Coconut Basil French Green Lentil Soup

This soup is a “warming of the soul” kind of soup, with its subtle flavors of Indian spice.  The fresh basil, cilantro and lime gives it a nice fresh depth of flavor.

Coconut-Milk-and-Basil-French-Green-Lentil-Soup

This is a versatile soup.  You can leave it as is or puree it with the kale, basil and cilantro or puree and add them after.  You could also puree half and mix it back in.

French-Green-Lentil-Soup-with-Coconut-Milk-and-Basil

I like this soup with a dry or ever slightly sweet white wine like a Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or a white Rioja.

French-Green-Lentil-Coconut-Milk-and-Basil-Soup

Recipe: 6 – 8 Servings

  • 2 Cups French Green Lentils
  • 8 Cups Filtered Water (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced or pressed
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Bullion Cube – unsalted (omit if using vegetable stock)
  • 1 Tablespoon Turmeric
  • 1Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Gram Marsala
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayanne Pepper
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk – full fat
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Basil – or to taste- minced
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro – or to taste- minced
  • 2 Cups Kale – about 6 leaves – rib removed, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice – or to taste
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper – or to taste

Instructions:

In a large 5 1/2 quart pot, add the lentils, rinse thoroughly and strain.  Add the lentils back to the pot, add the water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium for 20 – 25 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy.

 While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic stirring frequently until onions are soft and translucent and the garlic is slightly caramelized, about 10 – 12 minutes.

 Add the bullion and wine; reduce until wine is syrupy about 2 minutes.

Add onion mixture to the pot of lentils and add the spices, coconut milk, basil, cilantro, kale (wash the kale and tear off main rib by holding the end of the stem and sliding off the leaves then chop in to thin strips), lime, salt and pepper.

 Bring to a boil then turn down to medium and cook another 10 minutes, or until hot.

_Green-Lentil-Coconut-Milk-and-Basil-Soup

Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Mexican Style Lime Poblano Roasted Potatoes

These potatoes are so flavor packed and a perfect side dish for any Mexican inspired meal!

Robby can’t get enough of my Greek style roasted potatoes and we both absolutely love Mexican food so I thought why not try a Mexican style roasted potatoes.  Let me tell you, they are outstanding.

I had a Verdejo from the Rueda region of Spain, which was delicious!  It would also pair well with a white Rioja, Pinot Noir or a light Mexican beer.

Recipe: 4 – 6 Servings
  • 2 1/2 lb. Yukon Potatoes – (about 5 medium sized)

Marinade

  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (about 2 /1/2 )
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White or Rose` Wine
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Red Onion – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt

Cheese mix

  • 1/2 Cup Queso Fresca Cheese – crumbled
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted and diced
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeño – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro Leaves – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garnish options

  • Cilantro chopped and added to the top
  • Queso Fresca
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Avacado

Instructions:

Cut the potatoes into small cubes and place in cold filtered water until marinade is made

Make the marinade, in a jar measure all ingredients, mince garlic and onion and mix together

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

In a 9′ by 13 inch glass baking dish mix the marinade with the potatoes, stirring to coat all the potatoes

Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes (always use a timer)

While potatoes are baking roast the poblano peppers

Mix the queso fresca mixture by breaking the queso fresca up with a fork then stir in remaining ingredients and put in the refrigerator

When the timer goes off carefully take the potatoes out of the oven and stir well then put back into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 more minutes

When the potatoes have cooked the full hour take out of the oven

Mix in the queso fresca mixture into the potatoes and put back into the oven on the very top rack and bake for 20 more minutes.

You can also prepare the potatoes the day before and bake the last 20 minutes when you plan to eat them (You may need to bake for 30 minutes if they are fresh out of the refrigerator to get them hot enough).

Mince the cilantro and sprinkle on top of each serving

* I often make the marinade, roast the peppers and make the cheese mix the day before

Holiday Persimmon Mule

My son thought these were tomatoes; well they are kind of like a tomato. Similarly “persimmons are not popularly considered to be berries, but in terms of botanical morphology the fruit is in fact a berry.

The ripe persimmon fruit has a high glucose content. The protein content is low, but it has a balanced protein profile. Persimmon fruits have been put to various medicinal and chemical uses”. (Thank You Wikipedia) ;P

HolidayPerssimonMule

I thought ginger would taste good with the mellow sweet flavors of the persimmon and then this cocktail was born as a take on the classic Moscow Mule.

HolidayPerssimonMule.

 I know I could drink plenty of these spritzy delicious refreshing beverages at any holiday function especially any of my family get togethers.

 

Recipe: Makes 1 Cocktail                                                                                                  

  •  2oz Hangar Mandarin Vodka
  • 2oz Persimmon Ginger Puree
  • 1/4oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2oz Sparkling Soda Water
  • Slice of Fresh Fuyu Persimmon

Glass:  Copper Mug or Jar

Garnish:  Fresh Sliced Persimmon

Profile: Original inspired by classic

 

Instructions:

In a mule mug or mug of your choice add ice, vodka, ginger puree, lemon juice and top with soda water.

Garnish and serve

*Persimmon Ginger Puree:  Makes approx. 8oz.

  • 3/4 Cup Purified Water
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Raw Sugar
  • 2 Fuyu Persimmons~peeled & chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger~peeled & diced
  • 1 Vanilla Bean ~ cut down the middle
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Instructions: 

In a small saucepan on medium heat add purified water once it is hot add sugar, stir until sugar is completely dissolved

Turn heat to low, add chopped persimmons, fresh ginger, vanilla bean and cinnamon

Cook for 45 minutes or until persimmons are mushy

Set aside and cool

Take vanilla bean out of puree,  add the mixture to a food processor or blender and finely puree

Using fine mesh strainer strain out the solids reserving the syrup

Roasted Jalapeno Poblano Pesto

This pesto has so much flavor with a serious punch of spiciness!

Roasted-Jalapeno-Poblano-Pesto

I made this pesto with a cheese from Spain called Queso Iberico.  It is made from a mixture of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk.  It is a fairly rich cheese that is nutty and slightly sweet.  If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it!  It is great on a cheese platter.

 I ate this pesto with some walnuts, crackers and Mahón cheese.  Mahón cheese also comes from Spain and is a delightful creamy cheese. The skin is bright orange from being rubbed with butter or oil and paprika.  I love how the saltiness comes from the sea salt content in the grasses that the cows eat.

This pesto is also great on sandwiches or tossed in a salad.

Roasted-Jalapeno-and-Poblano-Pesto

I like this with a bubbly wine like Cava, Prosecco or a sparkling Rosé.

Roasted-Poblano-Jalapeno-Pesto

Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted
  • 3 Jalapeño Peppers – roasted
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Iberico Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

Instructions:

 Roast the poblano pepper on the stove and the jalapeno peppers in the oven.

Let peppers cool and de-stem and de-seed

Finely shred the cheese and measure all ingredients then put everything in a food processor or blender and puree

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