Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's a souper day!

OK, so it may be summer, but I love soup and I love my new pressure cooker, so I had to test it out some more! This first soup was so simple. Black lentils, onions, garlic, spices cooked in the cooker for 10 minutes, then I added the veggies and cooked for 5 more minutes. How simple is that? I topped the soup with chives, truffle oil and fleur de sal. The veggies were zukes, summer squash and red peppers.

I was intent on following the recipe created by Fairly Odd Tofu Mom, but of course, I am incapable of that. I didn't have any sweet potatoes, so I added 8 oz of frozen butternut squash. Also, I sub'd half of the peanut butter for tahini because that was what I had on hand, and added 1 tbsp of spicy toasted sesame oil, the juice of 1 large lemon, some Trader Joe's mango chili vinegar, cilantro and siracha. Totally delicious. I adore quinoa in soups and stews. In fact, I think quinoa is my very favorite grain ever. The burst the little morsels give in your mouth are very satisfying.
Last, but not least, a 15 minute Indian Spiced split pea soup... the pressure cooker again. In ONE hour, I made these three soups. (I didn't use the pressure cooker for the African Peanut Soup).. I used my recipe for Spiced Lentil Stew, but sub'd split peas. Very good. My freezer will be nice and stocked for the next cool days we have.
Spiced Lentil Stew:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large onion
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 quart veggie stock
1 29oz can stewed tomatoes or tomatoes with green chiles
water if needed
juice/zest of 1 lemon
2 cups cilantro
salt/pepper to taste
-In a heavy bottomed 4 quart pan place the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin seeds in a cold pan. Slowly heat over med-lo heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Bring heat up to med-high and stir the onions until they begin to cook. Add the Lentils and stock. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a high simmer and cover. Cook for at least 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, adding water if necessary. When the lentils are tender add the tomatoes and bring back to a boil uncovered for at least 15 minutes. Just before serving stir in the cilantro, lemon juice and zest and add salt/pepper to taste.

I worked on two cheez recipes today.. they will be great as a spread or on pizza, but did not firm up at all like I expected. The flavor was good.. and that is the base, so that is a positive.

My freezer is so stocked with cutlets, ribz,burgers and other foods that I didn't do any other cooking today. I want to utilize what I have... plus, it is summer and we eat a lot of salads and sawiches... so I didn't do any more cooking.
I did put my ice cream insert into the freezer, and plan on making mango sorbet, watermelon sorbet and some stevia sweetened ice creams for the near future...


  1. Wow, these look delicious! I love soups too, even in the summer, so this is really right up my alley. Oh, and I agree about quinoa--not only is it the best grain ever, but it's particularly marvelous in soups and such. Oh, and the split pea soup was the one that totally knocked me over, so I was excited to see that the recipe is available! Thanks!

  2. tasty-looking soups!! I too love quinoa - great texture and nutrition profile

  3. Oh way cool! I'm so glad you "tried" my quinoa soup - I was wondering how it worked in a pressure cooker at first, then I saw you didn't do that one in the pressure cooker... I had visions of little quinoa grains puffing up huge and messy...heh!

    I always like it when people put their own spin on recipes too, by the way...

    I love my pressure cooker too, by the way. Haven't used it in a few months but I'm inspired by your post.

  4. SOUPer indeed, Mel. It's never the "wrong" time for soups. Yours look gorgeous, i have to say. Beautiful photos, Mel, for beautiful soup with beautiful ingredients. Life is... you know...

  5. Courtney6:30 PM

    Mmmm...I love soup too! I would make it in the summer as well if only I had a pressure cooker. Although, I just might have to cave in and make soup this summer because your spiced lentil stew looks so good! Question, though--do you chop the 10 cloves of garlic? Or leave them whole?


  6. Isn't the pressure cooker wonderful? I'm still amazed at how quickly it cooks up beans and pulses and grains. Your soups all look wonderful. I've tried tofu mom's peanut soup too, and gotta say I love it.

  7. i just found your bloggy and i must say that it's fab!

  8. Soup is a staple in this house whether it is hot or cold. It is healthy and fun to make.

    Lentils and quinoa are fantastic. We love them. As a kid I had never heard of lentils (I know I was a very deprived kid that lived on peanut butter and jelly, while the family at liver) yuck!. Anyway my DH introduced me to them when we got married and we have eaten them ever since. Awesome little yummies!

    Have a very Happy 4th of July!!

  9. Rodrigo6:29 PM

    Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

  10. Those soups look fantastic! I never think about them in the summer, but I would certainly give yours a try any day.

  11. yumm.. in our neck of the woods its seems to be always soup time!!!! your pictures and soups look gorgeous as usual..
    take care

  12. great photos. yum.

  13. i love your pressure cooker as make such great food in it!


  14. I agree with you about quinoa! Superb soups, Mel & the photo in your red mug is picture perfect.

  15. yum, yum and more yum.