Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Other recipes from the week past

I'm behind on my blogging - I thought I'd try to post every day, and maybe actually get out 4-5 per week - so I'm posting another short item about other dishes I made this week.

On Monday night, I went on a tear and made two different kinds of soup. Most of both went into the freezer. That's what I do with almost everything I make: cook a huge batch, and then freeze it in containers. Then I can pull out something from the basement when I don't feel like cooking. I live having a store of tasty food ready to go, and cooking with seasonal produce means the food is way cheaper than store bought or even grocery-purchased ingredients.

So what did I make, and what recipes did I use? I can tell you what I cooked, but I don't remember the quantities of ingredients in each dish, and sometimes I forget what I put in. My friends think I'm being cagey, and not wanting to give up my recipes, but mostly I cook by taste, and almost never measure, so I just don't know how much of everything is in there. But here's my best shot:

Potato-leek soup
Two huge leeks
A couple pounds of good potatos (the ones I used were red potatos recommended by the vendor at the Farmers Market.)
Salt, black pepper, red pepper, and cumin (I think I put cumin in there.)

I sauteed the leeks in lots of butter. You don't want to know how much, but I didn't put any milk or cream in this soup, so maybe it's not as fattening as it seems. I like to sautee onions, leeks, shallots, and garlic until they are soft and creamy. It brings out the sweetness.

After cutting the potatoes into chunks, I boilded them in a big soup pot until they were soft. then I added the leaks, salt, pepper and cumin (?). Then I let it simmer for awhile, so all the ingredients could blend.

When everything was well cooked and blended, I pureed the soup in batches in my blender so that it ended up creamy smooth. One web page warned to not blend it too long, because the potatoes could become sticky, but I guess I;m just not that worried about that.

Although there's no milk in the soup, it came out lovely, smooth and creamy. I think just tasting throughout the process was my dinner.

Lentil-sorrel soup

Ingredients - completely guessing at amounts
Lentils - about 1.5-2 cups dried
Sorrel - I picked enough to fill a large bowl before it was chopped. Maybe a quart when chopped and packed.
Onion - one large
Garlic - one very large clove, or two smaller cloves
Lemon juice - a couple tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste

This soup was mostly to use up the sorrel still green and growing in my front yard. More on sorrel in another post, but here's a link in case you are curious what this stuff is.

I have always loved the lemony lentil-spinach soup that is served at the Casbah. (is it still being served under the new owner?) Sorrel has a lemony taste, and is a green like spinach, so I figured I'd try making a soup with sorrel instead of spinach.

I started the lentil cooking separately while I chopped and cooked the other ingredients. Some legumes don't soften properly if you add acidic ingredients from the start. Lentils are pretty quick to cook, so I knew they'd be ready soon.

After sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil - until the onions are soft and transparent, I added the chopped sorrrel and let it cook until wilted. By this time the lentils were ready, so I added the onions, garlic, and sorrel directly into the pot with the boiling lentils. It looked a bit too thick, so I added more water until it looked like soup instead of dal.

Since the sorrel has a mild lemon taste, I added some lemon juice. Salt, pepper to taste, and simmer until everything is well blended.

Somehow, I think that I've forgotten something, but can't remember what. I guess that's what happens when I have several projects going at the same time.

So now I've got a bunch of containers of two kinds of soup. Bring on the winter!

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