Since I’ve been eating healthier, I’ve been cooking more. I’ve also been scouring my recipe files looking for some old favorites to resurrect.
The first recipe was one my mom cooked every now and then, because my dad and I favored her brown lentil soup with kielbasa. This was the soup she made for herself, a lunch treat that over the years I came to love. I found it in her files, long forgotten, but as soon as I saw the name, it brought back memories of my mom and me, devouring our big bowls of soup with some crusty French bread.
The second recipe has been my favorite was to cook chicken – or turkey – since I stopped stuffing the bird about a decade ago. I love how the citrus and onions flavor the poultry, adding a freshness and moistness I find lacking in far too many birds. And yes, it has butter in the recipe, an ingredient I favor over any of the chemicals spreads most of America devours. I also used to use all butter, but now half the amount with extra-virgin olive oil. Everything in moderation.
And the third recipe is from Dr. Andrew Weil, and makes a terrific lunch -- although be sure to have a toothbrush handy. It is pretty garlicky! It would also be wonderful served as a side to the lentil soup.
COCONUT RED LENTIL SOUP
1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tblsp. fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 Tblsp. curry powder
2 Tblsp. coconut or olive oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
Place peas and lentils in a large strainer and rinse well.
Place in large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1 quarter of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.
In a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until you begin to smell its fragrance. Be warned: the curry will burn easily if not watched carefully.Set aside.
Place oil in a pan over medium heat, add half the scallions, the rest of the ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the tomato paste and saute for another minute.
Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until it reaches the consistency you want. If you want it thick, cook a bit more; thinner, add a bit more water, a little at a time.
Sprinkle the soup with cilantro and remaining scallions just before serving. Makes 6 servings.
ROASTED CHICKEN WITH ORANGE, LEMON AND GINGER
1 roasting chicken, about 4-6 pounds
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 Tblsp. finely chopped parsley
1 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tblsp. softened butter
1 Tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tblsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and dry the chicken; remove the giblets.
Grate the orange and lemon rinds into a bowl.
Halve the fruit and squeeze the orange to extract the juice; add more if necessary to make the 1/2 cup. Squeeze the lemon to make the 2 tablespoons of juice. Mix the orange and lemon juices together and set aside.
Place the fruit inside the cavity of the chicken.
To the bowl of citrus peels, add the onion, celery, parsley, ginger, butter, olive oil and honey. Mix the ingredients until well blended. Rub onto all sides of the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast another 15 minutes. Pour the reserved juices over the chicken and roast another 15 minutes. Turn chicken breast side up. Continue to roast, basting occasionally, for another 45-60 minutes or until fully cooked (a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees. Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices. Makes 6 servings.
TURKISH SPINACH SALAD
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed, stems removed
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
5 Tblsp. plain nonfat yogurt
2 Tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dry the spinach, tear it into large pieces, and combine it with the tomatoes and scallions in a bowl.
Combine the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, and thyme, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Add the yogurt mixture to the vegetables and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 118 calories; 8g total fat (1g sat); 1mg cholesterol; 10g carbohydrate; 5g protein; 4g fiber; 150mg sodium