tomatoes

Greek Lentil Soup

March 30 029 Edited Greek Lentil Soup

Welcome to the simplest soup recipe of all time.

I have been working my way through a page of soup recipes I tore from a magazine upwards of four years ago. I started with winter tomato soup and followed it with a carrot and sweet potato soup spiced with ginger. Savory Moroccan soup is right up there on my list.

Then there was this Greek lentil soup.

Little excited me about vegetables and lentils in broth, but I made it anyway. I can tell you I made it because I wanted to cook with something I do not typically use (the lentils). I can tell you I also wanted to use up a rogue carrot, leftover celery stalk, and a can of tomatoes I opened for some reason but then did not use in its entirety.

March 30 011 Edited Greek Lentil Soup

Both of those are true, but in all honesty, I made this soup simply because it was on the page, and I wanted to cross it off. I’m not sure what that says about my personality, but it’s probably not good.

The good news is my assumption that a soup made from leftover vegetables and lentils would taste dull was proved wrong. I was surprised by its rich, almost buttery, flavor.

Lentil soup is a far cry from cake, of course, but for a simple soup, it was deceivingly delicious. Top it with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for a bit more deliciousness. Then enjoy.

March 30 026 Edited Greek Lentil Soup

Greek Lentil Soup
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup diced tomatoes, including juice
  • ½ cup dried red or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and saute until soft, about two to three minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot (stock through basil) and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  5. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Notes
I used red lentils for this soup. The soup may require thinning with ½ cup of water or additional broth, depending on your tastes.

 

A Weekend Quickie: Shrimp Pasta Salad with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

9467427601 5e666bd5e8 z A Weekend Quickie: Shrimp Pasta Salad with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

It looks like I am not going to make it to the beach this year, so I brought the beach to me. At least I did according to The Outer Banks Cookbook. This pasta salad tossed with shrimp, goat cheese, tomatoes and a variety of herbs is a quick dinner to pull together anytime.

In a matter of minutes, you can have a fresh, delicious dish on the table. And since any salad recipe is more of a process than a hard-and-fast rule, you can easily suit this dish to your own tastes. Tomato-haters (I don’t understand you, but I know you are out there), can add summer squash, bell peppers, fresh peas or edamame.

9467427115 2420b5af54 z A Weekend Quickie: Shrimp Pasta Salad with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

The goat cheese melts over the warm pasta and shrimp to make a delicious, creamy pseudo-sauce. I wear blinders (love it!) as far as goat cheese is concerned, so I have no further recommendations on that front. However, you can always season this dish with whatever herbs and spices you like. The goat-cheese and dill combo is hard to beat, though I do like a little red pepper here and there.

If you plan to share this dish right away, say for a potluck or a family dinner at the beach, fresh herbs are the way to go. Since I fully intended to eat the leftovers for lunch, I sprinkled in dried dill and basil, then added more fresh basil and chives immediately before eating. It was delightful served warm for dinner and equally delicious as a cold lunch. Enjoy!

9470207270 07d648d4be z A Weekend Quickie: Shrimp Pasta Salad with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

 

Shrimp Pasta Salad with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese
 
The ingredients listed here are simply offered as a guide. Tweak the measurements as you see fit.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. dried pasta of your choice (fusilli, bow ties, shells, elbows, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water and a few drops of olive oil (to keep the pasta from sticking) to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the pasta cooks, prepare the shrimp. Heat the olive oil and Old Bay in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cooked shrimp, goat cheese and tomatoes. The warmth of the pasta and shrimp should melt the goat cheese to coat pasta.
  5. Toss the entire pasta salad with the lemon juice, dill, basil and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy the shrimp pasta salad warm or cold.
Notes
For an alternative way to prepare the shrimp: Fill a large saucepan with three inches of water. Before juicing the lemon, cut it into quarters. Place the juiced lemon quarters along with the Old Bay seasoning in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, and return to a boil. Once boiling, cook the shrimp a minute or two longer or until done. Add the drained shrimp to the pasta.

 

Tomato Peach Jam

9295118331 f611ed6575 z Tomato Peach Jam

“You’re aware of how crazy all this sounds.” I’m watching the MTV show Catfish as I type up this post – a process which for the past 40 minutes took the form of me staring at a blank screen – until that soundbite jump started some words.

Tomatoes on a salad? Sounds great. Peaches in a pie? Delicious. Tomatoes and peaches in a jam? “This is alarming.”

9297894268 78debdfc6c z Tomato Peach Jam

Before I made spicy tomato jam last July, I probably would have thought the same. Just like last year, I have enjoyed this sweet sauce on a sharp cheddar grilled cheese. I also tried it out – with good results - on sauteed shrimp.

The original recipe suggested enjoying the jam with beignets, bruschetta or even burgers. Maybe it would even taste good on a fried filet of catfish. “Amazing!”

9295112821 cf503be4b7 z Tomato Peach Jam

Tomato Peach Jam
 
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds roma or plum tomatoes (approximately 8), peeled and chopped (3 cups)
  • 1 large peach, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 hot pepper like a red jalepeno or Thai chile, minced
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and allow to cook until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. For a smoother jam, puree in a food processor or blender once the jam is cool enough to work with.
  4. Refrigerate for up to one week.
  5. Notes on peeling and chopping:
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water to set off to the side.
  7. While the water comes to a boil, use a paring knife to cut an x-shaped slit at the bottom of each tomato and the peach.
  8. Boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Repeat with the peach.
  9. When the fruits are cool enough to touch, simply slip them out of their skins to peel.
  10. Chop the tomatoes and the peach, taking care to reserve all juices for the saucepan.
Notes
Can’t find a red jalapeno pepper? Buy a green one and let it sit for a week to 10 days. As it ripens, it will begin to turn red.