Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lentil Hummus

Among our tiny social circle and beyond, it is universally recognized that no one makes hummus as well or as tasty as does Waldie. I recently got her to pass along her recipe, and immediately saw why. The rest of us poor saps start with chickpeas (ceci, garbanzo beans). Waldie starts with lentils. That’s where the extra flavor comes from!

So here’s her recipe:

1. Bring:
  • 2 qts of water and
  • 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt
to a boil.

2. Add
  • 1/2 lb. of lentils (~ 1 1/4 cups)
and simmer about 15 minutes (until the lentils are al dente).

3. Drain & rinse the lentils in cold water. Drain them well and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Make a garlic paste by mincing & mashing 5 cloves of garlic with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.

5. Purée lentils in a food processor.

6. Add
  • 1/2 c. tahini,
  • garlic paste (see above),
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice, and
  • 1/2 c. water
7. Add 1/2 c. olive oil in a stream.

8. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/4 c. more water.

9. Season with salt & pepper.

10. Serve at room temperature.

In my experience, this stuff is best if made the day before you want to eat it, and the texture is best if it’s not too smooth. But that could just be me. Also, the denizens of The House of Chez Casa will be using more garlic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Creole Garlic Soup

While I’m talking about garlic...

I saw this recipe a couple of years ago on another blog and not a week later made a batch. I can’t say for sure whether this soup speeds healing, but it certainly comforts. I am here shamelessly re-posting from ATD’s blog; the original post is linked to the title as well as to this sentence. From here, I am quoting wholesale.

~~~Begin stolen post~~~

My Gift to all who suffer or will suffer from colds

It has been brought to my attention that every year, people get sick with...colds. It’s an epidemic. Teachers, priests, co-workers, children, parents...the list just goes on and on. Something must be done!

So I have decided it’s time to share the cure. Yes, I’m quite serious.

A few years ago, I attended a party in which the soup served as the second course was “Creole Garlic Soup”. It was so good, most of us thought we could likely live on this soup for the rest of our lives, and I believe all of us wrote down the recipe before we left.

It was several months before I made the soup, but as summer turned into fall, the heat came on indoors, and the days grew shorter, I realized it was time to think about making soup. So during the week I gathered my ingredients, dug out the recipe and went to sleep Friday night with dreams of garlic cloves, rosemary, and thyme.

I woke up Saturday morning with one of the worst and most acute head colds I have ever had. But I still ventured out into the raw, cold, rainy November day to purchase the final ingredients for my soup.

Loaded up on decongestants, washing my hands until they were chapped, I joked with my roommate that I was going to cook up the cure for the common cold. So for a couple of hours, the warm cozy apartment took on the strong aroma of garlic, which even wafted into the hallway.

I do believe one of my neighbors was cured of something just by walking past our door.

I ate two bowls of the soup that evening, amazed I could even taste it. And the next day, my cold was quite literally 90% better. I had gone from misery to a small case of the sniffles.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for this wonderful soup.

DISCLAIMER: The ingredients are on the conservative end; adjust to your own taste, and don’t be afraid to add more garlic! But I would advise using the old adage “less is more” the first time you make it, but once you have an idea as to what it is like, you can better adjust according to your own taste.

  • 1/3 C. whole garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh basil or 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 cans of vegetable broth (or 2 32 oz boxes of Swanson’s vegetable broth) (( I recommend low sodium))
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 C. Half-and-Half (I use fat-free)
  • 1/3 C. parmesan cheese - shredded (Stizzy sez: try Locatelli instead!)
  • Creole seasoning
  • Day-Old French or Italian bread

1. Add onions and some of the garlic cloves to a large soup pan with the T. of olive oil. When the onions begin to turn clear or brownish (don’t over cook!), add the broth, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring this to a boil.

2. When the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.

3. In the meantime, make your croutons: Cube the bread, approximately 2-3 cups, and toast in the oven at 300 degrees. Remove from heat, place in a paper sack, coat with apx. 1 - 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and season with the Creole seasoning. (This is spicy— be conservative at first!). Set the croutons aside.


4. When the soup has simmered for the 40 minutes, add approximately 1 1/2 C. of the croutons and stir in with a wire whisk until they have mostly dissolved. At this point, the whole garlic cloves should be “mushy”.

5. Remove the bay leaf

6. Add the half-and-half and parmesan cheese and immediately remove the soup from heat.

7. If you have a hand-mixer, use this to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. You may also pour the soup into a blender.

8. Serve immediately and garnish with the remaining croutons, parmesan, and creole seasoning.

***the half-and-half and parmesan can be omitted (Stizzy sez: use the 1/2 & 1/2 but substitute Locatelli for the parmesan.)