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Dehydrated Curried Lentil Soup

Let me say this first, I don’t like Lentils.

I mean… at all.. but I do want to like them.

They are cheap, they are filling and they are healthy (and how can I call myself a hippie if I don’t eat lentils!) but each time I tried a recipe I ended up hating them even more.

A few weeks ago I picked up a bag of Lentils at the grocery store determined to try et least one more time.. this week I put Lentil soup on my meal plan.

Because the recipes that I have tried in the past never worked for me, this time I didn’t have a recipe, I didn’t have a guideline… I just decided to wing it… it worked. I loved this soup!

I used my pressure cooker to make the soup as I was in a bit of a rush and I will definitely be making it that way each time…

For the soup:

  • Chop up 1 Large onion and sauté in a bit of Olive oil.
  • Add a few minced garlic cloves
  • Add a few stalks of celery, a few carrots and a red pepper (all diced)
  • Cook down the veggies for a few minutes and add some salt and pepper, cumin powder, garlic powder, oregano and basil and a few tsp of curry powder.
  • Add about 8-9 cups of stock (Veggie or Chicken)
  • Add 1 small can of tomato paste
  • Finally add in 2 cups of dried red Lentils

If using a pressure cooker, bring to a simmer, put the lid on, bring to pressure and cook for 20 min.

If using a pot, cook for about an hour or until the lentils have given up their shape and the soup is all creamy and thick.

Adjust seasoning to taste…

This was our meal last night and the leftovers were put away in the fridge. That is when the dehydrating idea came into play.

I am loving my dehydrator and have been wanting to try dehydrating soup that can then be powdered and reconstituted with hot water. Great for a quick meal, snack or for when we go camping…

Using the non-stick sheets in my dehydrator, I lathered about 1 1/2 cups of the thick soup onto the sheets about 1/4″ thick, making 6 trays of soup.

I put the dehydrator at the temp that I usually use for veggies and fruits, so quite warm, and after about 1-2 hours I started seeing the thinner parts were becoming very dry and crumbly. After about 6-7 hours all the trays were completely dry, even the thicker parts.

Dehydrated Curried Lentil soup

Dehydrated Curried Lentil soup

Next, I put all of the pieces in the Food processor and made it all into a powder…

 

Dehydrated Curried Lentil soupCurried Lentil soup powder

It was really that simple…

Of course we had to test it out. It took about 3-4 Tbsp of powder to get a good consistency in one cup of water… it is a bit thinner than the original soup, though I could be thicker if I used more powder, but the flavour was right on and Xavier brought it into the living room and ate it all up.. so it definitely got the thumbs up!

I am so happy that not only did I make a Lentil soup that I will be making again, but it also made a great instant meal for the whole family!

 

Szechwan Eggplant and Cauliflower

I had no idea what I wanted to make for supper but knew that I wanted to use the eggplant that I had in my fridge. I also knew that I didn’t want to make my usual eggplant dishes so I went searching…

I was looking for  something salty and sweet and tangy with a bit of heat. I found an obscure recipe that gave me an idea and decided to figure something out and this is what I came up with…

Szechwan Eggplant and Cauliflower on rice..

Szechuan Eggplant and cauliflower

It was so delicious!! I liked eggplant, but I never knew how much I actually love eggplant!!

So it started… first I sauteed some cubed eggplant (1 whole large eggplant) in the wok with a bit of peanut oil… I didn’t stir too much, and didn’t crowd the pan as I wanted the eggplant to get a nice caramelized colour..

Eggplant in the wok...

Then I saw that even a whole eggplant doesn’t make too much… so then entered the cauliflower…

Yummy cauliflower

I put the eggplant aside, chopped up a head of cauliflower and then did a few batches the same way in the wok as I did the eggplant… You don’t want to overcook the cauliflower though, a bit of crunch adds so much to the dish alongside the soft texture of the eggplant..

In the meantime I put together the sauce… I made it up a bit as I went along so the measurements are approximative and you might need to adjust as you see fit…

In a bowl mix together

  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 5 tbsp garlic
  • Black bean garlic sauce (or chili bean paste)
  • 4 tbsp of tamari
  • 2 tbs of rice vinegar
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp of ginger

Put the cauliflower aside, add some chopped onion to the wok and stir-fry until translucent. Add the sauce, bring to a boil and then add a bit of a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Adjust seasonings if needed…

Once thickened, add the cooked eggplant and cauliflower to the sauce and stir…

Serve over rice with some green onions on top… or even just on its own… it is just that good…

Szechuan Eggplant and cauliflower

Kale chips

I finally got the grocery store near me to have Kale in their inventory. It is the only store around here that has it and I have a feeling that I am the only one that has been buying it, so to make sure that they keep on stocking it, I have been buying a lot and using it often. On Pizza it was great, but Kale chips have become a favourite around here… well… for Colin and I especially.

If you haven’t heard of Kale chips, well you are missing out on something. They are great for snacking on and their crunch is so satisfying. Colin, who at the moment is going through a bit of a picky phase tried them and has fallen in love with them. He cant get enough and has finished off a baking sheet full a few times now.

Of course, not only are they satisfying and delicious, they are also really easy to make.

Preheat oven at 350

To take off the Kale leaves from the stem, run your hand on the stem and pinch while pulling off the leaves, what you can pull off is what is tender enough to eat. Discard the rest.

Tear the larger leaves into bite sized pieces, but not too small, they will shrink while baking.

Wash and dry the leaves and then place in bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and about a tsp of salt…

Place on baking sheet in a single layer (I use two sheets) and bake for about 15 min until dry and crisp but not burnt.

Enjoy 🙂

Kale Chips

Simple veggie tomato soup…

I have a new toy in my kitchen… a brand new Cuisinart Elite food 12 cup processor. I have had an old cheaper food processor in my kitchen for about 8-9 years now and it was just not working out for me anymore. I was waiting for it to die but it wasn’t, even though it has been struggling through many recipes.

So I was dealing with it while I waited for a Cuisinart to come on special at Canadian Tire. I was still waiting when I decided to go check out Food Processors at “Home Sense” since I had a 100$ gift card for HBC stores. Instead of having the one that I had been looking at they only had the Elite models and I didn’t want to pay 340$ for a food processor even if I have 100$ off. We were heading to the mall anyway, so I decided to go though “The Bay” while we were there and to my luck, the Elite was on special at 249$, so with the 100$ gift card it was a great deal that I couldn’t pass up!

I am having so much fun with my new toy!

Tonight I wandered around in the kitchen wondering what to make for supper. Khéna said he wanted tomato soup so I got a bread in the oven and started on the soup.

I went to the fridge to see what I had on hand…

So in the food processor went 3 carrots (cut into thirds), two stalks of celery, a large onion (quartered), a half of a red pepper that I needed to use up, a full orange pepper (cut into large pieces), a few cloves of garlic, some parsley and a few green onions. I processed it until nearly puréed and then put it in my soup pot with a bit of olive oil and cooked it through.

Then, into the food processor, I added a can of whole tomatoes, a can of diced, and puréed that and then added it to the pot along with two cans of tomato paste, a bit of salt, 2 tsp of sugar, some garlic powder a tsp of powdered broth and a bit of oregano and let it simmer for about 45 min while the bread was baking.

When cooked through, and slightly thickened, I used the wand to make it smoother and it was done… So easy to make and so delicious…

A perfect creamy veggie tomato soup for a cool rainy day.

(served with fresh bread and a drizzle of cream that I had on hand)

Veggie tomato soup

Caramelized Onion and Spinach Pizza with Peanut sauce…

Annie shared this recipe on her blog a while back and I have been dying to make it…

I used my favourite dough which I shared in this post

For the sauce… (I changed it a bit to suit my taste and Annie’s recipe didn’t have water and it just doesn’t work without it for me)

Peanut Pizza Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, minced
  • 3-4 heaping tbsp  Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp Tamari
  • 1 tbsp Demerara Sugar
  • Garlic Chili Paste (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Green Onion, chopped (I use two)
  • 1/3 cup of warm water (or more depending on how thin you want it)

Blend together to make a sauce

Ready to be blended…

for the peanut sauce...

Peanut sauce is done… this stuff is amazing… not only for pizza but for a dipping sauce also…

peanut sauce

Caramelize the onions… I then added garlic, mushrooms and then some spinach…

cooking the onions...

Spread the sauce on the prepared dough and then add the toppings…

I then added some more fresh spinach and grated carrot…

Caramelized onion and spinach pizza with a savoury peanut sauce...

Bake at 400 for about  15 min…

Caramelized onion and spinach pizza with a savoury peanut sauce...

What a treat!

Caramelized onion and spinach pizza with a savoury peanut sauce...

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