Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Italian Lentil Soup

It's tough to make lentils taste particularly appealing. The hard little seeds can be earthy and plain. But the Fiddlehead's done it. Seasoned with basil, oregano, garlic, Worcestershire, and dijon, and including baby-butt (garbanzo) beans, this lentil dish is far from boring. And it's so healthy, too! Lentils are high in protein, fiber, folate, and minerals.

Soak the lentils overnight:

Saute your onion, celery, and garlic until soft. Add stock, tomatoes, lentils, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Then simmer for an hour and a half. Add cooked baby-butt beans at the end, and serve with parmesan cheese. I took two liberties for ingredient availability--instead of a can of diced tomatoes, I substituted red pepper-tomato soup. Instead of parm, we sprinkled our hot soup with cheddar (and thus the yellow-orange color).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grilled Cheese, Please: San Fransisco Sandwich & KT Grill

The San Fransisco Sandwich.

Weeknight meals are funny. Sometimes you're tired from work, or you've got another function to run off to later in the evening; but unless your primary activity for the evening revolves around the kitchen, you often just want something easy, darn it! When that's the case, I usually hope there's some leftovers in the fridge or the goods for a big hearty salad that I can throw together without much effort. Or, as was the case thrice this week, I make grilled cheese.

Gathering the goods for the San Fransisco Sandwich.

Wednesday I had a quick turnaround at the house before heading back out for a meeting. I grabbed a loaf of sandwich bread and cheese and that was that. The next day, I had a bit more time. I headed to the quaint and cozy Wild Oven bakery and chose a loaf of Daniel's Country French sourdough bread (after mulling over his German Rye, which was sweet, moist, and likely far healthier).

Country French sourdough loaf from the Wild Oven.

Once at home, I pulled out that trusty peach-colored cookbook, and found the recipe for KT Grill. A gourmet grilled cheese, it's sauteed onion and green bell pepper (I omitted the latter), with cheddar and jack cheeses.

KT Grill grilling in the pan, with its rambunctious onion spilling everywhere.

Now, it's hard to go wrong with grilled cheese, but the large-diced onions the recipe called for just weren't doing it for me. They were impossibly stubborn about staying atop the bread. Granted the bread was thin, but I can't imagine that it would be any easier with a larger loaf. When grilling, the slippery squares squirmed right out of the sandwich and into the pan. When eating, the onions weren't any more cooperative. It was tasty enough, sure. Anything involving Wild Oven bread and Dubliner white cheddar cheese will be. Comforting and quick, the grilled cheese is a never fail weeknight go-to.

KT Grill with most of its large-diced onions escaped.

On the third night of grilled cheese (please don't judge), I looked to the San Fransisco Sandwich. This recipe is a bit more sophisticated, involving vegetables marinated overnight in the Fiddlehead vinaigrette.

Zucchini, onion, and bell pepper soaking in the Fiddlehead vinaigrette.

The San Fransisco is grilled under the broiler.

Upon biting into the sharp flavors of Dubliner cheddar cheese, sourdough bread, and marinated vegetables, I pronounced this the favorite grilled cheese sandwich of the week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thai Fish Soup

When I visit my friend Poranan's house in Auke Bay for Thai fish soup, there's always a fish head stewing in the pot. Prik nam pla (spicy fish water) is usually on the table, and fish sauce has been splashed into the dish. The Fiddlehead's Thai Fish Soup doesn't include any of those things, but it is still a winner: tasty, spicy, and nourishing with refreshing hints of cilantro and lemongrass.

The recipe calls for white fish, but I used salmon from the freezer.

Saute the veggies in a soup pot, add the fish stock, and stew.

Many flavors meld together in this soup. Cilantro, sesame oil, sherry, soy sauce, tomato, bell pepper, bok choy (my first time cooking with it), and lemongrass.

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