Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keeping hunger and the Boy at bay!

My new paradigm of weekday cooking:
1-racing after work to pick up C-boy at daycare before their clock starts ticking at their usurious rate of a ten spot for every five minutes late (like the college tuition I'm already paying them shouldn't buy me some fucking leeway)
2-stopping at the market to shop, hoping said boy maintains composure at the store as hunger and cranky end-of-the-day tiredness start to encroach on his usually sunny disposition
3-getting home, plopping him on his play mat while I whip out some homemade babyfood to stuff in his starting-to-scowl piehole
4-stuffing C-boy's piehole
5-doing dinner prep and cooking while he sits on the kitchen floor playing with various cooking utensils and plots new forms of parental torment to draw me away from the task at hand, which is making something to stuff in our pieholes after he-who-must-be-served goes to bed.

Is it any wonder that my new cooking life revolves around fast and easy? If I can throw in delicious then that's icing on the cake. Which is why this soup I cadged off of epicurious was so satisfying. With a couple of refinements (i.e.- adding more flavoring ingredients/less liquid) we ended up with a belly warming and palate tingling bowl of goodness, which along with its ease of prep drops it near the top of my list of do-overs. Plus should your soul need some warming on a cold winter evening, this does the trick beautifully!
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Curried Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

The cilantro oil listed is optional, but really adds a nice pop, both visually and taste-wise, to the curry.- bb

yield: Makes 4 main course servings
active Time: 25 min/ Total Time: 1 1/4 hr

ingredients :
For soup:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
2-1/2 tablespoons curry powder (a mix of 2 or 3 different curry powders really builds complexity if you can swing it)
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
16 oz. water
16 oz. chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

For cilantro oil:
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup vegetable oil

accompaniment: cooked basmati rice

Make soup:
Heat oil with butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
Add lentils and water and stock and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Make cilantro oil:
While soup simmers, purée cilantro, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender.
Serve soup over rice, drizzled with cilantro oil.


Lucas said...

I'm afraid to say it only gets worse from here.Dinner out now means Red Robin at 4:45, or if we're feeling fancy, a McMenamins. It really is scary how demanding kids can be. I bet you drink wine for different reasons now.

bb said...

Lucas....not really for different reasons, just more of it! Totally hear you.....