Socca with Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

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It’s hard to believe I’ve taken a nearly three year break from this blog.  I certainly haven’t stopped cooking in the meantime, I’ve just spent a lot of time on the road.

This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s PLENTY, which I highly recommend to everyone.  It’s easy, delicious and healthy and comes together pretty quickly as long as you don’t mind babysitting onions for 30 minutes or so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 white onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 ¾ cups chickpea flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
  • crème fraîche to serve

METHOD

Preheat oven to 275

Spread halved tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in oven 30-40 minutes until semi-cooked.  .

Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add onions, thyme, salt and pepper and cook on high heat, stirring frequently for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until completely soft and golden brown (but not dark).  Stir in vinegar and taste to adjust seasoning.

Combine chickpea flour, water 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil, ¾ tsp salt and some pepper in a bowl.  Mix well until the batter is smooth.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks and then gently fold into batter.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with olive oil.

Brush small frying pan (~6″ diameter) and brush with small amount of olive oil.  Place on high heat for a couple minutes then reduce to medium high and pour in socca batter to form a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of the bottom of the pan.  After about 2 minutes, bubbles will form on the surface and the pancake will have set at its base.  Use a spatula to carefully flip the pancake and cook for another minute on the other side.  Remove to lined baking sheet and repeat until all batter is cooked.

To serve, spread onion mixture to completely cover each pancake and arrange tomato halves on top.  Place in oven to warm for about 4 minutes.  Serve warm with crème fraîche on the side.

 

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Food for Dentistry Part 3 – French Lentil Soup

French Lentil Soup

French Lentil Soup

The puree parade continues.  Still trying to avoid chewing while trying to come up with something delicious to eat.  This recipe came from Epicurious. This one would be a lot more appetizing if parts of it were left chunky.  The flavor is excellent though.  This is a great recipe for a rainy evening at home — aww, remember when it used to rain?

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery stalks plus chopped celery leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • Tahini (optional)

METHOD

IMG_4230Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves. Drizzle tahini paste and serve.

Food for Dentistry Part 2 – Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Going to great lengths to follow recovery instructions carefully, I’m keeping things smooth and liquid with minimal chewing for the time being.   This soup is incredibly easy and really tasty.  Also, my appreciation for the immersion blender is at an all-time high.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium-sized heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
  • 6 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • sour cream and hard cheese for garnish

METHOD

In a dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in olive oil and butter until soft and translucent (about ten minutes).  Add garlic and herbs de Provence and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add broccoli, potato and stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender (25 – 30 minutes).

Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until smooth.  Place soup into bowls.

Thin sour cream with milk or half and half and drizzle over soup.  Add some shaved hard cheese (parmesan, asiago, pecorino, etc.) and some cracked black pepper and serve hot.

For those who are able to chew, this soup is great with a dark bread.

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Lately we’ve been focused on plant-based recipes, occasionally rounding out with seafood for protein (though an occasional free-range chicken crosses our road from time to time).  Whether that is your focus as well or even if you’re just looking to give a little extra pizzazz to your veggie sides, I can’t recommend Plenty and Plenty More by Yotem Ottolenghi enough.  I am cooking my non-linear way through both of these books just as fast as I can and have yet to find a single recipe that wasn’t just plain amazing.

We made this recipe three times in two weeks.  it’s delicious as an appetizer or even as a main entree.  You can use toast or flatbread or even crackers for your delivery system (I confess when it came to left-overs the next day, I skipped all the above and went straight for a spoon).  You’ll like this one, I promise!  You can find the original recipe at the Ottolengi official site.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup small green Puy lentils (look for the smaller ones, sometimes called French lentils, not the regular ones)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes which worked perfectly)
  • a full cup of cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 small red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled
  • hot smoked paprika, regular paprika, or sumac to garnish

METHOD

Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook for 15-20 minutes, until completely cooked, drain and set aside.

Put the butter and oil in a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin, and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of coriander and the cooked lentils. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the tahini, lemon juice, 70ml of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes more, until hot and thickened. Roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, so that some are broken up and you get a thick, porridge consistency.

Spread out the lentils on a flat platter, run a fork through to make a wavy pattern on top, and scatter on the sliced onion, the remaining coriander and a final drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside.