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

“Damn! It’s Hot Sangria with a Cold Rose’ & St. Germain”

DSC_1704

Hello July! Hello cloying humidity! Hello heat!

No ovens, no stove-tops, crock-pots or any other sort of heat inducing machines…just ice cold Rose’ Wine, a splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur,  lemons and  cucumbers. You will stay hydrated, eat your vegetables, cool down with my ready-for-the-4th of July “Damn! It’s Hot Sangria!”

DSC_1416

A giant glass jar is a fine thing to have around for mixing and conjuring.

DSC_1431

DSC_1433

Drink up…you deserve a cool down…you’ve worked hard. Enjoy the long weekend with friends and family and some Sangria!

Listen to this while you mix and mingle or just want to dance around the house alone while you sip…..St. Germain, Tourist “Rose Rouge”…hot jazz, cool drink!

DSC_1692

Damn! It's Hot Sangria

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

DSC_1703

Ingredients:

  • One bottle of good really chilled Rose Wine
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup, or to taste, St. Germain
  • Thinly sliced lemons
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Lots of ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large glass jar or pitcher and serve.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Citrus & Thyme Soppin’ Good Roasted Spring Chicken

springchicken

Dear Readers, Lest you think that I, Food on Fifth, sit around my kitchen all day eating tartlets, upside down cakes, spoon breads and pound cakes I am branching out this week.  As it is Spring here in Nashville in the best and most perfect sense of the word I am sharing our dinner from a week or so ago, a juicy citrus & thyme roasted chicken. A fresh, bright flavor due to all the citrus, very crispy skin, lots of juice in the bottom of the pan served alongside a freshly baked baguette from flour.sugar.eggs. for soppin’ & a bowl of lightly dressed arugula….an easy Spring dinner…oh my, so good.

Here is what you will need:

a good quality, Plump Roasting Chicken (I got this beauty from my local                        CSA, “Fresh Harvest”. This is just the best as you can choose what you want each week, order & pay online and the variety of choices is just astounding…meats, vegs, flowers, cheeses, bread, eggs…all organically grown from farms in the Nashville, TN area.)

 Whole Fresh Citrus – mandarins, oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, whatever you have + 1/2 cup Orange Juice & 1/4 cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Fresh Thyme Leaves (I have a Lemon Thyme in my garden so I used that.)

A few whole, peeled roasted garlic cloves & shallots

Olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper

DSC_7024

Here is what to do:

1. Wash chicken inside and out under cool running water. Pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Cut citrus into halves & chunks. Slice one lemon thinly.

2. Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Using your fingers (gloves if you prefer) gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken & insert a few lemon slices & thyme sprigs under the skin. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the shallots, a few sprigs of thyme & chunks of citrus. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the skin with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper & fresh thyme leaves.

 DSC_7028DSC_7031

DSC_7033

3. Place all the citrus pieces around the chicken along with the garlic cloves & thyme sprigs. Pour the orange juice & lemon juice into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicken part of the breast reads 165 degrees. I basted the chicken every so often with the pan juices.

DSC_7048

Serve pieces of chicken with some of the pan juices & roasted citrus, a crusty baguette for soppin’ and a simple arugula salad.

Oh My, Hello Spring!

“Easy-to-Make Simple Syrups” Holiday Gifts, E.A.T. #15

cocktails with simple syrups

Time fleets….gift-giving season is here…just a perusal of Etsy or Scoutmob makes it very clear that home-made, hand-made and diy gifts are the “thing”. With that in mind here is a final, very easy-as-this gift idea for all your food friends. Make one or make them all, it only takes an afternoon in your kitchen, and it really will put you in a holiday mood. I promise!

“Beet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup” chilled with a splash of white rum or drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a sugar cookie? “Cranberry & Orange” with white wine anyone? “Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” added to a cup of relaxing hot tea with a slice of lime? Or maybe an “Apple, Habanero & Mint” with Seltzer & fruit ice cubes for a non-alcoholic pick-me-up?

Simple syrups

From Top Left clockwise: “Fresh Beet & Ginger”, “Gala Apple, Habanero & Mint”, “Cranberry Orange” and “Very Lemon Thyme” simple syrups.

The process of each syrup is the same. It is as “easy-as-this”.

Basic Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup water (liquid) + 1 cup sugar, a 1-1 ratio

“Cranberry & Orange Simple Syrup” – 1 lb fresh cranberries, the peel & juice from one orange, 2 cups water + 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer, stirring often until mixture thickens & sugar has melted. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

Cranberry Orange Simple SyrupCranberry & Orange Simple Syrup

“Apple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup” – Using same process as above just add 2 chopped apples,  1/2 tsp. finely chopped Habanero pepper (wear gloves!) & 1/2 cup mint leaves to pan.

Apple, Habanero & mint simple syrupApple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup

“Fresh Beet Juice & Ginger Root Simple Syrup” – (I had cooked some fresh beets in water for another recipe..the color was just fantastic, I tasted it and it was really sweet and delicious…a simple syrup came of this happy accident.)  2 cups fresh beet juice + 1/4 cup peeled & sliced fresh ginger + 1 tbsp lemon peel simmered with 2 cups sugar made one really great syrup!

Beet Juice & Ginger Simple SyrupBeet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup

“Very Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” – the peel of 2 lemons, 1 tsp lemon extract or syrup + a handful of fresh thyme. Same process, subtle flavors.

Lemon & Thyme Simple SyrupLemon Thyme Simple Syrup

How to Bottle or Jar:

After syrups have cooled completely strain each through a fine sieve. Wash & dry bottles or jars with lids.

DSC_4856DSC_4851

strained simple syrup

Pour strained liquids into prepared bottles or jars. I, once again, got out my stash of bottles, caps & bottle capper (all from All Seasons here in Nashville) to decant my simple syrups into.

bottles of simple syrups

The apple has a hint of pink, the beet a deep red-burgundy, the lemon light & yellow, and the cranberry a clear red.

It is as “easy-as-that”.

DSC_5111

have fun! life is not perfect.