Saturday, February 18, 2012

all you need

Valentines this year was a culinary success. We started festivities the weekend before with a date to finally check out ShopHouse (the new Asian Chipotle). I am so glad we went! I had a tofu bowl with noodles, green beans, and their green curry sauce. It was worth the hype, but I have to tell you, it was so spicy! Like, my tongue was still burning even after we had frozen yogurt for dessert. And the green curry was the "mild" of their two curries. They do have another sauce I will try next time in an attempt to save my mouth from the fire. I am a total wimp when it comes to spice (I kept telling myself "this is what it takes to build your tolerance! buck up, McPhie!"), but even Sam concurred this was pretty intense. However, I can attest to the great flavor. I think such extreme spice often covers up flavor, but I was willing to endure the pain of the spice for such great depth of flavor.

On the actual day of love, we decided to make fondue. I could seriously eat that every day. But the thing I was most concerned about was dessert. I have been doing this health challenge thing with some friends, which means I'm limited to one day of sugar each week (which is maybe the normal healthy thing to do anyway) (but it's almost over! and I'm only one point behind the current leader!). So, the dessert was a big deal to me. I recently saw a link to this double chocolate raspberry pavlova and instantly knew this was The One. And it turned out beautifully.
And oh so deliciously! It's a new obsession really. I was so sad the rest of this week watching Sam eat the leftovers without me. This is my ultimate sacrifice in trying to WIN this challenge. But regardless of the victor, one thing's for sure: this will be the first thing I make when it's over.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why'd You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated?

Things I'm happy to have done in the last couple days include
1) Spending hours upon hours outside in the gorgeous spring-like weather.
2) Purging my google reader of blogs I feel guilty for not reading.
3) Making classic dishes I often forget are in my arsenal.

The last of these means I have a recipe to share! (um, it's been forever since I've posted a recipe.) One today and another later, perhaps. Whenever I make these two dishes I forget to take pictures, so I put off blogging about them, and then I realized today it was silly to wait any longer. A) these foods do not photograph well, and B) I may never remember. So because it's still winter (despite what the DC forecast may say), here is a soup for you. A hearty, vegan soup you will adore. I mean this earnestly because everyone in our family goes wild for this soup, including Sam, which is a tall order when it comes to vegan recipes. And as most soups do, it only gets better over time, so you can look forward to the leftovers this ginormous batch will yield.

Curried Lentil Sweet Potato* Soup
Adapted from Kayla Jones

1 large onion, diced
7 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup ginger, freshly grated
2 T curry powder
1 c carrots, diced
1 c red bell pepper, diced
5 c sweet potato, diced
2 cans coconut milk
2 c brown lentils, rinsed
6 c vegetable stock
1 t salt
1 lime, juiced

Saute onion, garlic, and ginger until onion starts to become translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, except lime juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes, or up to a few hours, until the soup has become very thick and stew like. Add lime juice right before serving. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. 

(*also, you may note this recipe seems to go against what I said in my previous post about sweet potatoes. I guess they aren't really spotlight-hoggers in this soup, so I can get on board with it. What can I say? I'm a complicated woman.)