Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blueberry Mint Lemonade

Bipolar Southern Californian weather has us burrito-ed up one week to wearing shorts and a tank in another. Well, what better way to cool off on a hot day than a nice cold glass of lemonade. This is just a quick post and simple recipe for you to try this week which I'm sure you'll appreciate in this blistering weather. I actually first saw this recipe on Pinterest and the original poster is "A Crimson Kiss." It looked really yummy, so I decided to try making it at my food blog photoshoot with Sachiko Studio. Of course, with the help of my boyfriend, the sous chef of the day. Unfortunately we had a bunch of things to prepare and did not get around to making the lemonade until the last minute. It became really hectic during the last hour so I left the task to him. Funny thing is, it took him ten minutes to make a single glass; he says it's cause we didn't have a pitcher... Just so you know, it's not supposed to take that long!  Word of advice, make this in advance in a giant pitcher and put it in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

Blueberry Mint Lemonade
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
lemon slices for garnish

1. Juice the lemons into a large pitcher and add the sugar and water. If you use, granulated sugar it may be a good idea to melt the sugar in some warm water so it is not all gritty.
2. Throw the juiced lemons and mint leaves into the mixture and muddle up the lemon peels and mint. (The flavor is much better if you do this!)
3. Add the blueberries, garnish with a lemon slice, and some more mint leaves, and serve. (Make ahead and let the mixture sit for the flavors to develop more.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lentil Soup

After being in college for four years of my life, it is inevitable that routine starts to form. One habit that I made was that I would always get the soup and salad combo from Veggie Grill before a big exam. One of my favorite items was their lentil soup, only served on Thursdays! What made it so elusive was that it's nearly impossible to copy their recipe; you can't really tell what ingredients are in it since it's pureed into a homogeneous mixture. I also searched the internet for it to no avail. Alas, the recipe is a mystery. I still love lentil soup though so I decided to try other recipes. Funny thing is, the soup here doesn't really follow any of the recipes available online. The reason being I did not have all the ingredients needed for any particular recipe so I just tossed in what I thought might taste good. Well, it worked. What I love about this recipe most is that it's reminiscent of the Veggie Grill lentil soup from my college days. The trick to this soup is to stir, stir, stir! It has a tendency to stick. Anyways, it's been cold lately so I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Eat this with some fresh bread for a simple meal or maybe even a side of salad.

Thanks again Sachiko Studio for the amazing pictures!

Lentil Soup
2 cups red lentils
2 cans chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large brown onion, diced
2 large carrots
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 pound can of tomatoes with basil, pued
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch of marjorham
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt for garnish

1. Dice the brown the onion and tomatoes, set aside.
2. In a food processor, chop up the carrots. Alternatively, you can chop the carrots by hand.
3. In a large pot with some olive oil, saute the onions until they are half translucent. Add the carrots and saute until the onions are soft.
4. Add the diced tomato, tomato pue, chicken broth, water, herbs and spices, and red lentils. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft, stirring frequently to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Let the soup cool. 
5. When the soup is cool, pue the soup until smooth. Reheat the soup and serve. Garnish the soup with some plain yogurt to make it extra tasty.