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.

savory oats, hemp with garlic roasted beets

savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table

In a couple of weeks, I will be visiting Los Angeles to attend the IACP conference. It's my first time in LA and it's also my first time attending the awards, it's going to be fun and I'm looking forward to meeting and making new friends! If you have any suggestions on what I should eat or where I should go, please drop a little line below to let me know, I'd love to check out some of your recommendations on this trip. 

I love oats as much as my mother hates it. Several years ago she had an accident and had to stay for more than a week in the hospital and she said all they fed her was oatmeal. She avoids it like the plague ever since. Me on the other hand, I can never have enough oatmeal or oats. Judging by the fact that I eat oatmeal about five times a week. It's usually a staple at breakfast but there are times when I'll use it as a rice substitute. Don't get me wrong, the textures are different, one more sticky than the other but it's still delicious in savory form. Whether you wash the oats in cold running water or if you fry them before you boil, they will still be clumpy and sticky. At least that's been my experience but that unmistakable chewy texture of steel cut oats makes it a winner.  

I used Bob's Red Mill's steel cut oats and hemp seed hearts I find steel cut oats to be a closer substitute for rice when it comes to using it in savory dishes as a grain, it's just like a wheatberry but less chubby and more soft yet it has that beautiful chewy nature. Hemp heart seeds on the other hand taste like little flakes. When it sticks to those roasted beets as soon as they come out of the oven, that texture... it reminds me of Indian sesame candy, chikki but without all that sugar.

savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when making this dish,

  • The best way to tell whether the beets are roasted and cooked is to look at the baking pan. If you notice water from the beets in the pan, then continue to roast them until only the olive oil is present. 
  • You can adjust the consistency of the oats by adding a little water once they're cooked. 
  • Hemp hearts do not need any cooking, just fold them into the beets and that's it. 
  • You can sub the beets out with carrots if you're not fond of beets. Adjust the roasting time accordingly. 
savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets | A Brown Table

savory oatmeal, hemp hearts with garlic roasted beets

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

3 cups diced beets cut into 0.5" cubes, peeled

1 tablespoon garlic minced

3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup hemp seed hearts

1 cup steel cut oats

3 cups water

1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground

1 cup diced red onion

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1/4 cup raw peanuts

1/4 cup grated goat cheddar

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 large lemon

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Place the beets, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large baking pan and mix to coat evenly. Roast the beets in the oven for about 40 minutes until they are tender and a knife can pass through the beets easily. Remove from oven, mix in the hemp seed hearts and keep warm until ready to use. 

2. While the beets are roasting, prepare the oats. In a medium-sized stockpot, bring the water to boil on medium-high and then add the oats along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook until the oats are tender, this should take about 10 to 12 minutes, stir occasionally. Remove from stove and keep aside

3. In a medium-size skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the red onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and chili powder, sauté until light pink and almost translucent, this should take about 5 minutes. Remove the onions from the stove and stir into the oats. 

4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. Add the peanuts along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Toss to coat and fry the peanuts until cooked, this should take about 90 seconds to 120 seconds. Add the cooked peanuts to the oats. 

5. Fold the roasted beets with the hemp seed hearts into the oats. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon of grated cheddar, mint leaves and a little lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo

sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table

This week has been busy, we've been trying to get contractors lined up for all the different projects for our new house. Apparently, all contractors in the Bay are busy until next year so there's that but we finally managed to rope a few people in after a lot of googling, yelp research and asking people. With all the chaos that is to ensue, I'm super excited about the prospect of all the fun aspects of working on a home and making it my own. 

My first cover in print just came out last week. Every issue of the Edible Silicon Valley magazine features the work of one local artist (from the food industry) and this time the lovely folks at Edible SV did a little feature on my work and also asked me to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. You can find this issue at most stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and also online at their website

Edible Silicon Valley Fall 2015| Cover by Nik Sharma Photography

A lot can be said about a sandwich, in many ways I think of it as a gateway to my heart because a good sandwich can take me to my happy place. I like mine toasted and grilled, stuffed pretty full, yet pressed down and to compact and hold everything inside together. Most of the time, my sandwiches have cheese and if there's cheese, there'd better be some amount of heat involved to melt it.

These sandwiches have two stages of grilling. The first is when big, fat thick slices of garam masala seasoned sweet potatoes go on the grates and the second time it's the panini stuffed with kale leaves,cheese and crispy bacon. And along with this panini there's a hot and spicy Sriracha flavored mayo to dip and enjoy every bite! I also like to top each sandwich off with a fresh fried egg which also works perfect for a weekend brunch item.

To get the recipe and learn how to make this panini, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!


sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table
sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table

Disclaimer: Thank you to West Elm for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.