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.

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon and Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon

I’ve mentioned in other post how much I love my subscription to Bon Appetit.  When it arrives in the mailbox, I sit down and go through it page by page, dog-earing the pages with recipes I want to make.  The August issue has been particularly good.  When I saw this recipe for Vietnamese pork chops, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve been on a hardcore watermelon kick lately so the fact that the recipe included watermelon made it a slam dunk.

I’ve had bad experiences with pork chops in the past.  In my mind they’ve always been synonymous with ultra-dry, chewy stuff.  Yuck!  I am however, obsessed with Vietnamese cuisine so I thought this might be a good opportunity to give it a go and see if I could conquer my fear of making pork chops into packed dust.

As it turns out, August has finally delivered the cold, foggy San Francisco summer we warn prospective visitors about.  After the pork chops had marinated, I just couldn’t bring myself to descend into the misty, windy backyard and stand in front of the grill while they cooked.  The cast iron skillet came to the rescue and the results were absolutely amazing.

The best part of eating amazing food is sharing it with amazing people.  We shared this meal with one of our favorite people in the universe who does her research and arrived with an amazing dry Riesling that worked magic with the food.

This one takes a little preparation because you have to pickle the watermelon rind the night before, which for us wasn’t a problem because we’re up to our ears in watermelon rind at the moment.  It sound really weird, but believe me, it’s worth it.  Make this recipe and invite your favorite people to dinner.  You won’t be sorry.

VIETNAMESE PORK CHOPS WITH PICKLED WATERMELON

INGREDIENTS

PORK CHOPS

  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Sriracha
  • 4 1″-thick bone-in pork chops 
(about 2 ½ lb. total)

SALAD

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups trimmed purslane or arugula
  • ½ pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into pieces, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Pickled Watermelon Rind, thinly sliced

PREPARATION

PORK CHOPS

  • Whisk shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and Sriracha in a shallow baking dish. Add pork chops and turn to coat. Cover and chill, turning occasionally, 
at least 1 hour.
  • Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Remove pork chops from marinade, scraping off excess, and grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  (I heated 1Tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and seared the pork chops on one side for 3 minutes, filled them and then transferred them to a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until the temperature was 145 degrees.)
  • DO AHEAD: Pork chops can be 
marinated 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

SALAD

  • Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt.
  • Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add purslane, watermelon, and Pickled Watermelon 
Rind; season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat.
  • Serve pork chops with watermelon salad topped with fried shallots.

 

PICKLED WATERMELON RIND

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Pickled Watermelon Rind

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds watermelon
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced, seeds removed if desired
  • 1 1″ piece peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

PREPARATION

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove 
tough green rind from watermelon; discard.
  • Slice watermelon 1″ thick. Cut away all 
but ¼” flesh from each slice; reserve flesh 
for another use. Cut rind into 1″ pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.)
  • Bring chile, ginger, star anise, salt, peppercorns, sugar, vinegar, and ½ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring 
to dissolve sugar and salt. Add watermelon rind and return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, setting 
a small lid or plate directly on top of rind 
to keep submerged in brine, if needed.
  • Transfer rind and liquid to an airtight container; cover and chill at least 12 hours

WATERMELON GAZPACHO WITH FETA CREMA

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema

INGREDIENTS

GAZPACHO

  • 1 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, 
 peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

CREMA AND ASSEMBLY

  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 2 ounces feta, preferably French sheep’s milk, crumbled (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • ¾ pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into ½” pieces (about 2 cups)
  • ½ English hothouse cucumber, peeled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • Olive oil (for serving)
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

Purée watermelon, tomato, cucumber, jalapeño, oil, and vinegar in 
a blender until smooth.GAZPACHO

  • Transfer gazpacho to a large bowl; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
  • DO AHEAD: Gazpacho can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

CREMA AND ASSEMBLY

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can do this step in a dry small skillet over medium heat.) Let almonds cool, then coarsely chop.
  • Mash feta into sour cream in a small bowl until mostly smooth, then whisk in milk.
  • Divide watermelon and cucumber among bowls and pour gazpacho over. Top 
with crema and almonds, drizzle with oil, and season with sea salt and pepper.
  • DO AHEAD: Crema can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Part of being more conscious about what we’re eating involves making sure that we’re using the things we have in the fridge.  A while back we bought some spicy chicken sausage thinking we needed to supplement an impromptu dinner party for last-minute guests.  As it turned out, the guests decided at the last-minute that they weren’t coming.  We’re not really grill up a sausage and eat it kinda guys so we opted for soup. I’ve been making soup long enough to know that as long as you have tasty ingredients and you give mind to equal distribution of ingredients for bites, you can pretty much throw it together and it’ll work.  That’s your cue to go crazy with your pantry and my way of saying that the amounts of particular ingredients here should be used as a guideline; add what you have, skip what you don’t and taste throughout the cooking process and you’ll be happy.

Soup for me needs bread and as we were sitting down to eat, the garlic butter toast I had in mind didn’t pan out because I forgot to buy butter.  We’ve said for ages that avocado is nature’s butter and so instead of slathering the toast with butter, we just mashed up an avocado and voila!  All the time we’ve been right!

Weight Watchers Points:  7 (not including toast or avocado)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4  pre-cooked spicy chicken sausages, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil (olive oil will work too)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 2 pint containers of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 8 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large pot until shimmering.  Add onions and sautee until beginning to be translucent, about 5 minutes.  In a separate pan, heat sausage until it starts to sweat.
  2. Add sausage, garlic, celery, oregano, thyme and mushrooms.  Stir until mushrooms become tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add white beans and kale and cook until kale starts to wilt.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve.  (Grate a little parmesan or pecorino cheese over the top as a finishing touch).