January 10, 2012

Rained In

I knew today would be a rainy, stormy day but I didn't realize how bad it would turn out to be. The roads surrounding me were flooded, therefore stranding me indoors all day. I guess I could have braved the storm and drove to work but being a bad driver in normal conditions, I wasn't gonna push it. 


I had an unexpected day to myself and decided to enjoy the rainy day with a return to baking. After a baking frenzy last month, I was on a short hiatus. I think I'm a lil shocked at my choice of baked good today: Ginger Bars from the Eat Boutique blog. I stumbled upon this recipe a few days ago and they looked so good that I didn't care that gingerbread and Christmas were so last month. I anticipated soft cookie bars and I got soft cookie bars! Yum! They were a lil on the spicy side but I'm thinking maybe I'm a lil sensitive to the molasses-cloves-ginger combo. And I did think they were a lil out of place, being a few weeks after Christmas...oops! I'll have to wait until next December to make these again and maybe tone down the spices.
Rainy days also equal soup days. Anything warm and comforting is good even though it is in the 60s here in Houston. Since it's a new year, I thought I'd try out a new food: Kale. So far, I have only made this Lemon Kale Pasta. When I asked Twin Sista for recommendations on what else to make with my kale, she mentioned that Kale + White Beans + Sausage is a good combo in soup. So I went over to my favorite recipe website, Cookstr.com, to see what recipes they could offer me that included kale. Immediately, I found Lentil Soup with Kale and Sausage. Hooray!

I changed the recipe around to make it a non-vegetarian soup. Luckily, I had sausage, lentils and chicken broth on hand so I could make this soup easily. I was a lil worried, as I usually am with new recipes, but this soup turned out super tasty. Can't wait for leftovers tomorrow. 
Lentil Soup with Kale and Sausage adapted from David Ricketts's recipe on Cookstr.com
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
8 ounces Italian-style sausage
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped kale or collard greens, or half of a 16-ounce bag
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup frozen corn 
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Directions: 
1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. If sausage is wrapped in casing, discard casing. Crumble sausage into the saucepan, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add broth, kale, lentils and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Stir in corn and salt and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan before serving. You can even add in a splash of balsamic vinegar into soup. 

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