Wintery French Lentil Soup with Beef, Carrots, Sherry Vinegar

Wintery French Lentil Soup with Beef, Carrots, Sherry Vinegar, Parmesan, Cilantro

Wintery French Lentil Soup with Beef and Carrots
Sherry Vinegar, Parmesan, Cilantro

Chase away those winter blues with a hearty healthy cold-weather soup. Quick and easy preparation plus wholesome ingredients make this soup a shining star. And as a bonus, eating lentils in the new year is said to bring luck and prosperity.

This lentil soup is a bit different from the traditional, as ground beef, French lentils, and carrots share the stage equally. A drizzle of sherry vinegar adds that bright sharp counter-balance to the rich soup and earthy lentils. Cilantro brings fresh herbal notes while cumin and chile powder add warm spice overtones. A generous dusting of grated Parmesan adds the nutty components. This simple, humble soup actually has a complex flavor profile.

Wintery French Lentil Soup Recipe

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Entertain with Panache

fish in parchment, saffron cream sauce

Black Cod en Papillote
Red Lentils & Leek, Carrot, Yellow Squash, Zucchini
Saffron Cream Sauce

Recently we gave a local upscale restaurant another chance. The place has a spectacular view of the Pacific and a bold imaginative menu. Unfortunately, though pleasant enough, the service misses the mark lacking attention to detail. And while there is nothing wrong with the food per se, the kitchen cannot seem to execute the dishes that sound so wonderful. They arrive at the table lacking finesse and vibrancy. One of the items that sounded promising was a seabass en papillote. The concept was terrific but the dish sadly, was just average, which then prompted me to recreate it at home.

This Black Cod en Papillote turns out to be a fabulous dish for entertaining with panache. All the components can be prepped ahead of time, just let everything come to room temperature, assemble on the parchment paper, crimp, and bake. Simply lift the packets from the baking sheet to the dinner plate. Serve warm saffron cream sauce on the side. The uniqueness of serving the entire main course in parchment plus the addition of a fresh green salad makes this a delightful meal to serve to company.

I like to use a fish with high fat content for baking in parchment. Since the wrapped fish cannot be checked for doneness without opening the package, the fat offers a buffer against overcooking. Black cod is a certified sustainable seafood and also excellent for this preparation. Its silky rich meat with a distinctive sweet flavor and flaky texture is perfect cooked “en papillote.”

Cooking fish and vegetables en papillote is traditional, but it’s the red lentils that provide a surprising layer of flavor and texture, perfect for soaking up the juices. In the sealed package the flavors and perfume of the four vegetables – carrots, leeks, yellow squash and zucchini – mingle with the cod. Finally, the saffron cream sauce is an adaptation from vegan Chef Tal Ronnen. It is dairy-free and has no cholesterol. Just a couple tablespoons add a bright exotic note. It can be made ahead, and gently reheated.

Black Cod en Papillote Recipe

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Poached Salmon, Lobster Mash, Lentil Gumbo “Gravy”

poached salmon, lobster mash, lentil gravy

Court Bouillon Poached Fresh Salmon
Lobster Mashed Potatoes with Butter and Chives
Gumbo “Gravy” with French Lentils

A piece of fish, mashed potatoes & gravy. On steroids. Inspired by the extraordinary marriage of Lobster Fettuccine with Gumbo Sauce, this dish features buttery lobster mashed potatoes paired with a flavorful seafood-based gumbo “gravy” flecked with earthy French lentils. Fresh salmon filets are poached in a court bouillon, imbuing the fish with subtle lemony herbaceous qualities and a silky texture. The robust flavors and extravagant ingredients remake the everyday combination of fish & potatoes into a voluptuous meal.

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Grilled Swordfish, Lentils with Truffle Oil

Grilled Fresh Swordfish
Steamed Lentils, Tossed with Herbs and Truffle Oil
Grilled Tomato

Simple, Yet Sublime
  • Fresh swordfish, grilled over medium high heat, still perfectly moist, with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Warm steamed lentils, seasoned and gently tossed with white truffle oil and freshly sniped basil, dill, and parsley
  • Grilled heirloom tomatoes
I am submitting this dish to The Well-Seasoned Cook’s monthly Legume Love Affair Event hosted this month by Lucy of Nourish Me blog. I also want to thank Marie, the Proud Italian Cook, for the idea to grill tomatoes which added another layer of flavor.
Tomorrow, the Sun will be directly over the equator, at 11:44:18 A.M. EDT, to be precise. Happy Autumn! We’ll be looking forward to Thanksgiving here, and to cooking all the wonderful fall dishes. Also wishing my blogger friends in the Southern Hemisphere a Happy Springtime as well!

Rise & Shine! Poached Egg, Lentils, Béarnaise


Steamed seasoned lentils topped with a poached egg and béarnaise. I refer to Yann Chef of Food Lorists for fabulous sauce recipes, this one included. Thanks Yann!

This breakfast/brunch dish is my contribution to “My Legume Love Affair” Event by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook Blog. Do you have a legume dish to share? You can join in through February 9th.