Cottage Cooking Club – January 2016

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Oh, January, you are the month of good intentions. This post represents one of mine – since I was so tardy posting last month’s CCC entry, I thought I’d post early this time around.

Late winter can start to feel like a march through a string of lacklustre meals until spring’s vegetables rescue us, but meals with warm spices and good quality canned or frozen vegetables can cure that ennui. These meals are certainly perking us up this week.

Curried red lentil soup

Lentil Soup

This soup caused a schism in the household. I gave Kevin a taster bowl of the soup when I’d first puréed it. While he ate it in the living room, I decided it needed a bit more liquid and a creamy element. So, I added a can of light coconut milk and re-adjusted the spices. Meanwhile, he thought it was thick, rich and perfect. Oops! I suppose it’s good to know it works both ways.

This soup is a variation on the Curried Sweet Potato Soup the group tackled in December, 2014. It trades out sweet potatoes for lentils and limes for lemons, while adding some carrot and celery for a little more veggie fortification. Kevin isn’t a sweet potato or yam fan, so this version was a much bigger hit for him than the original.

I was out of garam masala, so I ground another batch. There’s nothing better than cooking with freshly ground spices, is there?

This soup will last us through the week’s lunches and the flavours are so deep, there’s no chance of getting bored. Especially since I’m thinking about baking some biscuits tomorrow, which will be perfect for dipping.

Next time I make this, I’ll leave it thicker, skipping the purée and the coconut milk and serving it over rice. I think that version will mend the rift.

Chickpeas with cumin and spinach

Chickpea Curry

Most of the time, committee meeting nights are for leftovers or meals I’ve cooked and portioned for the freezer. Tonight, though, I was able to put together dinner from scratch in about the same amount of time it would have taken to prepare a pre-cooked meal. Even better, it used staples from my kitchen counter, pantry, and freezer. Paired with some basmati rice, this was practically a fifteen-minute meal. I’m slow though, so it took 20-25 minutes.

Chickpeas and spinach, seasoned with lemon, is the ne plus ultra of quick meals for Kevin, so this dish was right up his alley. Adding tomatoes, cumin, onion, and garlic was like a deluxe upgrade of a simple meal.

I was thrilled to put together a filling and flavourful meal before I had to run out the door. Kevin’s thrilled that there are leftovers for tomorrow. Since I have (yet another) meeting, I’m glad we’re covered.

If I manage to fit in any more of this month’s CCC selections, I’ll post an update. For now, I’m feeling rather happy that I’m writing about food that’s still available to me for meals this week.

At the end of the month, you’ll be able to find the rest of the group’s posts, here. I encourage you to check them out – you’ll meet some wonderful bloggers and get some great inspiration for vegetarian eating.

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13 thoughts on “Cottage Cooking Club – January 2016

  1. Happy New Year, Teresa. I’ve been having a bit of a thing with chickpeas lately – the soup and the chickpeas look delicious. I enjoy seeing what people make out of different cookbooks that I own – it inspires me to go digging around in them and trying other things. (Although, this week dinner has consisted of either a bowl of cereal or a fried egg on an English muffin – so much for the cooking inspiration).

  2. Hi Teresa, I love your selections for the month as both look delicious. What a good idea to present your January CCC as you have prepared them, after all, January can often use a bit of a pick me up. I have thus far prepared of the dishes, non of which you have chosen but I am perhaps tempted. Good Luck in your busy meetings schedule. See you soon.

  3. I’m finding most vegan meals are pretty quick to prepare. I recently bought an instant pot and I just can’t say enough great things about it. The day I got it I had forgotten to soak beans so we pressure cooked them. It took 15 minutes! It’s a God send for someone so scatterbrained like me!

  4. Happy New Year, Early Bird. I am going to post a day or two early also. Both your dishes look delicious. Is there some reason I could not find red lentils? The dried red beans that I spotted in three different grocery stores were pinto. So I didn’t make the soup although I had made the squash soup (unlike Kevin, I like squash). I am doing the chickpea/spinach thing tomorrow. Glad you liked it. I will also. Okay, moving on to Ginger Snapped.

  5. Happy New Year (January is just a trial run for me… Feb is my new year!)… I hope to get to these two dishes soon… except my hubby requested if I could switch the red lentils to green mung beans…

  6. Hmmmm, looking at the soup you made, and thinking about the sweet potatoes on my counter, I’m thinking maybe I’ll need to look up that recipe. 🙂 Both dishes look delicious and I chuckled about the rift and the glory of a quickly put-together meal on a busy night! Isn’t it funny how exciting something so “small” like the latter can really make a regular old night feel so special? I do that sometimes when I get excited about my lunch at work. Just opening whatever container from home and thinking, “oh yeah! This is going to be good!” makes me chuckle, but brightens my day. Nice to “see” you, Teresa!

  7. Hi Teresa, love the dishes you prepared. Your lentil soup is such a pretty color compared to mine not sure what i did. Will have to prepare the spinach and chickpea dish looks fantastic, another great month.

  8. Teresa, now these are two wonderful dishes with raving reviews! The Curried red lentil soup really is a very good recipe to keep in mind – interesting that you made it once with and once without the coconut milk and good to know it works both ways. I believe I liked this version a bit better than the one with the sweet potatoes. A bowl of that soup would be nice right now – maybe with some of those above mentioned biscuits…The Chickpeas with cumin and spinach is a real life saving recipe to keep in our repertoire for those long days – flavorful, easy and very satisfying with some rice or Turkish flatbread on the side…
    Thank you so much for your continued support of the Cottage Cooking Club!
    I always appreciate all your posts and comments!
    Andrea

  9. I wish there were more fans of curry in my family (I’m the only one), the lentil soup looks so delicious, I’d make a pot of it today. I enjoyed the chickpea-spinach dish also, not just for its flavour, but for its speed and ease of preparation. I wish I’d had this book when my daughter first became a vegetarian. I really struggled at the start trying to find easy but delicious and nutritious recipes and Hugh has so many of them!

  10. I agree with you about the lackluster vegetables this time of year. I didn’t make either of your choices, but your descriptions (and lovely photos) make me want to make some for my own lunches and dinners this week. Thanks for the inspiration! Have a great week!

  11. Interesting story about the lentil soup. We’re a similar household–I always want to puree things (especially when the recipe calls for it) and Paul always prefers them on the chunkier side. Glad to know the chickpeas are so quick.. I’m always looking for very quick dinners these days. Also, I couldn’t help but scroll down to your ginger cookies. They look delicious!

  12. Your dishes look delicious, and I’m so happy that you both enjoyed them so much! I made the soup too – I liked the coconut milk in it – but then again, I like pretty much anything with coconut milk in it! I’m happy to read about the chickpea dish. I didn’t try it, but I’m convinced… everyone that made them loved the dish!!

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