• Curried Red Lentil Soup

    Curried Red Lentil Soup

    Curried Red Lentil Soup

    Happy Monday! Happy MLK Day! And Happy Inaugural! We hope everyone enjoys the long weekend (for those who have it). Meanwhile, we always enjoy long weekends as an excuse to cook and visit with friends. Saturday we had a lovely evening with friends and Sunday we got to cook this soup, and we are glad we did. We wanted to play with red lentils for some time and after enjoying this soup, we only wish that we had done it sooner.

    curry2curry4We are big fans of lentils, but usually cook with the brown / green French lentils and in more Mediterranean-influenced dishes. But lentils are also a staple of south Asian cuisine, so we bought some red lentils and pulled out this soup recipe with red lentils with a strong dose of curry and ginger. The soup is a real winner, combining earthy flavor from the lentils, the warm and cool notes of the ginger, sweet coconut milk and the deep spice of the curry. Add a little dried fruit and/or nuts and you have a complete, and very satisfying, meal. So good, both our boys liked it the first time out.

    curry6curry8curry9The recipe comes from Martha Stewart, but we do add some extra flavor and simplify the process somewhat. Making the soup is as easy as dicing ginger and aromatics, softening them with the curry, adding the lentils and simmering with water and coconut milk. But there is one caveat, you do need to blend this soup. You can use an immersion blender if you have one (this is the easy way), or ladling the soup into a blender, but you must purée the soup. The issue is the use of fresh ginger. It adds flavor, but the fibrous chucks of ginger are very unappealing if you take a bite of one. Puree the soup. It is a bit of a fuss, but very much worth it.

    curry10curry11curry12 Continue reading

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  • Quail Hill Farm: CSA? Heaven? Both?

    Flower at Quail Hill CSA.

    The rules.

    While we miss our own farm, it is hard to be sad here on the east end of Long Island. We are on some of the best farmland in the world, next to some of the best beaches in the world. And where you don’t have vacation homes, you still see many productive farms. And farm stands selling fresh produce are just about everywhere. The corn, potatoes, zucchini, squash, berries and stone fruit are all great this year. Yum.

    Today’s lineup.

    Your map.

    But there is one very special farm, Quail Hill, that is more than just some tasty produce. It shows the true potential of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to benefit an entire community. Quail Hill is a CSA on 30 acres of donated land and is supported by over 200 member families. The member families pay for a share of the produce and harvest a few times a week (anyone can visit, you just can’t harvest). The staff run the farm and have an apprentice program to educate future farmers. Farmland is preserved, new farmers are trained, families get access to a “real” farm. Oh, and the produce is awesome. Good land, great weather and hard work get you a good crop.

    Garlic for the taking.

    Fennel. We caramelized this and served with the steamed clams. Good match.

    Lots of squash and zucchini.

    While we aren’t members, our friends Chad and Monica are, and we got to visit for a Tuesday harvest. The farm is beautiful and bucolic, but also a place of work. Everything at the farm is there for a reason. While many people (including us) wax poetic about growing food, somebody has to spend some time in the dirt. But it is certainly good dirt. Good dirt makes a good farm. We will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

    Huge herb garden- take what you need.

    The herbs for the steamed clams.

    Orchard- mostly stone fruit.

    Peaches.

    Rows of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and eggplant.

    A little of the weekly haul. Continue reading