Lentil soupIt’s been an extraordinary week in Vancouver — the perfect bright, sunny days, clear blue skies and enough of a chill to put a wonderful, rosy glow on your cheeks after a run. This is my favourite running weather. You don’t overheat due to the cold, but it’s not a typical grey winter day that sucks all motivation out of your system. To top it off, it makes coming home to a hot bowl of soup and fresh bread that much better.

I realize that I’ve done a soup recipe and a cornbread recipe already, so I doing a two-for-one blog with two new recipes is totally warranted. This time around, the recipe line-up is as follows: lentil soup with coconut milk and warm spices, and sundried tomato and goat cheese cornbread. Hearty lentils, in a spicy yet creamy base, is an excellent way to mix up your protein source. It has lots of fiber too, but learn from my mistakes and don’t have it before a workout. As for the cornbread, the hidden tomato gems of salty ecstasy and creamy delight of the goat cheese makes already wonderful bread even better.

But an important note: make sure you have all the ingredients before you start cooking. I was one egg short baking the cornbread, but when you have the best landlords in the world who not only bake you fresh cookies and send good luck notes before races, they graciously donate an egg or two to whatever cooking experiment you’re coming up with. I don’t think I’ll ever move out.

Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm SpicesGoat cheese cornbread
Serves four – from Joanne’s Eats Well With Others Blog

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 1 1/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the thyme, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and a pinch of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is slightly browned and very soft.
  2. Add the stock and the lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  3. Add the coconut milk to the soup. Stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the salt as necessary. Serve.

Skillet Goat Cheese Cornbread and Sundried Tomatoes
Yield: one nine-inch, round cornbread – from Cookie Monster Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh chives

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Set a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the vegetable oil and allow it to heat while you mix up the batter.*
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, add the milk, eggs and butter (make sure the butter has cooled down so it doesn’t scramble the eggs). Whisk to combine. Add in the tomatoes, goat cheese and chives and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
  4. Tilt the warmed skillet back and forth gently to make sure the oil is distributed in the pan. Pour the batter into the skillet and use a spatula to spread it in the pan. The oil should bubble and sizzle a bit when you pour in the batter. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the edges of the cornbread have pulled away from the skillet.

NOTES: If you are really fast in getting the batter ready, you’ll want to give the oil a little longer to heat up.

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