Something savory….soup!

When it comes to food, everyone has their tastes.  Savory, sweet, bitter, you name it.  And on that spectrum of tastes, people seem to lie far to one side or the other.  On my spectrum, I have a propensity to be faaaaaar beyond the sweet end.  It’s true, I crave healthy sweet treats – honey in my tea, marmalade on my toast, a bite of organic, dark chocolate here and there, and home-baked sweets constantly, and I’m known to always have some home-baked goods on hand (great for those unexpected visitors).  Every breakfast of mine includes something sweet like honey, marmalade, cereal, smoothies.  Give me oatmeal and pancakes over eggs any day, unless of course they include a sweet, creamy cheese.

I’ve realized that nearly every post on this blog thus far has been something sweet, breakfasty, desserty, snacky.  So, for this post, I’m going to give you a bit of my savory side of life…something I create daily for lunches and dinners, but never quite feel the urge to post.  A friend inspired me to do so.

I know we’re coming into Spring and most people aren’t thinking about soup – frozen life is no longer blanketed in snow, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the sun is showing its face after being in-hiding for 6 months, the birds are singing, and drops of rain may be falling here and there.  But I am thinking about soup these days.  I love soup any time of year.  It is pure comfort food that warms the body and soul.  So, I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do.

Ginger Red Lentil Soup with Basil Cream

20 large basil leaves, very finely minced
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
pinch of salt

To make the Basil cream, mix all in a small bowl, let sit, chilling until ready for use.

2 cups red split lentils
7 cups water
2 vegetable bullion cubes (for 4 cups of H20)
3 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium carrot minced

2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 small can tomato paste
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

Rinse lentils until water until water is no longer murky.  In a large saucepan brings lentils and water to a boil.  Add bullion, ginger and carrot and reduce to a simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in separate pan, toast curry powder until fragrant over medium-low heat.  Set aside.  Add butter to same skillet, add onions and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add tomato paste, then toasted curry powder.  Mix well.  Add yogurt until thoroughly mixed.

Add onion mixture to soup.  Stir well. Can add more water to your liking (I liked it rather thick).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with a dollop of basil cream, and enjoy with warm crusty bread.


That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

It’s not very often food bloggers write a post about a failure – a recipe gone awry, a kitchen disaster of sorts.  But I am going to do it.  Go ahead, judge me, and my baking skills.  But I’m sure even the greatest of cooks had many failures before creating that perfect recipe.  And since lately I have been getting into creating my own recipes and adapting from others, this is one lesson learned.  So here it is. Okay so maybe it’s not thaaaaat bad. in fact it was quite good.  Just not perfect.

I attempted to make a chocolate-dipped lemon almond cookie (inspired by Cannelle et Vanille’s Lemon and Almond Meltaways), which also happens to be gluten free.  And for me there’s nothing more delectable than the combination of almond and chocolate (hence why I made them chocolate-dipped).  That’s where I think I went awry, an unexperienced gluten-free baker attempting to fuss over new recipes…what was I thinking!?  But I’m not going to lie – although these cookies still taste delicious, they wouldn’t pass any beauty contest nor texture contest.


Now, like I said, I’m no gluten-free baker, so perhaps AAANNNNNYYYYONE out there who knows anything about gluten-free baking would be so kind to enlighten me.  The problem with these cookies is that they were a little too dry and crumbly, and I think that may be due to the rice flour combined with the almond meal.  When attempted to be chocolate-dipped, they nearly fell apart, in the chocolate.  However, after they had cooled a bit in the fridge, they seemed a bit more substantial, but still dry when bit into.

I know it appears that half of these cookies have had a bite taken out of them.  Well, they haven’t, that’s just my baking mistake of crumbly cookies.   A few strong survivors made it….far enough from the oven to the chocolate to the plate to someone’s mouth.

So there you have it – I learned my lesson in gluten-free baking.

Inexperience of gluten-free baking+creating and adapting recipes=dry cookies.

I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

I’m going to post the recipe anyway for those brave souls out there that want to try and alter it to make it a tiny bit better.  And like I said, they are quite delicious!  If I were to make these again (and I may one day to perfect them), I would just cut out all the gluten-free stuff and substitute regular flour (it’s not like I need gluten-free).  Perhaps this recipe also needed an egg??

Chocolate-dipped Lemon Almond Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
Zest of 2 large lemons
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup very finely ground almonds
1 1/3 cups rice flour (more if needed)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup finely chopped, good quality chocolate
2 Tbsp butter

Cream together the butter, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well.  Place almonds in food processor and ground until a very fine powder. Combine all the dry ingredients (including the almonds) and add them to the mixer. Cream until all comes together to a semi-hard dough that no longer sticks to the bowl.  If not hard enough, add more rice flour.

Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment and shape it into a log that is about 2 inches in diameter. Use the parchment to tighten the log and form a long cylinder.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours until firm.

Cut the log into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 350F for about 16-18 minutes until firm and not quite golden brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet.

Melt chocolate over a double broiler with butter, until smooth and creamy.  Dipped cooled cookies in chocolate halfway and place on parchment paper until hardened and cool.