Monday, November 17, 2008

oh so easy mulligatawny soup

freshly chopped cilantro the final touch.....

secrets to my mulligatawny soup: blended yellow + red lentils, ginger root, fresh tomatoes, extra virgin coconut oil, black mustard seeds and......

The temperament of this soup has a rustic appeal. Perfect with potato stuffed roti or toasted flat bread with hints of olive oil, garlic + freshly minced cilantro slathered about. I like to make this soup often and it makes a common place in our home as a quick comforting meal that satiates without the fuss. Slightly nutty, very savory + smoky, with hints of spice of ginger, garlic it is robust + opulent as the broth is drenched with chopped zucchini, celery, carrots, tomatoes, parsley + cilantro.

I love making this soup in the cold weather because it's like serving the fruits of the sun in a bowl on a drab wintry day.

mulligatawny as defined in the Tamil language literally means *pepper water*

spooning up my efforts: simmered with chopped curry leaves and lime leaves would be a delight as well......

I have to admit this is not the traditional method. I have taken out the initial step of *tempering* the spices in oil. Instead, the blender works swell and so does the slow simmer. I do promise this will make a sure fire hit to even non-lentil lovers. Kinda like my beet salad, even if you don't like beets. Poor beets have a bad rap since many of our earliest memories stem from aluminum ridden beets from the can.....we were forced to eat: *Eat Your Beets*! Anyways, about this soup: it is my tried and true oh so easy recipe that is nourishing, yummy and healing to the bod + senses. At least way easier than some of Emeril's recipes.......oooh though they are quite yummy. This recipe is definitely shorter.

Also, perfect to ease the chill.

It has been colder than usual......oh forbid, last night there was a pre-frost warning so I hauled in a surviving potted plant that I have not neglected. It's a white orchid that is massively blooming and to my amazement has survived my brown thumb.

My experience with soup made out of lentils has always been a mass of brown murky chunky lentils in a bland broth. Perhaps with a ham hock leg sticking out with overt douses of smoke liquid that left little to desire to my spoiled palate.

Later, I discovered mulligatawny soup at our neighborhood Indian restaurant and found myself smitten.....totally.

Nowhere to be seen were the gooey eewy brown bad mush muddy lentils.

They were lovingly replaced by a brocade of bright yellow dal(lentils) and a sunny shades of orange-red dal as well. Then I also found myself at the Indian market immersed with decadent shades of dal that reminded me of the brightness of the sun.

New found *inventory* always makes me happy.

Screw the brown lentils......cheers to sun-kissed lentils to brighten any drab Fall/Winter day.

TasteMemory's oh so easy mulligatawny soup
recipe written by me, Ingar B.

3/4 cup yellow lentils(moong dal), soak in cool water 1 hour
1/2 cup red lentils(masoor dal), soak in cool water 1 hour
3 garlic cloves
1" knob fresh ginger root, peeled
2 whole tomatoes
2 cups filtered water

After soaking yellow + red lentils together in water, rinse well + drain. Combine about half the lentils in a blender with the garlic cloves, ginger root, tomatoes + additional water. Put aside the remaining lentils in stock pot. Blend ingredients until smooth. Add to stock pot with remaining lentils and combine with:

1/4 cup good olive oil
3-4 cups filtered water
4 dried chiles

Combine these ingredients well as the oil + water will help prevent the lentils from burning. Bring to medium simmer while stirring often so lentils do not stick and burn. Then add:

4 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 zucchini, coursely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped with seeds
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil, it's thick like butter
Splash of agave nectar
1 1/2 teasp. Garam Masala
1 teasp. black mustard seeds
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring to medium-high simmer and stir often to combine ingredients well, avoid lentils from burning + clumping. Then reduce heat to medium-low for approximately 30to 45 minutes, stirring occassionally until vegetables are tender.

Must try: 1/2 cup or more freshly chopped cilantro

Serve in soup bowls and top with generous portions of chopped cilantro.

Delicious with a lively salad and/or your choice of naan.

Vegetarian/Vegan. Dairy-free.

If you have easy access to fresh curry and/or lime that's an added delight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

freaking out about Fall: weak in the knees about Autumn

All photography © 2008 property of Ingar Brunnett, TasteMemory + Melt Into Arts Inc.

I often wait until late Fall to buy concord grapes.....they are so much sweeter later in the season with just enough tang in the skin

I don't know what to say except that I've been a bad blogger.

I have been cooking....eating....taking photographs....breathing + easing into Fall....yet not blogging.

I am sorry.

I still love blogging.

Just taking a breather ~

Another excuse (aside from the daily drama of my life) is the new kitchen renovations as of late. It's near done. I've had this embarrassing kitchen for a food lover + food blogger......yes, overall I am thankful....quite grateful for a roof over my head and a kitchen that works, but......if you saw this kitchen.....

I do have before *pictures* of powder blue kitchen counters and stained off-white appliances that are no longer.

Of course, with the new range/oven installed; I am AGAIN doing another weird thing......I am afraid to cook or even bake as so not to dirty the new stovetop and oven!

This is where raw foods + grapes comes in handy, but for awhile was without a kitchen sink too.

But really.....can you imagine a brand spanking new oven with NO *crustineeys* embedded within? So I do a weird thing often; open the spanking new oven and just smile at it's beauty. Well, I plan to line with foil shortly and it will be initiated to baker's bliss with the holidays looming ~

Otherwise; I am alive and well.

Just thought to take a breather during summer......oh yea, summer is over....right!

a lone concord grape in a long shot with one of my robes in the background. Every time I look at that robe it reminds me of nursing my kids when they were little babies. I used to wear that robe while nursing. Very strange taste memories. Actually, I now use that robe as a tint for lighting my food shots. In the foreground are remnants of a few concord grapes I smashed for a shot that will follow below in this post.

a concord grape

owtcha my knee! no not my knee.......peeling back some thoughts with late harvest concord grapes

Seckel pears that I often crave can be quite haunting to the taste

I first came across these baby pears at the Union Square Greenmarket. It was love at first bite.

Seckel pears are petite in size compared to other pears. To the bite they are crisp and firm yet slightly gritty. I love the earthy texture and they have floral after taste that lingers sweetly. They are a definite must try compared to grocery store pears like Bartlett, Anjou or even the Bosc pear that packs a punch with sweetness.

Seckel pears are shaped to fit perfectly in a child's palm.

Perfect for the lunch box or picnic basket too.

these white grapes I picked up at the grocery store remind me of the late harvest Niagara grapes we used to buy at the fruit stands in northeast Ohio

insight into late harvest grapes: sweet with honey undertones

playing with my palette

I have been intrigued lately by micro images as you can see. I have also been lingering with foods + cultures that keep haunting my taste memories.

I promise to be back very shortly with my findings.....