I’ve recently decided that it was time to clean out my entire refrigerator… top to bottom. When I was making room for Thanksgiving Day things, I noticed I had very wisely packed away one person size portions of beef, chicken, lentils, and other things in the freezer. Unfortunately, my preparation for those “rainy” days never got used because whenever I crave something, I’m running out the door and to the store. So… to make use of those “rainy” day provisions, I’ve been making a lot of soup and stew with those little squirreled away packets of food.
Soups and stews are easy… for the most part all you need is a little protein, some vegetables, spices and herbs, and a little water.
Today I made a beef soup with ribbons of kale, a handful of fresh herbs out of the crisper, and some green French lentils. It’s not much of a recipe but here it goes.
Something for the Snow Soup (Kaprise refrigerator clean out recipe)
- Cube a portion of beef or any protein. I used 8 ounces of sirloin steak.
- Toss lightly in flour
- In a heavy bottomed skillet (I use my Le Creuset for this) and over high heat, sear the cubes of beef until crisp in olive oil.
- Toss in a crushed clove of garlic and stir
- Pour in about 1/4 of a cup of wine (and drink some too)
- Add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and 3 cups of water
- Bring your soup to a low simmer.
- Add 1 cup of uncooked and rinsed lentils (you could also used canned if you prefer)
- Add salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cumin, and whatever else you desire.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through
- Stir in ribboned kale and herbs. I used about 5 leaves of dinosaur kale, a bunch of cilantro, and a handful of parsley
- Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
Done!! 🙂 I know it’s not much of a recipe, but these quick little soups get me through the winter. I make a little pot for dinner, and then eat it with an fried egg in the morning… if there is any left over I have it for lunch with some crusty garlic bread (yes. I work from home, so I can eat garlic in the middle of the day).
It just started getting cold in Baltimore this week, which coincides with the busiest time of the year for all law students. Well…. maybe not busiest, but absolutely the most stressful. And for a procrastination guru like myself, I find myself in the clutches of mini depression and annoyance because I am so drastically and embarrassingly behind. And of course, the only place I would ever admit this is here, because in law school it really is just all about hanging on.
Yesterday, after spending the entire day fooling around and then sleeping through class (how do you manage to spend 12 hours sitting around, and then manage to SLEEP in class?! How could you possibly be tired from doing nothing?? Well… it’s possible). So I ran to the grocery store for some much needed solace and then hurried back to my kitchen for some much needed therapy. Mind you, I was cooking 1 handed, at times with two but very gingerly. I made the fatal mistake of grating chocolate on my very new and very sharp microplane while drinking some delicious port (perhaps the bottle… but I can’t tell you that), so I am missing a grated portion of my thumb.
I have been looking at recipes for baked pastas and salads that keep well in attempt to study more and spend less time to my elbows in chopped veggies and bowls of flour. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked, so I picked two vegetables that I liked and then went from there.
The focus of this salad is really the wonderfully tender and beautiful butternut squash. I found an adorable and slightly smaller squash so I cubed and used the whole thing. I also found some fluffy curly leafed kale that I immediately paired with the squash.
I didn’t season the bulgar wheat at all, instead figuring if this giant bowl of food was supposed to last a week, then I would want different seasonings each day. I think the best thing to do is pick a different protein each day to toss with the salad and eat. I had mine with a little Italian dressing yesterday and some oil/vinegar this morning. Both were delicious. I’m planning on using this salad as the bed for my roasted chicken legs tonight.
Butternut Squash Bulgar Wheat Salad
(remember this is supposed to last all week, so the recipe is large. Feel free to halve or quarter as necessary)
- 2 cups of uncooked bulgar wheat (you might consider quinoa or barley or any other whole grain)
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 bunch of kale (or any other sturdy and hearty green)
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 jar of olives (I used little green ones, but I think black or any other variety would work just fine)
- 1 small bunch of fresh chives or green onion (red onion works too), chopped finely
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- handful of chopped figs
- 1 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts
- salt, pepper, and olive oil as needed
- Cook the bulgar according to package directions (I would suggest under-cooking by just a bit because the texture and crunch of al-dente bulgar adds more dimension to the salad). Drain and cool
- Bring a salted pot of water to boil
- Roughly chop the kale (use more than you think necessary since this boils down quickly)
- Peel and cube your butternut squash (you can buy this pre-sliced in my grocery but I like chopping so I did it myself)
- Plunge the kale into the boiling water and cover for about 3 to 4 minutes. I left most of the steams in the kale, so I boiled a little longer to soften the ribs of the kale. If you prefer crunchier kale, feel free to blanch.
- Remove and drain the kale – when the kale is cooled, you will need to squeeze the moisture out of the leaves. I realize this removes a lot of the nutrition, but the salad needs to be as dry as possible.
- Bring the water back to a boil and plunge the squash into the water. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your cubes. You want your squash to be soft but maintain the cube shape.
- Drain and cool the squash.
- While your bulgar, kale, and squash are cooling – chop and prepare the other ingredients.
- In a very large bowl, toss of the ingredients with a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well.
- Taste and season accordingly
Keeps for one week in a well sealed container.