Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I just got back to Seattle after a wonderful long weekend with my family and friends at home. Just a couple more weeks of class before we break for the holidays, but I’m looking forward to the Seattle holiday activities while I’m here!

I made this soup a couple weeks ago during a cold spell, and it’s a wonderful, warming winter soup. The curry adds a great flavor to the squash, as well as a nice orange-y color, perfect for fall or winter! You can use whatever squash you like, I just decided to try it with acorn squash. If you want the soup to be a bit sweeter, I would suggest butternut squash or maybe kabocha. Either way, with soup,

I find that if you just add things to the pot and blend it all up and taste as you go, you can’t go wrong! Here’s the recipe I made:

Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 acorn squash (about 4-5 lbs)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups dried brown lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

1 14oz can coconut milk

1 ½-2 tbsp curry powder

2 cups water (to desired consistency)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 410˚F. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil on the cut part of the squash, then place cut side down on the baking sheet, bake for 35-45 minutes, until the squash are easily pierced with a fork. Remove and allow to cool enough to scoop out the flesh.

While the squash is cooling, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions start to become translucent. Pour in the lentils and toast them slightly, then pour in the vegetable stock and increase heat to medium-high.

Bring the lentils to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and curry powder and continue to simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. If necessary add more water (I added about 2 cups, maybe 3) to thin the soup enough to blend easily. Add the squash and heat through.

Use an immersion blender (or allow to cool slightly and carefully transfer in batches to a regular blender) and blend the soup until smooth. Add more water if necessary to desired consistency. Serve warm with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Print

Advertisements

Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

Well I’m back in Seattle after attending the most amazing wedding I will probably ever go to. My college roommate got married in Santa Barbara this weekend, and it was absolutely wonderful to celebrate with her and her husband, as well as hang out with all of our college friends. I’m currently ignoring the tests that I have this week and instead reminiscing about the weekend and writing this post about the lentil casserole I made for dinner last week. I adapted a recipe from The Kitchn based on my tastes and what I had available. I liked the idea of a casserole, but instead of using rice, I just used all lentils. Instead of mushrooms, I added some spinach for the leafy greens, but the mushrooms would also be a great addition. The result was a hearty casserole, perfect for the chilly fall nights that are about to become the norm here. Here’s my recipe!

Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup brown lentils, dried

3 cups vegetable/chicken broth

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup milk (I used nonfat)

3 eggs

Herbs to

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

taste

Ground pepper, to taste

1 16oz package frozen spinach

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Combine the lentils and broth in a rice cooker and set to cook (alternatively, cook on the stovetop).

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes. While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Beat together the milk and eggs. Stir in the cheese and herbs and make sure to stir well.

Once the lentils are cooked and the onions are caramelized, combine the lentils, onions, and spinach in the pan. Pour the milk and egg mixture on top and stir to combine. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove and allow to let cool before serving. Enjoy!

Print

Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

Print

Red Curry Noodles

Happy finals week everyone! Clearly my motivation for studying is at an all-time high, since I’ve been playing ultimate frisbee all weekend and taking a few breaks to attempt to study… But regardless, spring quarter is almost over here at UW, and I am way too excited to go home to California for a little bit once finals are over, before we come back for summer classes.

I made these curry noodles for dinner earlier this week, and they turned out even better than I expected! I wanted to try making curry noodles without have the noodles swimming in soup, so I experimented by cooking fresh noodles in a curry sauce of coconut milk and curry paste, and the noodles absorbed most of the liquid, resulting in soft, flavorful noodles that could be eaten off a plate! We just had an H-mart open up near campus, so I got a few of my ingredients from there. I can’t remember exactly what kind of noodles I used, but they were some kind of fresh noodles, flour-based, and the package contained 3 servings, so here’s my best guess at the recipe!

Red Curry Noodles

Makes 5-6 servings

4 green onions, sliced

3 slices fresh ginger

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tsp olive oil

9 shiitake mushrooms (I used dried), sliced

5 heads baby bok choy, stalks sliced and leaves intact

2 tsp canola oil

1 16oz block of firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 14oz can coconut milk

2 tbsp red curry paste

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp lime juice

16-20 oz flour noodles, flat variety (or use whatever noodles look good to you, about 3 servings worth)

Directions

In a large saucepan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the green onions and garlic until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and bok choy stems and allow to cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and heat the canola oil in the center. Add the tofu and cook for a couple minutes on each side, allowing to brown slightly. While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice.

Remove the veggies and tofu from the pan and pour in the curry sauce. Add the noodles to the pot and stir to separate the noodles. Cover the pan and allow the noodle to cook for a couple minutes and absorb the liquid. Add the veggies and tofu back into the pan and stir to combine. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Print

DSCN7867.jpg

 

Sesame Soba Noodles

Well somehow it’s been three months since I last posted… But it’s now halfway through spring quarter and I have three midterms this week, so this is as good a time as any, right?

In any case, the sun does indeed exist in Seattle! Who knew? But it’s poked it’s head out pretty consistently for the past week (minus a couple thunderstorms here and there) and I think that spring has finally sprung. I went on a hike a couple weeks ago with some classmates after our Friday afternoon class and the mountain was out! It was a beautiful day in Issaquah, and here’s the view we got on the way up the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point.  DSCN7762.jpg

My backyard is also blooming! Our tulips opened up to welcome the sun 🙂

IMG_6794.jpg

But now to more important things: the food. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I feel less of a need to make soups and hearty, warm comfort food. So I tried these sesame noodles, and made up a sauce and added whatever vegetables looked good and were on sale. So this is what I came up with! I personally like my vegetables a little bit cooked so they’re tender, but you could also just slice them thin and leave them raw. It’s a versatile recipe, so feel free to adjust the sauce to your taste, and use whatever veggies you desire! This tastes great when served chilled, so it’s a great one to make as the weather warms up, and it would be a great addition to an outdoor barbecue or potluck. Also, I just noticed that this recipe happens to be vegan, so it’s great for people with dietary restrictions 🙂

Sesame Soba Noodles

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

14oz soba noodles

2 tsp olive oil

6-8 green onions, sliced

1 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups shelled edamame

1 large cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

Sesame seeds

Directions

In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Add in the minced garlic and minced ginger. Allow to refrigerate overnight if you have time, but this is not necessary.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the soba noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run cold water over the noodles, toss with half of the sesame sauce, then set aside to cool, or put in the fridge to chill.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook a minute or two, then add the carrots. Cover and allow the carrots to soften for a couple minutes. Add the bell pepper and edamame, then add the remainder of the sesame sauce to the vegetables. Cook until vegetables are your desired tenderness.

Toss together the noodle, cooked vegetables, and cucumber. Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Print

DSCN7796.jpg

Vegetarian Chao Mian (Chow Mein) and Gai Lan

I’ve been craving a lot of Chinese food recently. I think it’s because I miss home and my mom’s delicious home-cooking. However, Chinese New Year just happened, so I took advantage of some of the sales at the Asian market and picked up some ingredients for some of my favorite comfort foods. Then I got a coupon for a discount off my next purchase so obviously I had to go back… Anyway, this is one of the meals I cooked for myself recently, and it’s been the perfect comfort food for the dreary and drizzly week we’ve been having here in Seattle.

I decided to make chao mian, then add a side of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) to have a little more green on my plate. I’ve never made gai lan, but it turns out, it’s super easy and fast! You just boil some water, drop the gai lan in, cook for a few minutes, and then remove it and you’re done! Drizzle a little oyster sauce on top and it’s just like off a dim sum cart.

As for the chao mian, I prefer the thicker noodles, so that’s what I used, but you can use whatever kind of stir fry noodles you’d like. You can also change up the vegetables to be whatever you’d like, this is just the combination I had on hand. I didn’t follow any specific recipe for the sauce, this is just the blend of flavors I always use and like, and it’s a combination of the Chinese sauces we keep in the fridge at home. I also don’t really use exact measurements, I just add sauces, mix it up, and taste it until I like what I taste.

So here’s my version of Chinese comfort food!

Chao Mian

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

½ block of high protein tofu, sliced into thin rectangles

2 tsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 green onions, sliced

8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot or about ¾ cup baby carrots, sliced thin

2 tsp canola oil

32 oz package noodles (I used miki noodles, a thick Shanghai stir fry noodle)

½ head of napa cabbage, sliced

Sauce (approximate measurements, I just pour sauces in and mix until the flavor is good)

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 slices of ginger

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking sherry

Directions

Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup. Slice the tofu and add to the sauce to allow it to marinate.

Chop the garlic, green onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Heat a deep skillet or wok over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Cook the garlic and green onions until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and carrots. Cook until slightly tender the mushrooms start to release their juices. Make a well in the middle of the vegetables and turn up the heat to medium-high. Heat the canola oil. Add the tofu to the skillet in the canola oil and allow to brown, stirring every couple minutes. Reserve the marinating sauce to add later.

Once the tofu is browned to your liking, add the noodles and the remaining sauce. Cover and allow to steam-cook for a few minutes to warm and soften the noodles. While you are waiting for the noodles to cook, chop the napa cabbage crosswise. Add the cabbage to the skillet and stir to incorporate the sauce. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and cook until the cabbage is as soft as you prefer. Stir the noodles to distribute the toppings, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Gai Lan

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 bunches gai lan

Oyster sauce

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the gai lan and blanch for 2-3 minutes, longer if you want it softer. Remove from the water and drain.

In a small saucepan, thin the oyster sauce with a little water and cook over medium heat for a minute or so. Drizzle over the gai lan. Enjoy!

Print

Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m taking a study break, and I wanted to share a recipe for a soup I made earlier this week that turned out better than I expected. I was making some pumpkin cookies, and I was going to have some pumpkin puree left over, so I started thinking of way to use it, and settled on making some soup. I added the lentils to give it some protein and make it hearty enough for a full meal, and roasted a bunch of vegetables to add to the pumpkin. This is a recipe where an immersion blender comes in extremely handy, since once I had all the ingredients in my pot, rather than blending it in shifts, I was able to just whir my immersion blender through it all and it became wonderfully smooth. It’s a great recipe for a chilly fall evening, and I’ve been having it with some toasted baguette on the side for the last few days. Here’s the recipe!

Roasted Fall Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil (approximately)

1 acorn squash

1 sweet onion

4-6 oz carrots (I used baby carrots I had in the fridge)

1 1/2 cups split red lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

2-3 cups water (more or less depending your desired consistency)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (this is what I had left in the can, you could do more or less, or omit if you don’t have it on hand)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a couple baking sheets with foil. Cut the acorn squash in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place cut side down on one of the baking sheets. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until fork-tender.

Chop the onion and carrots, toss with olive oil, and spread out on the other baking sheet sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until fork-tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, put the lentils, vegetable broth, and 2 cups of the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the lentils to cook until soft, then add the pumpkin puree.

Once the vegetables are roasted, add them to the pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette and enjoy!

Print