Sunday, December 16, 2012

Swoon Worthy Lentil Soup?

So...I havent written in awhile. I know, I know. I'm terrible. Allow me to make it up to you.

Actually, it's hard to write after you pass out AFTER you gave blood. While in a dress.

True story.

My company had a blood drive on a Tuesday. Fair enough. I signed right up to save a life.

Super sweet, right?

Eh, not so much.

Don't get me wrong. The whole "giving blood and saving a life" thing was awesome.

What happened after was not.

I ate a banana and some peanut butter before I gave. And drank a lot of water. So I'm thinking I'm making a sweet score and I'm just going to up and dance out of the blood giving area.

The Red Cross girl had me sit up.

"Are you okay?" The Red Cross Girl asked.
"YUP! Totally fine!" I replied.

Then she sends me to "the table" to eat pretzels and drink water. Superb. Like I even needed it. I was gonna bypass all that noise but decided to sit down to look like I was following rules.

A co-worker friend of mine, a nurse, sits down and we get to talking. For 3 whole seconds.

Co-Worker: "How's your Team?"
Me: "Um...fine. Fine. Yeah. I think I have to throw up!"

So I get up to walk to the bathroom across the hall, go 2 feet, and the room spins. She tried to ease me into a chair. Which I totally sat down in, and later, I was at my desk telling her "See? I told you I was fine!"

Oh't happen.

What actually happened was that I bypassed the chair, skinned my knee on it, and hit the floor (does that count to at least getting into the chair?).

And I sort of dreamed the whole "I'm fine!" part.

When I came to, I was surrounded by shoes and water. Looks like I spilled the water I was holding on the way down. NO, I DID NOT PEE MY PANTS. And I was told I was the most graceful person ever to faint (cut to a shot of someone wearing a dress. You. Your neighbor. Your boyfriend. Whatever. And they're falling, legs crossed over each other, pulling their dress down while they pass out. Sexy.)

After some cold compresses and scaring people, I was fine. But I got to thinking. If I ate the following lentil soup before I went, all of this wouldn't have happened.

Make it. It'll save you from fainting too.


SWOON WORTHY LENTIL (and Chicken Sausage!) SOUP
(No pictures cuz you can't take pictures while you're passed out).
1 bag Goya lentils (or whatever lentils you can find/like!)
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped fine
3 large cloves garlic, minced
64 oz (2 32 oz boxes) low sodium chicken broth
1 package chicken sausage, pre cooked or raw, whatever you want (I tend to love chicken sausage with maple syrup in it, if you can find it. If not, any will do!)
1 pound cleaned and cut kale
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.) Pour the lentils into a strainer. Rinse them. NOW.
2.) Meanwhile, in a soup pot (or enameled cast iron dutch oven, which I LOVEEEEEEEE), toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once shimmering, toss in the chicken sausage. If raw, break up while it cooks. If pre-cooked, heat through until it browns and you get some nice brown on the pan.
Once cooked/browned, take it out of the pan and on paper towels to drain.
3.) Put the pot back on the heat and toss in the onions, celery, and carrots. Add a little more oil if necessary. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
4.)Add the garlic and stir the veggies until you can smell the garlic. Pour in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth (or some nice, dry white wine if you got it!).
5.) Pour some of the wine for yourself. You deserve it.
6.) THEN...Scrape up all the good brown bits from the bottom and let the liquid reduce 1 minute.
7.) Throw the lentils into the pot and get them nice and coated.
8.) Cover everything with 1 complete container of the broth and 1/2 of the other. Save the other half if the soup gets too thick (you can add it to thin it out).
9.) Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. After 30 minutes, taste the lentils. Crunchy? No good. Tender? Rockin.
10.) Once the lentil soup is ready, add the sausage and the kale. Stir until the kale is wilted.
Then you're done.
Now eat it and pass out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quiche for the Apocalypse: A Paula Deen Tribute

Q: How do you spend a Saturday Morning?
A: Why, teaching a cooking class of course!

And that's what I did:
Bowls. So full of promise. And....flour.

Q: How do you spend your time AFTER teaching cooking class?
A: Doing more cooking!!!

And that's what I did.

Here's the deal: my Sister was celebrating her first anniversary moving in with one of her closest friends by throwing something called "THE BRUNCH OF EPIC PROPORTIONS". Which involves every breakfast meat you can imagine. Potatoes. Breakfast sweets. And a sh-t ton of mimosas. It's an epicurean delight, 10 times over.

"What can I possibly make to add to this feast?" I wondered.
Then it hit me:

If we're brunching, I'm making quiche. But for an event such as this, we're gonna need man power. We're gonna need street cred. We're gonna need...a quiche for the apocalypse. Inspired by Paula Deen. The one who used to eat butter by the stick and sugar by the bag. The pre-diabetic Paula Deen. Before Women's Day Magazine blasted her MIRACULOUS WEIGHT LOSS on their cover. IT'S CALLED DIABETES, PEOPLE! THAT'S WHAT CAUSES MIRACULOUS WEIGHT LOSS!

Stupid magazine.

Rant over, here's the quiche recipe I made, based off something old Paula Deen used to make. She calls it Hash Brown Quiche. I call mine "Quiche for the Apocalypse".

3 cups shredded frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed and drained
4 tablespoons butter, melted (in memory of old Paula Deen)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup half and half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound turkey bacon (if you live near a Trader Joe's, GET THEIR TURKEY BACON. NOW.)
1/2 a zucchini, diced
1/4 of an onion, diced
1/4 of a pepper, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes

So, like preheat the oven to 450, right?

You do 2 things:
Take the tomaters, lay them out on 2 sheets of foil, put olive oil on them, salt and pepper them, and wrap them up in the foil tightly.

Melt the butter in a SKIL-LET. Then you take the melted butter and combine it with the potatoes and slap it into a 9" pie plate. You bake that and the tomaters (on their own separate cookie sheet) in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the taters get brown. Turn the heat down to 350 after that.

The tomaters will be roasted. For the love of god, be careful when opening the foil packet or you'll LOSE YOUR HAND.
 (So purty.)
DON'T TOSS THE BUTTER PAN! You're gonna need it. Return it to medium heat and put the bacon in the butter SKIL-LET:
Then make it look like THIS:
Yeah. That's Nice.

Then you add your diced veggies to the bacon butter pan.
PS: EVERYONE needs a bacon butter pan.

Once those are soft, you take those, and the now chopped up bacon, and the roasted tomaters, and add them to the rest of the stuff in the recipe (the eggs, cheese, half and half).

You get a quiche orgy:
(Please note my lack of thumb nail. Nice.)
Throw the quiche orgy into the hash brown crust and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is brown and puffy.

There. Done.

Thanks for the memories, Old Paula Deen.

PPS. Don't use a springform (read: cheesecake) pan for this. Turns out when you pour the orgy into the pan to bake, the orgy ends up spilling its love all over your kitchen floor. Eeewww.

Eat the love,