Tag Archives: vegetables

Lentils

I have long wanted to try these legumes.  Prided on for their nutrition, and their price, but cooking for one was never an option before and now i’m cooking for two, but two who are adventurous and willing to at least try new things.

 

So this week at the grocery store, I picked up two bags of lentils, one regular green lentils (maybe they’re brown?) and a bag of split red lentils.  Not alot, just under a Kilogram in weight.  So today the hunt was on!  what can I do with Lentils?

 

I pulled out my newest old cookbook that my mom sent over to me (thanks mom!), the Soup Bible and went looking.  Mainly because if the word ‘soup’ is in the title, it’s difficult to get my boyfriend to NOT eat the food.  Or at least try it.  And so, we come across the recipe for Garlicky Lentil Soup.  Reading through the instructions it seems easy enough, ‘Dump ingredients into pot, cook for 1.5 hours, add vinegar at the end, enjoy.’

 

Who could mess that up?

 

Me, apparently.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

First step was to gather the ingredients (i had to walk down to the store for the onion which resulted in a twisted ankle and some bruised ego, but that’s another story)

 

Ingredients gathered!  Not pictured here is the pepper, curry powder, or red wine vinegar that were all added later.

 

Now, onto the mincing of the veggies!  If there is one thing that I wouldn’t mind going to some sort of cooking class for, it would be proper knife skills.  Those would be really nice to have.

 

After the vegetables were chopped, they went into the pot, along with the lentils, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and some stock.  Here is where I ran into trouble.  The original recipe called for more lentils than I had.  So instead of moving on, i decided to reduce.  so I halved and then halved again, taking it form 6 servings down to 2.  I did all my calculations and even double checked them.  Piece of easy peasy, Right?

Wrong.

 

I, again, have never cooked lentils before, so when the recipe said to dump it all in together and then leave to cook for an hour and a half, I did.  I started to hear some troubling sounds and I ran into the kitchen, the lentils had soaked up all the liquid!

 

Insert panic here.

 

I didn’t know if that was supposed to happen, so I went to the fridge and grabbed the canister of vegetable stock that i had used for this, and started adding.

 

This happened a few times and finally towards the end of coking time I had added in the original amount of stock that the recipe had called for.

 

The result did not look pretty, but it smelled heavenly.  Especially after I added in some black pepper and some curry powder (god I love curry powder) in the last half hour of cooking.

 

I have no idea what I ended up with, but I do not think that it could be called ‘soup’, it was more like what split pea soup is from the can, before diluting it with water.

 

What it was, however, was freaking delicious.  Served with cucumber slices (about 1/3 of an english cucumber each), and some hunks of herb & garlic focaccia bread, it was quite the tasty meal.

I’m still a little hungry, but I know that if I let my stomach settle, then everything will be full.

 

Again, I have no idea if I made the food right, I followed the instructions but reducing the portions seemed to make the soup go all crazy.  I do know, however, that the lentils end up cooked just fine, the meal tasted amazing, and E was sad that there weren’t any leftovers.  I call that, in all cases, a success.

 

yeah, I added some sour cream to mine.  Definitely a tasty addition.

 

Garlicky Lentil Soup

inspired by The Soup Bible

edited by Debra Mayhew

 

Serves 6

  • 1 1/3 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a generous pinch of dried marjoram or oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish
  • crusty rolls

 

  1. Put all ingredients, except for the vinegar, seasoning, garnish, and rolls, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil over Medium Heat.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring the soup occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and add in the red wine vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little extra vegetable stock or water.
  5. Serve with hot crusty bread.

 

 

Chicken Little?

So, there was this chicken.  She didn’t seem too big really, maybe about 4 or 5 lbs.  But let me tell you, Little Miss Chicken can go a long long way.

I never really bought whole chicken in the states.  The ex boyfriend refused to eat chicken on the bone, and then so did my mother.  Mom just doesn’t like dark meat, he hated the feel of the bone on his teeth.

 

Whatever.

 

So last week was time for an experiment for me.  We had gone food shopping last sunday (21 march) and instead of picking up a packet of chicken breasts like usual, I figured we could go for the whole bird.  Now, there were some thoughts along with this, and I will share.

 

In the states, when you buy the boneless skinless chicken breasts, they usually come in just that one tear-drop shaped breast, down here, you get the entire thing.  Enough so that a package of 3 breasts can easily be made into 6 whole cuts of chicken.  If not more.  I can usually stretch that 1 package of chicken breasts into at least 3 meals for us.

So logic states, if I can do that with just the breasts, what can I do with more chicken meat!  Well, add onto this logic, plus the fact that E had a cold and was craving some soup, I talked him into getting a whole chicken.

 

Best thing ever!

 

I had intended on roasting the chicken and then just using the bones to make the broth and taking the meat and dividing it up for dinners, but my father suggested that I do it the other way,boiling the chicken in the water to make broth, and then salvaging the meat for further uses.  Excellent idea!

 

So the chicken went into the pot with some carrots and some spices, and she boiled away for about four hours.  A nice long hot bath.  She was definitely dead by now, but her legacy lived on.

I have about 3 cups of chicken broth frozen in the freezer for future use.  I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup that night for my E, and his cold. I have made 4 servings of curried chicken salad. I made a chicken pasta primavera bake thing. And I made chicken mushroom tomato sauce.  so let’s go over this again.  1 chicken has brought us

 

  • 3 servings chicken noodle soup
  • 4 servings curried chicken salad
  • 4 servings chicken pasta primavera bake
  • 4 servings chicken and mushroom spaghetti sauce
  • 6 (3) cups chicken broth (3 went into the soup)

From ONE chicken. that is, has been, (1+3+4+2=10) TEN meals from one chicken.

 

TEN.  MEALS.

The chicken cost just about $14NZD (that’s $10 USD).  And for the things that I used with it, I don’t even know.  The noodles from the soup and the primavera were about $1.50/bag.  The Tomato sauce was about $2.00, the frozen veggies were $3.00, the cheese was about $5.00…

 

I made a weeks worth of meals for under $40.  And that’s not even counting the beef that I mixed up on the same night as the chicken!

Taco Goop

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 cans mild chili beans
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large slicing tomato, wedged
  • Water
  • Tomato sauce (ketchup)
  • 1 cup brown rice

 

  1. In my slow cooker i dumped in the meat, beans, and corn.  Added in the spices (the measurements are approximate and should be adjusted to what you think you can handle or what looks right), brown sugar, and the liquid.  I put in enough water to just cover the meat and other goodies.
  2. Put slow cooker on low.
  3. Now my slow cooker gets hot and stays that way, so I have to keep an eye on it.  I left it on low for about 5 hours, going back and stirring and tasting and adding more pepper or more cumin as I saw fit.  And adding more water or tomato sauce (which is like ketchup but it’s thinner.  It can be purchased in cans in the US) as it needed.
  4. I added the rice in about an hour before ‘dinner’, but seeing as it was brown rice I should have added it in about 2 hours prior as the hour cooking time did not give it enough time to cook through.  I also added more water at this point to keep the consistency loose like a chili and to give the rice more to drink.

 

There is a 3 cup container in my freezer filled with half of this mixture, the other half has been made into tacos earlier this week and will become the mix for stuffed peppers tonight.

 

 

I think what i’m trying to say is that buying whole foods seems to be the best way to go for economics.  And it doesn’t have to be whole pizza.  while nothing I’ve had this week has been necessarily ‘stellar’ on the health scale, I have had some really good food.  In smaller portions than normal.  And I haven’t felt bad.  And it’s all been very affordable.

 

Am I going to buy another whole chicken and do it again?  Oh heck yes.  I’m thinking chicken tacos, chicken pasties, chicken pot pie (E will approve of this one, i’m sure), and maybe some chicken croquettes.

 

Cooking for two people is one hell of a lot more adventurous than cooking for a family was.  Especially when E will eat my mistakes and still tell me that they’re tasty!

Afternoon Delight

Get your mind out of the gutter.

 

Believe it or not, this is not about sex.  I’ve made an executive decision that unless explicitly asked or a certain topic just can’t help but be discussed, I would not talk about sex on this blog.  Except in the abstract.  There might be children reading.

 

No, this is about a delicious treat that I had today that made the afternoon of walking and shopping seem that much better.  It’s an item that i’ve seen advertised on a few of the little coffee bar places around, but never quite got into.

 

Iced Chocolate.

 

Now, your eyebrow might be raising a bit in curiosity, or if you’re a kiwi already then you probably already know what it is, but please, allow me to explain.

 

Iced Chocolate is essentially a coffee shop version of milk chocolate.  Only it is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup.

 

simple, right?  Astounding that we don’t have places in the states who have thought of this! It is just amazingly simple and so delicious, that it’s hard to believe that we american’s haven’t figured it out.

 

So there you have it, today’s indulgence.

 

Tonight’s treat will be something involving meat and vegetables.  possibly with some fruit as dessert.  we bought strawberries.

 

mmm strawberries.