ever this summer at Alex's grandmothers. Since they're still in season at the farmers market, I figured today was as good a day as any.

Aside from roasting the beets, this was actually really quick and easy. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but both of us thought this was delicious! Light but filling and the flavors worked great together!

I modified things just a bit for what we had on hand, otherwise, stuck pretty closely to the recipe. I cut the dressing amount in half from the original, and it ended up being perfect for the two of us with just a bit of lentils left over.


Warm Beet and Lentil Salad

For the Dressing:

Sherry Vinaigrette:

*1/8 cup sherry vinegar
*1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*a few dashes of dried thyme
* a dash of sea salt
*1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl

For the Salad:

* 3 medium beets
* 3/4 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
* 1 carrot, quartered
* 1 stalk celery, quartered
* 4 cups chicken stock (I used 2 C stock 2 C water)
* 1 cup dried French green lentils
* Salt and Pepper
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 pound sliced turkey bacon, diced (about 3-4 good sized slices)
(I imagine fancy bacon would be better, but this is what we had)
* 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 small carrot finely diced
* A few shakes of dried thyme
* 2 tsp sherry vinegar
* mixed greens (we had a mixture of lettuce and arugula)
* goat cheese
* French bread, for serving

Begin by roasting the beets.

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees F.

Take 3 medium beets (red or gold), scrubbed, leaves trimmed, and coat them lightly with olive oil. Wrap them loosely in tin foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about an hour until cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes, peel, and then cut into thin slices.

While the beets are roasting, start to cook the lentils. Fill a pot with 4 cups of water or stock and add the carrot, celery, and half an onion. Bring to a boil. Add the lentils and turn down the heat and cover. Cook about 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain well and remove the carrot, celery and onion.

As the lentils cook, Add the bacon to a frying pan and cook until lightly golden brown. Remove the bacon. Add the garlic and carrot and a quarter of chopped onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and bacon to the pan and stir to combine. Stir in a bit of thyme and 2 tsp of sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm.

To assemble the salad, place the mixed greens on a plate, top with the lentil mixture, and then add the beets. Top with goat cheese. Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette. Serve with slices of French bread.