Recipes

Steve’s Recipes: Craving Broccoli and Lentil Soup

Craving Broccoli: Broccoli Salad

Weird, I know…who craves broccoli?!?  Me, apparently.  It’s all I wanted this week and I wanted it in the form of this lemony, tangy, crunchy salad.

This is seriously the easiest side dish and is perfect for summer.  Usually when you hear “broccoli salad”.

You think mayonnaise laden broccoli florets with cheese and bacon…not the healthiest thing in the world.  This salad is quite the opposite and really tasty.

Craving Broccoli

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Thinly sliced lemon & red onion

 

Preparations:

Quick trick for steaming your broccoli – place the clean florets in a zip top plastic baggie and cut a few slits in it.

Microwave on high for 1-2 mins- check the doneness of the broccoli by poking it with a fork.  I prefer mine to stay a little crunchy so I cooked it for a shorter amount of time.

Started off by making the vinaigrette for the salad in the bottom of a large bowl – mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, zest and salt and add a dash of black pepper and hot sauce.

Threw some thin lemon slices in there too. Next,  I poured the just-steamed broccoli into the bowl and tossed.  Add some thinly sliced red onion last, as much or as little as you like.

My mom always makes this salad in the summer and serves it with grilled chicken, or grilled sausage – moral of the story is that it can be added to any summer menu.

Last night, I obviously knew I was eating broccoli salad for dinner because there’s a big bowl of it in the fridge but I needed something to go with it…

Yup, that’s baked beans on top of a baked sweet potato.  I have seen this combo all over the blog world lately and it sounded really good – guess what, it is really good!

Makes sense that the sweetness of the baked beans would go well with a sweet potato.  It may not be the prettiest of things, but it really is quite delicious.

I have never bought canned baked beans, thinking they would never taste as good as homemade, but I highly recommend Whole Foods brand organic baked beans if you’re curious to try this creation too.

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Lentil Soup

What I mean is sometimes you think you don’t like a certain dish because you’ve had so many bad versions of that dish.

But then suddenly you encounter a recipe for that dish that takes you by surprise and you find yourself–against your best instincts–loving that dish.

lentil soup

But certain weather demands that you make soup, and if ever there was the weather for soup–and if you live in the Northeast or the Northwest, you know what I’m talking about–this is it.

What I liked so much about this soup is that the flavors were clear and bright; it wasn’t that muddy, gunky mass of water and mushy beans that normally passes for lentil soup.

All of the elements–the lentils, the onions, the greens (I used swiss chard)–stand firmly on their own and even though it’s hardy enough to be a winter dish

It has all the brightness of summer too. And if you make it spicy (and I did) you’ll feel like there’s a campfire in your belly, which is just what you want on a cold winter’s night.

 

Here’s an Amateur Gourmet summary of what you do:

  • Buy a bag of lentils and boil 2 cups of them in plenty of water for 20 minutes or until they’re cooked through (at the 15 minute mark, start tasting.) When cooked, drain them.

 

  • Wash out that pot dry it. Add some olive oil (Heidi says 1 Tbs, I used more because I’m a glutton), turn up the heat, and add one chopped onion.

 

  • Here’s where Heidi and I go down different paths: she has you add spices at the end of the recipe, but I added them with the onion while it was sauteing.

 

  • So in this step, I added salt and a sprinkling of cumin seeds, a sprinkling of cayenne pepper, a sprinkling of curry powder, and some red pepper flakes. It’s all to taste so if you want it aggressive and spicy, add a lot.

 

  • If you want it mild and subtle, add a little. As Heidi says: you can rewrite this recipe as much as you want to suit your own needs.

 

  • When the onion is translucent, you add 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water (I used the empty tomato can for the water so I got all the remaining tomato shmutz in there too) and the cooked lentils to the pot.

 

  • Bring the soup to a simmer and taste; this is a good time to adjust the salt. I added quite a bit, but I’m a salty guy.

 

  • After a few minutes, add 3 cups of a finely chopped “big, leafy green”–either kale or chard–which you wash well and separate from the stem (don’t use the stems.) Let it wilt a bit in the soup and then that’s it. You’re done!

 

It’s just the kind of food you want to eat at the start of a cold, miserable winter; which means the time to eat it is now.

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