Today’s recipe for Spiced Carrot Red Lentil Soup comes from Agnes Devereux, owner of The Village Tea Room in New Paltz, NY.
The Village Tea Room is one of my favorite restaurants and I was thrilled when Agnes agreed to let share some of her recipes on this blog.
The Village Tea Room serves delicious tea and fantastic baked goods all day long. But that’s not all- it’s also a full-scale restaurant with incredible food.
Agnes hails from Ireland and while many of the foods on the menu do reflect her heritage, she makes it a point to serve a wide variety of dishes from across the globe…in her own words, it’s “home cooking at its best”.
Agnes is a huge proponent of Slow Food and bakes/cooks with only the best quality ingredients. This, coupled with the fact that she’s hugely committed to using foods from our region (New York’s Hudson Valley), makes me a a very big fan.
One of my favorite things on the menu at The Village Tea Room is the soups. They always feature seasonal ingredients and they are always delicious. Agnes was kind enough to share not one…not two…but three of the restaurant’s most popular fall soup recipes with me. This week I am going to share them with you, starting with this amazing Spiced Carrot Red Lentil Soup.
Agnes calls this “Carrot Red Lentil Soup with Gentle Spices”. I love this description. It is gently spiced, with flavors reminiscent of Indian cooking. I loved this both before blending and adding the coconut milk as well as after; try it both ways and I’m sure you’ll agree it is fabulous!
Carrot Red Lentil Soup With Gentle Spices
2 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 Tb. fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 Tb. allspice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry powder
3/4 cup sliced onions
3/4 cup peeled and sliced parsnips
4 cups scrubbed and sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 Tb. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup basmati rice
7 cups water
1/2 can coconut milk (approx. 1 cup)
juice of 1 lime
additonal 1/2 Tb. salt
In a soup pot, warm olive oil over low heat. Stir in the ginger and spices and cook until very fragrant (about 3 minutes). Do not let the spices burn.
Add the onions, carrots, parsnips and celery and season with the salt and pepper.
Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to be soft but not browned.
Stir in the lentils and basmati rice, mixing until well combined with the vegetables.
Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until the vegetables are rice are tender. Make sure the carrots are very soft so that the soup won’t be gritty.
Being careful not to burn yourself as your transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, purée the soup until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot, bring back to a boil, and stir in the coconut milk and lime juice before serving.
The Village Tea Room is located at 10 Plattekill Ave in New Paltz, NY. If you’d like more information about Agnes and the restaurant, check out this great article from the Valley Table Magazine.
Before I get to the pumpkin gingerbread stuffing recipe, I have a few announcements…
First, I completely forgot to let you know that the winner of The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook giveaway was Tara of California. I mailed the book out to Tara’s Almond Ave. address (how fitting is that?) yesterday…thanks to everyone who entered, and many thanks of course to the lovely Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry for providing a signed copy of the book! I don’t have anything in the works yet, but I promise to do another giveaway soon!
Second, I’ve changed my website and blog header once again, as well as the overall design of the blog. Sorry if I am confusing/bothering people by doing this…I’m happy with the way things are looking right now, so I’m hoping not to make any major changes again!
strong>Third, I am hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week.
I’ve never hosted anything before, so I’m excited! You can find the information/rules about weekend herb blogging at Haalo’s blog. I look forward to your submissions!
Now, on to the recipe!
This vegetarian stuffing was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Gingerbread Stuffing. It appears in her book Feast. I liked the idea of a sweet-ish stuffing, so I came up with my own version. I used my own pumpkin gingerbread muffin recipe as the base (make a double batch if you’d like to have some of the muffins to snack on, too)- it’s easy to make a few days ahead, crumble up, and allow to stale a bit before you proceed with the stuffing. If you don’t want to make your own gingerbread, use a good quality store-bought loaf.
First, make and then dry out the muffins:
* 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 6 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon molasses
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
* 1/2 cup applesauce
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix together flour through ginger in a large bowl.
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and the brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the pumpkin and the applesauce and mix well again. Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
Spoon into muffin tins that have been greased with butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
To use the muffins in the stuffing, tear them into pieces and keep on a cookie sheet, uncovered, for a day or two. This should dry them out sufficiently; alternatively, you could put them in a 350°F oven to for 10 minutes or so before proceeding with the stuffing.
Then, make the stuffing:
Ingredients for the stuffing:
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 2 onions, peeled and chopped
* 1 apple, peeled and chopped
* 4 cups peeled and cubed cooking pumpkin or sweet potato
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
* 1 cup apple cider
* 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
* 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
* 6 cups cubed (“stale” or toasted) pumpkin gingerbread muffins
* 2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
* 1 cup vegetable stock
Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and apple and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and soft.
Add the cubed pumpkin, celery, and fennel and cook for 3 more minutes.
Add the apple cider and the ginger and cook for 7-10 minutes, until most of the cider has cooked off, and the vegetables are cooked through. Remove from the heat and mix in the salt.
Mix the wet ingredients with the cubed pumpkin gingerbread in a large bowl. Add the eggs and the stock and mix well.
Bake uncovered in a 350 °F oven for 50-60 minutes until the bread has crisped on the top. Serve warm.
As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been posting lots of Thanksgiving-esque dishes lately. I’ll post a Thanksgiving recipe roundup next week!
If you want to take steps to live in a more eco-friendly way, here are some of my favorite tips for living green at home:
- Cut down on the waste you produce. You know the saying “reduce, reuse, and recycle”? Living green means putting these words into daily practice. Use a service like 41Pounds.org to help you stop junk mail. Buy in bulk when possible to cut down on packaging. Learn how to compost. Eliminate the use of items such as paper towels (replace these with dish towels you can throw in the laundry and re-use). Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. If you are having company and you are more comfortable using disposable plates, look for those that are biodegradable and can be added to your compost.
- Use natural products instead of those that contain potentially toxic chemicals. A good place to get started with this live greener tip is in your kitchen and bathroom, with your household cleaners and body care products. It is easy to make the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products made from naturally-derived ingredients. A few of my favorite brands are Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, and Method, and there are many other excellent natural brands on the market- these products work just as well as those made with harsh synthetic chemicals, but they won’t damage your health or the planet. As an alternative to purchasing products like these, you can make your own homemade cleaners. Body care products can also be a source of toxins in the home. Please see healthy body care for more information.
- Reconsider your carpets. Carpets are manufactured with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), unhealthy chemicals which can “outgas” for years to come. This fact, combined with the reality that carpets trap dirt and allergens, means that avoiding them, if possible, is one of my tips for living green. If you really want carpet, look for one that is more environmentally friendly and is made with either recycled materials or from wool, and that uses a low-VOC adhesive. Low VOC carpet tiles such as FLOR by Interface are another good option.
- Use non-toxic paint. More and more companies are offering non or low-VOC alternatives. Benjamin Moore Aura offers excellent wall coverage in just one coat, has minimal odor, and is low in VOCs. We used it on many of our walls and found it to be a very good product. Milk paint is another option (see www.realmilkpaint.com and www.milkpaint.com.) Eco Safety Products also makes several types of non-toxic paint.
- Make sure you have clean air in your home. And make sure it circulates well. Open windows to allow fresh air in whenever possible (or if you are in the city and do not have access to clean air, you may want to consider an air purifier). Keeping houseplants is another one of the best tips for living green.