…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
I know moderation is the way to go for a healthy life. The problem is, I’m lousy at it. I’m an “all-or-nothing” kinda gal. I dabble in extremes–I was a vegetarian for nearly 13 years, and I was tyrannical about it. I was vegan for two of those years, and it is impossible to describe how awesome it was to date me…(at a nice restaurant) *impatient sigh* “Umm, I guess I’ll just have some fries and a salad. Is there any parmesan in your house dressing?” *eye roll*
Anyway, I’ve been back on the carnivore trip for about eight years now. But a good deal of the time, I go back to my vegan ways–and I drag my family along with me. I know my way around a lentil, and I’m a tofu ninja–but I also have two types of homemade bacon in my freezer. We’ll do vegetarian/vegan for a few weeks, and then we’ll spend a few days supping on tender, perfectly seasoned, medium-rare roast beef with a side of mashed potatoes served with a pat of butter under the rich, shimmering gravy…or crispy, spicy, chicken wings…or a sandwich stuffed with oozy cheeses, roasted meat, topped with a fried egg.
I can’t buy into Meatless Monday–I love the concept, but sometimes we’re eating leftovers on a Monday, and sometimes those leftovers are meat. Good for you if you can make a go of it, I’ll just stick to eating vegan and clean on a whole lot of other days.
Some people love fall for pumpkin-spice offerings. Not me. I love fall for sweet potatoes and soups. Here, I combine both:
This isn’t a true recipe, so bear with me…
Take some sweet potatoes (I used three medium), peel them, quarter them, and put them in a medium pot and cover with water and a hefty pinch of salt (use veggie stock if you wish).
Add some red lentils (I used about 1/2 cup)
Throw in a tablespoon or so of your favorite chili paste or sauce (I used kochujang–which is a Korean variety). Sriracha would be tasty, too.
I also added some fresh minced ginger (because I had some leftover from another dish) and about a teaspoon of turmeric. Add what you have and what you like–curry powder would be tasty, garlic, onion–whatever is in your pantry. Simmer it covered for about 30 minutes. Use a hand blender (or regular blender) to make it smooth, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add some water if it is too thick for you.
In my opinion, the way to take a soup from pretty good to stellar is with garnishes. I’m not talking about pretty cut-outs or a leaf of savoy cabbage that gets shoved to the side. I’m talking about enhancers–this stuff makes soups amazing.
Below, I used some minced red onion, a few sprigs of cilantro, and some chilled coconut milk (if you get the good stuff, it firms up to a spoonable consistency in the fridge.) It looks pretty cool this way, but it is definitely easier to simply stir some into your finished soup. Use sour cream if you don’t have or don’t like coconut milk. Yogurt works, too–even buttermilk.
Make it on a Sunday, and you have enough for a couple of lunches during the week (it reheats really well in the microwave at work) or double the recipe and have it for dinner.
I’m not too proud to admit that when I had this soup for lunch, I later fed the kids some lentil burgers, and then I had some gin and popcorn for dinner in front of the TV. From one pendulum swing to the other; that’s how this gal does moderation.