Friday, June 15, 2012

lentil soup with rhubarb and garlic scapes

This is a very simple and quick soup for utilizing what late spring in NYC has to offer. Rhubarb and garlic scapes are perfectly in season right now and both add a bright and dynamic flavor to an otherwise kind of bland, run-of-the-mill vegetarian soup. Garlic scapes are the curly green flower stalks of garlic bulbs and have an almost asparagus-like herbaceous taste without all the sting of raw garlic. I sauteed them in this recipe for a couple of minutes, which really mellows them out. The rhubarb also needs just a couple minutes of sauteing to bring out the lovely lemon zestiness of its stalk. 

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup red lentils (washed and picked through for any stones or non-edibles)
4 cups veggie broth
2 cups chopped rhubarb (one inch think pieces)
2 cups thinly sliced garlic scapes
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or any herb you please- parsley or dill would go well too)

In a heavy stock pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add garlic scapes and rhubarb and a sprinkling of sea salt. Sautee for only a couple minutes and then add lentils and veggie broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir every once in a while to make sure lentils aren't sticking to bottom of pan. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Ladle into soup bowls and top with a good helping of chopped herbs and freshly ground pepper.

Monday, June 4, 2012

kale and mushroom risotto

Risotto can be time-consuming. It's not hard, you just have to be watchful. It involves adding a lot of water or broth. And lots of stirring. LOTS of stirring.  I opted for broth because it's much more flavorful. I added some thinly sliced dinosaur kale, shiitake mushrooms and a bit of red pepper flakes for color and kick.

1 cup uncooked arborio rice
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups dinosaur kale, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cups vegetable broth
sea salt and pepper

Saute onions in butter, add salt and cook until soft and translucent. Add kale and mushrooms and cook for about five minutes. Add rice, stirring for about two minutes. Stir in one cup of broth. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth one cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Portion into bowls and top with cracked pepper and freshly grated parmesan. 

Yields approximately 3 cups cooked rice