Very busy this weekend, although not nearly as I would have liked to be outside due to Saturday's incessant rain. Fortunately, I was able to meet up with Driss for our Whole Foods/Trader Joe's trip before we got swamped. I got two huge Arctic char filets, some local ground pork, and a gorgeous whole chicken that I'm going to roast tomorrow with lemons, rosemary, oregano, and garlic. Also picked up some French puy lentils. I think Rachel did some kind of salad with them with duck; as I don't like duck, I'm going to put some of the roasted chicken aside and see what the recipe is all about.
I made a very good lentil soup (riffed from a recipe from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite) using orange split lentils from Goya (not the usual dal lentils I buy). Although not as creamy as my earlier versions, this came out quite tasty. Here's what I did:
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped quite small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 well-rounded tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, curry powder
1 tsp each kalonji seeds, brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp each turmeric, ground ginger
Half pound orange split lentils (I used Goya because they were on sale.)
1 large carrot, chopped
6-8 cups water
Heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic with a large pinch of salt until soft. Stir in freshly ground black pepper, the ground spices, the seeds, the turmeric, and ginger until everything is uniform in color and the fragrances are released. Add the lentil and carrot, making sure everything is coated with the onion and spice mixture. Add about 6 cups of water, reserving the rest for later and using only if the soup gets too thick. Grind in some more pepper and add a few more pinches of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer. Cook until lentils are soft and falling apart, adding water if it appears too thick.
Whilst I'm quite pleased with the way this turned out, I kept the spices at a minimum because I'm hoping to get some into the boys wonder. Ideally, this would be heavenly with a good pinch of chili powder (not the blend used to make chili) to make it spicy, and I think next time around I'd increase the garam masala and/or curry to give it a bit more depth. However, even at the cautious end of the seasoning spectrum, it's very tasty, filling, and there's absolutely no guilt attached to knocking back a big bowl of it.
Friday night was pizza (of course) and I went for Milano salami with pepperoncini. Stuck with a mozzarella/pecorino cheese blend and the tomato layer is my favorite: spread a thick layer of tomato paste on the dough then spoon over about 1/3 cup of canned chopped tomatoes with their juice. Sprinkle with a large pinch of sugar, some salt, pepper, and oregano, then layer on the cheese and toppings. When it comes out of the oven, I grate parmesan on top, then drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. I love making pizza.
Some of my garden got annihilated this Saturday by endless rain. My two large pots of baby lettuces and spinach drowned and the radishes in the bowl above got pushed out of the dirt by the force of the downpours. So we picked them. And I must admit to being rather proud of the little buggers. I'm going to chop them up for a salad tonight.
And of course there is cake. Rachel's Orange Madeira Cake, which I glazed with a simple lemon juice and confectionary sugar glaze. I LOVE this cake. This is one of my very favorite things to have with tea, and it goes down especially well with a raspberry green tea I've become hooked on (from Celestial Seasonings). I used a ton of freshly squeezed orange juice in the cake and I'm thinking it might be good next time with some really dark, bittersweet chips folded in. I don't like cheap choc/orange combinations but, as this is from scratch with nothing artificial, I think the Merckens chips I have would make for a real treat.