Friday, January 25, 2008

We have been trying to eat better, but this tim, both of us are into it. I have decided to do a colon blow for a few weeks by eating a lot if fiber and lean protein. On the heels of eating the pureed red lentil soup at Sik Sak in New York, I decided to make it at home and have discovered that it is a fantastically easy and tasty treat. I add a lot of madras curry powder to red lentils and onions simmering in low sodium chicken broth. I also add a bit of paprika and some garlic powder and the results are a stunning, filling soup that is incredibly healthy for you. Last night I made it with carrots and celery added in for extra healthy vegetable servings.
We had a friend over for dinner the other night and I served the lentil soup along with a spinach and roasted pear salad with 50% fat free mozzerella and cashew encrusted chicken strips that I baked in the oven. The chicken came out super tender. What I decided to do was grind up cashews in an electric chopper, take chicken breasts and trim off the fat, dredge in egg and milk and then coat in the cashew dust. I put the breasts in the oven at 350 and cooked them for a half hour or so until just done. I was able to roast the pears (witha sprinkling of olive oil and pepper) in the oven at the same time. All went into the spinach salad and it came out beautifully.

The next night I made roasted acorn squash and red lentil stirfry with fresh cut green beans and sauteed swiss chard stems along with a cold black beans and rice dish. It was delicious, but we were hungry after about an hour and had to order a sandwich with our drinks down at 3Tides. Sigh.....One has to cheat every once in a while! time.....colon blow casserole!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I just tried to make a puree of red lentil soup and it was perfectly awful! had absolutely no taste...well, I take that back, it tasted a bit like watered down cardboard that had been dragged through the dirt before being made into soup. I was chatting with my sister on the phone and trying to fix the soup.
Let me backtrack...I wanted to emulate the soup we had at the Turkish restaurant in NY, so I went to Hannaford's and bought about 2 lbs of organic red lentils from the bulk aisle. I soaked a few cups in water and they split apart fairly easily. So I sauteed some scallions and some celery in olive oil, added two cups of red lentils (soaked in four cups of water) and then sauteed for a while. I added to this mix a dash of organic minced garlic, some paprika, and some cayanne/ black pepper mix. I stirred it around and then added about a carton and a half of organic chicken stock....I know, GASP, I didn't make it myself, but cut me some slack, I've been away.
I let the whole simmer on the stove for about twenty minutes and when I came back the whole looked like faded mush! Shit! wasted all those ingredients on shitty soup again.
Well, I kept at it and pureed it in my blender. If was a real chef, I might force it through a sieve, but honestly, who has the time? So, with a fresh pot for the soup, I dipped in a spoon to taste....YUCK! damn, damn, damn...tasteless.
I quickly cut up some fresh rosemary, added more paprika for the color, ground in some pepper and added sea salt, and hot madras curry powder. Still, it wasn't up to snuff, so I thought some more and realized that I had forgotten the fresh lemon juice! So I squeezed out the juice of one lemon and added a bit more curry powder (about 1/2 a cap full at this point total) and heated it all up.
All of a was AMAZING! I love this soup. It turned out to have tastes on so many levels and the watery finish turned into this rich stock taste. Mmmmm....I had a cupful for dinner and will serve the rest tomorrow night for dinner when we have a friend coming over for a farewell meal. mmm mmm good!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Greg and I went to have excellent Turkish food in New York with some good friends. The restaurant, Sik Sak, is on Second Avenue between 49th and 50th, right near our favorite hotel. We went with some of Greg's old friends and had a fabulous time...good food, great company and moderately priced. The restaurant is painted a deep iron ore color and has these wacky deep red murano glass chandeliers everywhere. The atmosphere was festive and cozy and we actually had some elbow room around our table, a total rarity in NYC. We started with stuffed grape leaves that were out of this world, stuffed with a spicy rice mixture. I had the red lentil soup which was pureed and delicious. Scott had a Greek salad to start that was HUGE and out of this world with lots of feta and cukes. I also ordered stuffed meatballs, a mixture of lamb and walnuts and spices that was just amazing. Everyone voted that my dish rocked and was the best of the night. Greg had some chicken and vegetable dish that was savory and flavorful...really beautifully presented. Everything was served with giant pyramids of rice, so the presentation was great. We went next to the top of the Beekman Tower for drinks where we had a great view of the East River and Long Island. Greg and his friends had champagne dashed with cognac...can you say headache city?
mmmmm...gotta love NYC in some way
I have it on good authority that a fine foods store akin to the Market Basket in Camden will open up in Belfast by the summer months. They are currently looking for a space but have the business plan and financing all ready to go.
We were at beautiful dinner party last night where the future proprietor of the market told us a bit about the plan.
I have thought about a store like this in Belfast for a long time. It would be nice to have somewhere to go and get prepared foods that are good and have a place to run for wierd things for my own dinner party ingredients. The proprietor is a local person and so would do well in this enterprise.
Lets keep our fingers crossed.