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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, October 8, 2012

On (our) Mark

I love Mark Bittman. Such a no-nonsense voice. Last week, with all the voices in my head (unpack those suitcases already!), his was one voice of calming reason. You see...over this past trip, I made a discovery that great health is more than great food and exercise. It is also great stress management and learning how to respond to stress in a healthy way instead of paying twice. Mark relaxes me. More on this Wednesday!

Here is his most recent article and is a level-headed response to that skewed Stanford study that (mis) stated that organic foods are not nutritionally superior to conventional ones therefore why buy and eat "organic" foods. Read his response here: Mark Bittman's Blog

I felt the researchers completely ignored the impact of all the conventionally used pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc. used to grow and create our conventional foods that are so altering our health and the health of Mother Earth. My liver thanks Mark for his reason. Now tell me, would you eat the food in the picture near the end of this post? Underneath all that toxic spray are berries...soaking in every drop. Think I will pass.

And so to further celebrate Mark, I made this soup. It is really easy, really good, a classic Mark Bittman recipe. What a comforting, fresh, no-nonsense way to start the week. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. (I did not do this...left all chunky)  Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired. Serves 4. 

I served this with a fresh farmers' market salad and a slice of toasted country-style bread, drizzled with a bit of fruity olive oil.

Which foods would you rather eat?


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