creamy mixed lentil soup

creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table

There are a couple of things you get used to eating all the time if you grew up in an Indian household, one of them being lentils. We eat a lot of lentils, black, green, yellow, orange, red etc. And though the names might not really match the color, for example the red lentils look orange to me, they are still one of the most popular and affordable source of protein in India. They're also pretty easy and fast to cook which adds to their attractiveness.

This lentil soup is one of the easiest to make and it's also one of the creamiest versions you'll try! It's got the texture of silky bisque and I've used Califia's unsweetened almond milk creamer to give the soup its characteristic body and "richness". The base of the soup is seasoned with aromatics and flavored with cloves and bay leaves. And though this isn't a "hot" soup you can easily bump up the heat levels by adding your favorite hot sauce in the desired amount. To give this lentil soup a little freshness,  I've garnished it with fresh cilantro and lemon zest and a generous drizzle of a fruity extra virgin olive oil.

 

creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table
creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table
creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table
creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this soup;

  • I use black and red lentils for this soup but you could also substitute green/beluga lentils. 
  • You can make this soup a little hot by adding a little hot sauce if desired.
  • Adjust the consistency of the soup as needed using water after blending. 
  • Califia's new line of creamers have made it possible to create that silky smooth and creamy bisque like texture in this soup. If you want the soup a little creamier, then I recommend playing around with the ratios of the lentil soup base, the water and the creamer. Don't forget to taste and season as you proceed.
creamy mixed lentil soup | A Brown Table

creamy mixed lentil soup

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 cup black lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup diced red onion

5 whole cloves

2 large bay leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic clove

1 teaspoon ginger root cut into 1 inch strips

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup Califia almond milk creamer (unsweetened)

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil for garnish

1. Clean and rinse the lentils. Keep aside until ready to use.

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for about 2 to 3 minutes until light pink. Add the cloves, bay leaves, garlic cloves and ginger and cook for 1 additional minute with occasional stirring. Then add the salt, black pepper and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds. Add the lentils and water and increase the heat to high, bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender. Once the lentils are cooked, remove and discard the bay leaves. 

3. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender. Add the Califia creamer to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick add a little more water and blend until you get the desired consistency. 

4. Transfer the soup from the blender to the saucepan and keep warm. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. To serve, garnish each serving of the soup with the lemon zest and cilantro leaves and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

apple coconut and clove scented pound cake

apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

What was I thinking? I decided to adopt a cat. A couple of weeks ago, a hungry kitten kept coming over to our garden at the back and I decided to feed her, play with her and she'd jump like a puppy into my lap as soon as I'd click my fingers. Yup, I got attached! I kept her for a night, and slept with her on the couch. We took it to the shelter (to make sure it wasn't microchipped) and posted a note our neighborhood to see no one was missing a pet. By law the shelter had to keep her for two weeks to make sure she belong to no one. After coming back from NYC, I ran over directly from the airport to see if she was still available but sadly, someone adopted her the day before. My jaw dropped and it was pretty obvious that I looked devastated. The cop who was working at the front desk could tell because she said, why don't you go and take a look at the other cats we have. I was a little hesitant at first, to replace my affections for one feline with another, it felt similar to cheating but then I met Vesper Lynx and fell in love and we brought him home. So yes, our "zoo" has grown!

Vesper Lynx | A Brown Table
Vesper Lynx | A Brown Table

Cloves!!! If there is a spice that I feel gets tossed to the side, it's got to be cloves. It's not that I don't use it but I don't use it enough by itself, it's always tossed into some combination of sorts. In desserts, except for a few combinations in cider or other spice mixes it's rarely used by iteself to add flavor to dishes. In this pound cake, the scent and flavor of freshly ground cloves, adds a mild yet distinct taste to the apples and coconut. I decreased the amount of sugar to reduce the sweetness so the flavor of the cloves, apples and the toasted coconut in the cake stand out. Using Califia's newly revamped unsweetened almond creamer, I was able to create this whole wheat pound cake this dairy free and it has three forms of coconut, there's coconut cream in the Califia creamer, there's coconut oil and toasted coconut.

I came across this technique that's used in Italian apple cakes where thinly cut slices of apple are sandwiched between the cake batter before baking. This helps the flavor of the apple to permeate through the batter while it's cooking but also makes it easy to cut the cake easily without having it fall apart while cutting and of course, more importantly, eating!

apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when baking this cake;

  • Use crips baking apples that are sweet yet mildly tart. I'm on my pink lady apple obsession and they work perfectly here.
  • Sweetened / unsweetened shredded coconut - use either. It's your call how sweet you want this to be.
  • Since coconut oil is the main source of fat and I've cut back on the sugar, the cake will be best kept wrapped tightly in cling film and refrigerated. Both coconut oil and low sugar reduce shelf life of food products, one gets rancid in a couple of days at room temperature while the other makes food dry out fast.
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

apple, coconut and clove scented pound cake

yields: one 9" loaf

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (144gm) whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 cloves, powdered

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature

3/4 cup (148.5 gm) super fine sugar

1/2 cup Califia creamer, unsweetened

1 pink lady smith apple, cored, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line a 9" loaf pan with a little coconut oil and parchment paper cut to size.

2. Place the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground cloves in a medium sized mixing bowl and dry whisk to combine. Keep aside until ready to use. 

3. In a large mixing bowl, hand whisk the eggs, coconut oil, and sugar until pale and creamy, this will take about 3 to 4 minutes (you can also use an electric handheld mixer). Whisk in half of the dry ingredients from step 1 until combined, add the creamer and whisk in the remaining flour mix. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then spread half of the apples on the surface of the cake batter in the pan in an even layer. Then pour the remaining cake batter over the apples. Arrange the remaining apple slices in a single row in the center across the length of the cake. Brush the surface of the apples with the maple syrup. Sprinkle the shredded coconut along the edges where the cake batter is exposed. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, turning the pan halfway through the baking process. The loaf will be done when the surface is golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out clean through the center when inserted and the surface of the cake will be firm to touch. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before serving.

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions expressed are solely my own.