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.

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.

Peach and Blue Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

With my renewed commitment to counting Weight Watchers points and dropping the pounds that have snuck back while I was not paying attention, I’ve been trying to make really diverse meals that are big on flavor and nutrition and small on points.  My main rule above all else is that food has to be satisfying (and should pair well with wine).

This is a great, fast light weeknight dinner that makes delicious use of the amazing peaches that are in season in late summer.

I love Bon Appetit recipes!  This is adapted from the August 2014 issue.

We paired this with a moscato.

Weight Watchers Points:  6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 slices country-style bread
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp while balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces blue cheese (such as Roquefort or Saint Agur), room temperature
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) baby arugula
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  • Using the tip of a paring knife, score an X 
in the bottom of each peach. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling water just until skins begin to peel back where cut, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl 
of ice water; let cool. Peel; cut over a small 
bowl into wedges, collecting juices. Add lemon juice and honey and toss to combine.
  • Toast bread and season with salt. Spread cheese on toast and 
top with peaches, leaving juices behind. Whisk 
oil and vinegar into juices. Toss arugula with enough dressing to lightly coat in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Arrange over toasts. Serve the rest on the side as a salad.

Celery Soup with Roasted Garlic and Mashed Avocado Toast

Celery Soup

Celery Soup

Tonight’s dinner was inspired entirely by my sister, the nutritionist.  She’s on a quest to help people improve their health and quality of life with food.  During our random Monday afternoon telephone conversation, she told me that eating four stalks of celery per day can help lower blood pressure.   We really love celery in our house; it makes its way into all sorts of salads and stir fries and even the occasional cocktail.  The fact that it can have positive health effects makes me love it more.

Knowing that I was going to make celery soup for dinner, I headed over to food52.com to see if they had any recipes.  Then came the discovery of Jane Grigson and one of the most delicious and simple soups I’ve ever made.  To go with it, I roasted a head of garlic and mashed it onto toast and then topped it with mashed avocado.

I left the milk out and substituted a dollop of fat free greek yogurt for the cream and the soup came in at 6 points.  One slice of the toast all done up with the garlic and avocado is an additional 4 points.

celery soup ingredients

celery soup ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pound celery, chopped (outside stalks or celeriac — about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced potato
  • tablespoons butter
  • cups chicken stock
  • ½  to 1 cup milk (optional)
  • About 1teaspoons dill weed (2 teaspoons for fresh dill)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cream
  1. Stew celery, onion, and potato gently in the butter in a covered pan for 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown. Add stock or water and 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed. Simmer for 20 minutes if you have a blender, 40 minutes if you use a food mill.
  2. Blend or purée the soup (I look for any excuse I can find to use my immersion blender).  Bring slowly to just under the boil, seasoning with salt, pepper and more dill weed if required.
  3. Put the cream into the soup dish, and pour the soup in on top. Swirl round with the ladle before serving, to mix in the cream.