Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup

This soup is for those days when time and effort just aren't with you. Seriously, a gorilla could make this soup. So if you're one of those people who claim they "can't cook", just remember, it's gorilla-friendly.

Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup
1 Tomato (Roma, Hothouse, your choice)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup Tomato Paste
1 - 2 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
2 1/2 cups Water
1/3 cup Chickpeas
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Serves 1.

1. Wash and dice your tomato. Heat up a small pot over low-medium heat, add the olive oil and then the tomato.

2. Add the tomato paste and the peanut butter. (I swear it doesn't taste weird or freaky, trust me!) Stir until the peanut butter is melted and incorporated.

3. Add the water, the chickpeas and the spices. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Serve and adjust the flavouring if necessary. Enjoy! (You can also add some whole grain pasta or other cooked whole grain to get a complete protein.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mushroom, Spinach and Lentil Stir Fry

Mushrooms tend to be either loved or loathed, in my experience, and as you've probably guessed, I fall into the loving crowd. Serious love, potentially borderline fangirl screaming sleeps with pictures of it under her pillow kind of love. Or not. I never was into screaming fan devotion anyway (I was once told by a girl who'd been to a 30 Seconds to Mars concert that the lead singer's spit - HIS MUCUS - had landed IN HER MOUTH and it was "one of the best moments of her life." I'm sure she'll go places in life.)

Anyways, nobody cares about spitting celebrities, but people (like me) do care about mushrooms -- A LOT. I eat them raw, by themselves, with dip, and, particularly, fried. Fried mushrooms. One of the most delicious, ridiculously awesome tasting things that can ever be cooked, and if you don't like mushrooms, SHAME ON YOU, because clearly you haven't had fried mushrooms, which will change your life. (And they're full of selenium which does things like fight cancer and raise super sperm -- so if you're a male looking to procreate, eat some mushrooms!)

Mushroom, Spinach and Lentil Stir Fry
1/2 Onion (or a small one)
2 Cloves of Garlic (I hate vampires, particularly ones that look like anorexic emo child rapists, so I cook with ridiculous amounts of garlic, so you can use 1 clove if you'd rather)
Tsp Olive Oil
4 - 6 Crimini Mushrooms (which is just a fancy pants name for white or brown mushrooms)
1/3 cup Lentils
1/4 cup Barley (or Rice)
1 - 2 cups Spinach
Pepper, Salt & Soya Sauce to taste

Serves 1.

1. Have your lentils and barley pre-cooked -- they're both exceptionally cheap and easy to cook, hence my love of them. I usually cook up a large batch and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, which lasts me a week and is handy whenever I need either. Lentils don't need to be rinsed, and you can use the liquid for soup - just throw your desired amount of lentils in a pot with three parts water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. The process is the exact same with barley, only you need to rinse them before and after cooking (make sure to use a fine strainer, as you'll lose half your barley in the sink otherwise).

2. Mince onion and garlic. Heat up your skillet over medium - low heat and pour in the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic.

3. Slice mushrooms and add to the onion and garlic immediately. Grind in some pepper. Cook for about 5 - 10 minutes, until the mushrooms turn a dark brown and start producing liquid.

4. Add the lentils and barley and stir in. Add the spinach and stir in until wilted, add in spices and soya sauce (or other sauce of your choice) to taste, and serve.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creamy Polenta with Chickpeas and Veggies

If you're thinking, "What the shit is polenta?" you're probably not alone -- I had no idea what it was until I happened upon it while perusing through an Italian cookbook years back (yes, I do this for fun, don't judge me). Polenta is essentially a sort of porridge made from ground cornmeal, which is available at any grocery store near you and (more importantly) is cheap, and will last forever. Interestingly enough, polenta is a staple in parts of Italy, even more so than pasta, which most people tend to associate with the boot country.

Anyways, this recipe is super easy and tasty, fear not the weird name!

Creamy Polenta with Chickpeas and Veggies
1 Small White Onion (or half a regular sized one)
Tsp Olive Oil
1 Tomato (hot house, regular, roma, whatever suits your fancy)
1 Head of Broccoli
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1 cup Water
Tsp Butter or Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Chickpeas
Salt, Pepper & Spices to taste

Serves 1.

1. Mince your onion and sautee it over medium-low heat with olive oil until it begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. While your onion is cooking, chop up your vegetables and set aside.

3. When onion is translucent, add the water and then whisk in the cornmeal. Add the butter or cream cheese and stir until melted. Add the chickpeas and veggies and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to bubble.

4. Season to taste, serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Soup

(While I acknowledge that the above picture does not look at all appetizing, I assure you that this soup is delicious (and nutritious!). However, if you're not a spinach fan, not to worry, because it is optional.)

Alright, so in the spirit of new year's resolutions, I'm attempting to revitalize this blog and continue sharing my kitchen creations with the world. Here goes!

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Soup
1 Red Pepper
1 Large Carrot
Olive Oil
2 c. Spinach (optional)
1/3 c. Chickpeas
Pepper, Salt & Seasonings of your choice

1. Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees.

2. Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds and pith. Place it in a pyrex dish or baking pan skin up. Peel the carrot, cut it into large chunks and add it to the dish. Drizzle the pepper and carrot with olive oil, not too much, just enough to lightly coat the veggies and keep them from sticking. Top with a bit of ground pepper.

3. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring the carrots halfway through.

4. When the veggies are done, cut the pepper into chunks (it will be very soft, so all you need is a spoon or a fork to break it up into chunks). Transfer the roasted veggies to a small pot and add about two cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

5. After bringing the mixture to a boil, turn the heat down low and used a hand blender to puree the pepper and carrot (be careful, it will splash a little). If you don't have a hand blender, you can also use an actual blender or food processor, it will just involve more dishes).

6. Once the soup is well blended and smooth (it will have a lovely rich colour) add the spinach (which you can skip if you're not a fan) and stir it in until wilted. At this point, you can puree the soup again, or choose to leave the spinach leaves whole (unless you chop them beforehand).

7. Add the chickpeas and add salt and pepper to taste. I'd also recommend adding other spices you have on hand to jack up the flavour, like paprika, garlic and onion powder and even some herbs like thyme and oregano. Enjoy!

Note: To make a more complete meal, add some brown rice, whole grain noodles, quinoa or other whole grain of your choice, or just toast yourself a slice or two of whole grain bread.