Good Things Lentil-Tomato Soup with Bok Choy and Lemon

This past week I often wondered “is it me?” or “is it them?” when pondering the roller coaster world of photo shoots. To put it mildly this past week was one for the books in all ways. I am still reeling a bit from the drama, the multitudes on all the various sets, the daily mental Rorschach test I needed to do to keep things balanced. Do you have weeks like that?

Along with “the crazy” there are some very good things afoot….one good this weekend is that we “spring forward”into Daylight Savings time and I, for one, love it when I get that extra hour of natural light at the end of the day.  It was also International Women’s Day this past week. I hope you celebrated all the great women in your lives… mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends, every last one.  Another good thing was I made comforting, healthy, warm and cozy lentil soup. When the going gets tough, the tough make soup! Soup and laughter can get you through a lot.

Red Lentils, tomatoes, broth, chopped fresh bok chop, lemon juice all cooked together with some herbs served piping hot with an additional squeeze of fresh lemon and toasted baguette slices. Easy, quick and cozy.

Lentils are full of good things as well. An edible legume, they are rich in complex carbohydrates which will boost metabolism and help burn body fat. The are a good source of fiber, low in fat and are good sources of folate and magnesium. Lentils are gluten-free as well. You can have a pot of lentils ready to eat in about 30 minutes more or less which is another good thing.

The lemons add a wonderful flavor layer to this soup which is a cross of tomato soup and lentil soup with a bok choy twist. Enjoy. I you  have leftover, freeze for later. It’s nice to have some good things ready and waiting for when the days get tough!

Good Things Lentil-Tomato Soup with Bok Choy and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of dried red lentils (or any other)
  • 1 can of cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 to 3 cups water as needed
  • 1 bunch of bok choy, trimmed and chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • toasted baguette slices for serving

Directions:

  1. Rinse lentils well in mesh strainer. Place in a stock pot.
  2. Add can of tomatoes with juice, garlic cloves, broth and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer. Cook, stirring every now and then, until lentils are just beginning to soften, 20 minutes or so. Add water as lentils cook if needed.
  3. Stir in chopped bok choy and cook for another 10 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve piping hot in bowls with lemon wedges for squeezing into soup and toasted baguette slices.
  5. Note: You can freeze leftovers for later if you like or enjoy for lunches later in the week.

Teresa Blackburn.    www. teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Spring Green Tonics

“Spring Tonic”

To celebrate Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox

On the third Thursday evening of each month I attend a dinner hosted by friends, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins. It is appropriately called “Third Thursday” and is a potluck dinner party made up of many folks whose common love of interesting, healthy, local foods is the common thread.

March’s Third Thursday Dinner fell on St. Patrick’s Day. As you can imagine there were lots of dishes honoring “green”. Spinach, green beans, basil, avocado dishes were plentiful. For this occasion I created a “Spring Tonic”.  With cucumbers & lime juice as the main ingredients this “tonic” was the essence of “all things green”.

This tonic is easy to make, beautiful, refreshing, not too sweet and is like drinking a glass of spring.

What you will need:

To make approximately 1/2 gallon of Spring Tonic:

About 8 fresh cucumbers, 5 or 6 limes juiced, a piece of fresh ginger, 1 to 1.5 cups of raw sugar, 2 to 3 cups of your favorite white rum, about 1 cup of Midori liqueur and seltzer water or club soda. (Adjust to taste as you mix.)

Trim and peel cucumbers. Scrape seeds out with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place in food processor. You may have to do this in batches. Process until cucumbers are pureed with no chunks. Pour puree into a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth or into a fine sieve sitting over a bowl to catch the cucumber juice. Use a rubber scraper to press the puree through the cheesecloth to get out most of the liquid.

When finished you should have about 3 cups of liquid.

This color of green is so beautiful like spring grass.

To make Gingered Simple Syrup: Peel ginger & cut into slices. Place ginger pieces, raw sugar + 1.2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat to cool.

As I was taking my Spring Tonic to a dinner party I made labels for two 1 qt containers to share the ingredients with guests.

To mix Spring Tonic:

Into each 1 quart container add half of the Cucumber liquid, half of the Midori, half of the fresh Lime Juice, half of the Gingered Simple Syrup with ginger pieces & half of the White Rum. Stir mixture in each container until well mixed. Cover and chill until ready to drink.

To Drink: Place ice in a glass, pour in some Spring Tonic & add a splash of seltzer water, club soda or mineral water with gas.

 

 

….. evening of greens….

While concocting your own “Spring Tonic” you could enjoy some music by the band “Tonic”. Check them out on itunes for a listen.

 

Herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being.
“get your motor running….drink Spring tonics!”