Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper, Lentil & Corn Soup

Yes, more roasted red peppers and sweet corn!

This soup is a lighter summer variant of one of my most popular soup recipes, Roasted Red Pepper and Red Lentil Soup.

In this version, I reduced the lentils to 1/2 cup and used two fresh roasted red peppers. I also added chopped cilantro and jalapeno and 2 ears of corn kernels, lightly pan fried with a little oil and lime juice.

Light, delicious, and plenty of vegan protein in this dish. For vegetarians, get a little wicked and grate some sharp cheddar cheese into the soup and bring out the tortilla chips!

Roasted Red Pepper, Lentil & Corn Soup:

1 -1/2 TBS peanut oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 tsp of ground cumin
generous pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups of water
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
2 large roasted red peppers, skinned and seeded
1/2 large jalapeno, deveined and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 ears of corn kernels
Juice of 1/8 lime wedge
salt to taste
cilantro garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently (avoid browning) . Add the potato, cover, and cook for 4 minutes (stirring to avoid sticking). Add the cumin, cumin seeds, coriander and salt and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, water, red lentils and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the roasted red peppers and jalapeno. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until lentils loose their shape. Add cilantro and cook 1-2 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender.

Using a little oil, pan fry the corn kernels over high heat for 1 minute. Add the corn to the pureed soup.

Return to the heat and add salt to your taste.

Other roasted red pepper soup recipes from Albion Cooks:

  • Roasted Red Pepper & Cilantro Soup

  • Corn, Red Pepper & Potato Soup

  • Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • Monday, June 29, 2009

    Millennium: Beautiful Appetizers

    Roasted Beets with hazelnuts, thyme, hazelnut oil, and balsamic vinegar.

    Cornmeal Fried Summer Squash, spicy Creole remoulade, arugula, roasted corn & leek confit salad. Nothing dull and tasteless about this zucchini dish.

    Seared Snap Peas with fermented black bean & ginger, sweet soy.

    I love the fact that the Millennium menu has so many small plates, salads and starters - 15 diverse possibilities. And it's so hard not to order the oyster mushrooms every time! I loved the cornmeal fried summer squash. Gotta try this!

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Millennium Cooking Class: June 2009

    A beautiful salad lunch plate from Sunday's cooking class at Millennium, the gourmet vegan restaurant in San Francisco, featuring two versions of Seared Butter Bolete Salad with Walnuts & Stone Fruit and Indo Tempeh - Long Bean Salad.

    Executive Chef Eric Tucker created an excellent and diverse menu of dishes for the class to prepare last Sunday in the Millennium kitchen, combining the best picks of Saturday's Farmers Market with specific requests.

    I loved the coconut and lemongrass coating on the Indo-Tempeh:

    The Chinese long beans were seared and dressed with lime juice, shallot, and kaffir lime leaves. Very easy with a wonderful flavor, finding the kaffir lime leaves is the hardest thing about this recipe! We added mango to this version, the other salad had cherry tomatoes.

    And now for the magical Butter Bolete mushroom:

    It turns blue when you slice it!

    A little heat and they turned green then yellow.

    A cousin of the porcini, these mushrooms remain firm and were the star feature of a salad with mixed greens, walnuts, walnut oil, mango or nectarine, and a light dash of vinegar (see photo above).

    My special request was to make the Edamame Gnocchi with Shiso Aioli that I enjoyed so much at the restaurant. I'd never made gnocchi before so this was a fabulous learning experience for me. The dough is made from 3 large baked potatoes, peeled and put through a ricer, 10 oz of shelled edamame, blanched until cooked through, cooled, then pureed, salt to taste, and 2/3 cup flour. This is kneaded into a soft dough.

    Then rolled into 1/2 inch rope, pinched and cut into little butterfly shapes:

    Then rolled on a fork, while pressing your thumb into the back, to create the traditional shape and look:

    I made a double batch and became quite good and this last step, which was quite tricky at first. Thanks to Thomas for his help on this. We did a test run on a handful, then froze the gnocchi for an hour. We then boiled them gently in salted water until they floated.

    For the final dish, the gnocchi are pan fried until blackened with spring onion and julienned snap peas are added to the pan right at the end. The gnocchi are served with shiso aioli and macro shiso leaves: delicious!

    English Pea Griddle Cakes made with oats and chickpea flour provided a gluten-free savory cake that tasted like giant fresh pea falafel:

    Grilled pizza dough with a variety of fresh toppings with cashew cream - miso cream sauce and a wonderful chevre-like macademia nut cheese:

    Big Bean Tagine with Zhug (a Yemenite spice paste with chili, cilantro and cardamom):

    I always forget to save room for dessert! This Nectarine Napoleon (the wafers are made of filo with chopped hazelnuts) with a Ginger Pastry Cream made with coconut milk (on top), a lower fat tofu-based caramel cream sauce (on the nectarine) garnished with fruit syrup and thyme and ginger-infused caramel sauce, was spectacular, surprisingly light, and the perfect celebration of nectarine summer days:

    Many thanks to Eric, Thomas, Ann and Alison for making this another incredibly tasty learning experience.

    This was my 11th cooking class at Millennium and they've all been incredible. See below for links to previous class posts.


    Links to previous Millennium cooking class write-ups:
  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class
  • Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Corn, Red Pepper & Potato Soup

    This summery soup was a delicious combination of sweet corn, roasted red peppers, potatoes, kale, cilantro and fresh jalapeno. Smoky and fresh with a jalapeno kick!

    The inspiration for this soup was, in part, a need to use up extras that were taking up precious refrigerator space. We've been enjoying buttery, sweet corn on the cob, but I bought so much I had a couple of ears left to use. Home-roasted red peppers are now a staple for me and the kale was left over from the raw kale salad (see previous post).

    I was also craving comfort food with a kick. I have been slowed down by a broken toe and it's made me grumpy! This soup put a smile back on my face. Enjoy!

    Corn, Red Pepper & Potato Soup:
    2-3 TBS olive oil
    1 small white onion, finely diced
    1 large clove of garlic, minced
    5 baby potatoes, diced
    2 cups vegetable broth
    1 large red pepper, roasted, seeds and skin removed, cut into pieces
    1/4 fresh jalapeno, finely diced
    1/2 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed and cut into 2" strips
    2 ears of corn kernels
    1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

    Heat the oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the minced garlic and diced potatoes and stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking. Remove the cover and add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the red pepper, jalapeno and kale. Cook for 8 minutes and add the corn. Cook 2 minutes, turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Adjust seasoning.

    Serve with quesadillas or chips and guacamole.

    The addition of black beans would make this soup a meal in itself. If using canned black beans, be sure to rinse them well.

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Raw Kale Salad

    I love kale, particularly dinosaur kale, but wouldn't have thought of having it raw in a salad unless I had been inspired to recreate the "I Am Giving" Marinated Kale Salad from Cafe Gratitude, a raw, vegan restaurant. The recipe is in their cookbook, I Am Grateful, and is quite simple and very healthful.

    I don't think they use dinosaur kale in their recipe and on first making this dish, some of the kale was a little too bitter for my taste. I'll have to try it with other types of kale and see if it makes a difference. It keeps remarkably well, maintaining its crispness, and 3 days after making it, it is still good and there's none of the original bitterness. I winged it a bit on proportions and my version came out a little too oily to my taste. Beyond eating it straight up, I think adding some sweet raw red peppers and plain tofu would move it beyond a side dish. Also, try stuffing it in a pita with your favorite hummus. Next time, I'll add some sweet, juicy snap peas!

    Raw Kale Salad: adapted from I Am Grateful.
    2/3 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed, cut into small ribbons
    5 button mushrooms, sliced and marinated in lemon juice and soy sauce (the original recipe calls for shiitake, but I'm not keen on them)
    1/3 julienned carrots
    3 inch English cucumber, julienned
    sesame seeds to garnish

    1/6 cup of olive oil (I used 1/4 cup and thought it was too much)
    1/8 cup orange juice
    1 TBS soy sauce
    1 1/2 TBS rice vinegar
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1/8 tsp fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
    salt to taste

    Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Combine the kale, carrots, mushrooms and cucumber in a bowl. Toss with the marinade. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.

    Sunday, June 07, 2009

    Roasted Red Pepper & Cilantro Soup

    This soup is the perfect summer appetizer! Simple, fresh ingredients! Delicious both hot and cold, this recipe makes one perfect portion!

    1 roasted red pepper, blackened skin scraped off and seeds removed
    2 TBS chopped white onion
    1/4 cup cilantro leaves
    1 slice white bread, crust removed, soaked in white wine
    dash of extra-virgin olive oil
    dash of white wine
    sea salt

    Puree the roasted red pepper with the white onion and cilantro. Place the fluffy white bread in a little bowl and soak with white wine.

    Add the soaked bread to the red pepper mixture. Puree. Add a dash of olive oil and a little white wine to the desired consistency. Puree. Salt to taste. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with cilantro.