Category Archives: Blogs

A Lentil Soup Recipe That I Liked


I frequently click on the links that I’ve posted on this blog (look under “Labels” on the left side of the page). With a few cool-for-June days, a recipe for Orange Lentil Soup with Curry Powder and Spinach from Sarah Kiino’s Avenue Food site appealed to me. I made it last night, and present the recipe (and Avenue Food’s photo, posted with Sarah’s permission) here — with my inevitable little modifications, which I’ve noted in orange. My version is slightly “less Indian” than the original, but it was nevertheless delicious. The recipe on the Avenue Food site did not give yield, but three of us each had two brimming soup plates full of this soup, and there’s some left over.

BTW, if you want to know more about the lentils specified in the recipe, see the posting on lentils on the Hooked on Heat site’s intro to Indian cooking. That site translates maoor dal as “red lentils,” which is what Boulder’s Ideal Market also calls them, but on the color wheel, they are definitely orange.

ORANGE LENTIL SOUP WITH CURRY POWDER AND SPINACH

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon good-quality sweet curry powder (I used regular supermarket-quality curry powder, because that’s what I had)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or up to 1/2 teaspoon)
2 bay leaves
2 cups orange lentils (masoor dal), picked over and rinsed
6 cups chicken broth (organic vegatable broth)
1 14.5-oz can tomatoes, passed through a food mill (pureed lightly with an immersion blender)
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (optional) (I did use one potato)
Leaves from one bunch spinach, washed well and cut into ribbons (or just torn into pieces)
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in a little oil until transluscent. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds or so. Add tomato paste, curry powder, cumin, and cayenne and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth, and potato. Partially cover, bring to a boil, and cook until lentils and potato are tender, about 20-30 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. (Before serving, check to make sure the potato cubes are cooked through.) Remove from heat and puree soup a bit with an immersion blender (but don’t make it too smooth). (I did not blend the soup at this stage, but left the lentils whole)Return to heat, stir in spinach and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a minute or so until spinach is wilted into the soup.

‘Chocolate and Zucchini’ Author’s Book Tour

Clotilde Dusoulier, a young woman whose captivating Chocolate and Zucchini blog about food and cooking in Paris has been a foodie favorite since it eased into the blogosphere in late 2003, has written a cookbook. The American edition of Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Paris Kitchen has just been published by Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House. The reviewers who have seen it have been swooning: “”Dusoulier has contagious enthusiasm for her local Montmartre markets. Reading “Chocolate and Zucchini” is like going on a slightly frenetic shopping spree — in other words, irresistible” enthused Paris-Match.

Born and raised in Paris, Dusoulier lived in San Francisco for a couple of years after college and it was there that she developed her passion for food. She learned about cooking from her mother and is also self-taught, a perfect melding of her French roots overlaid by her American experiences. Her blog is full of her carefully indexed recipes (mercifully and pragmatically given both in metric and American measures), as well as her observations about food, restaurants and related topics that intrigue her. I have blog envy; hers attracts 4.5 million visitors a month, and I’ve been a lot of them.

Dusoulier is embarking on an American book tour. Alas, Denver is not on it, but here are the US cities scheduled thus far (book signings are free and begin at the time indicated; cost for others is given):

New York – Tuesday, May 15. 12:30 p.m.
Dean & Deluca (560 Broadway, SoHo)
Book signing, free meet and greet, 12:30 p.m.

Boston – Wednesday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.
Chez Henri (1 Shepard St., Cambridge)
Book signing and dinner, $75 for glass of wine, three-course dinner and signed copy of the book); reservations required (617-354-8980)

Boston – Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m.
The French Library (53 Marlborough Street)
Catered luncheon, talk and book signing; $15-$20 (I’m not sure why this price range);reservations required (617-912-0400). Chef Jean Claude Carvin of La Riviera Gourmet will prepare three recipes from the book.

Chicago – Saturday, May 19, 12:00 noon
Froggy’s French Café (306 Green Bay Road, Highwood)
Book signing and luncheon; cost TBA; reservations required by calling call Lake Forest Bookstore (847- 234-4420)
Chicago – Sunday, May 20, 1:30 p.m.
The Book Cellar (4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue)
Book signing and free meet and greet

Seattle – Monday, May 21, 7:30 p.m.
Impromptu (4235 East Madison Street)
Book signing and food-and-wine event, in collaboration with Shauna and Dan of Gluten-Free Girl; $45 including copy of the book; reservations required (206-860-1569).Admission: $45

Seattle – Tuesday, May 22, 7:00 p.m.
University Bookstore (4326 University Way NE)
Book signing and free meet and greet

Sonoma County, CA – Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 p.m.
Bovolo (106 Matheson St., Healdsburg)
Book signing and three-course dinner; $25; reservations required (707-431-2962)

Berkeley, CA – Thursday, May 24, 7:00
Cody’s Books (1730 Fourth Street)
Book signing and free meet and greet
San Francisco – May 26
Book Passage (Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Plaza #421)
1:00 p.m.
Book signing and free meet and greet

Rediscovering Chowhound

Once again, an article in the New York Times ignited, or in this case reignited, an interest. Sometime ago, someone put me on to a website at http://www.chowhound.com/. Run by a guy named Jim Neff from New York, it was a jumble of food explorations and discoveries, including exotic offerings at ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants and even food carts at an intersection somewhere. Some really big names in the food world were on Neff’s bulletin board, sometimes taking issue with him and sometimes even with each other. Keeping up was so time-consuming that I eventually stopped visiting the site and then frankly forgot about it.

While I wasn’t paying attention, CNET Networks purchased Chowhound, according to the Times, and now Neff is a salaried employee who roams around eating wherever his instincts, curiosity and thousands of foodie tipsters throughout the land and abroad point him too. Someone else maintains the site, so it’s now easier to navigate than it was when I used to visit. The time is currently six in the morning, and I’ve been back to Chowhound for the first time in eons. I might not get anything else done today.

First Outside Recognition for This Blog

Colorado food (and parenting) blogger Anne-Marie Nichols has honored this blog by making it her pick for “food blog of the week.” She wrote: “Claire has only been food blogging for a couple of months, but she covers the Colorado (especially Boulder) food scene better than any of the local papers.” Her site, This Mama Cooks, is one of my links, but I’d like to draw your attention to it. You’ll find it at http://mamarant.blogs.com/mamacooks/.

Great Food Blog

Thanks to Rocky Mountain News restaurant critic’s “Nibbles” column today, I checked out http://papayapate.blogspot.com/ , a mouth-watering food blog by John Broening and Yasmin Lozada-Hissom. She is a pastry chef and he is an executive chef. They are now partners in life and also in the kitchen at Duo Restaurant, which I haven’t been to yet. But Broening has a great rep in the kitchen but previously cooked in Colorado restaurants that didn’t make it. His food at the late Primitivo in Colorado Springs was a culinary highpoint of that food-blighted city (fine eating at The Broadmoor, The Cliff House and just an ephemeral sprinkling of other worthy places). His offerings at the late Brasserie Rouge in LoDo, just a block from Union Station, were wonderful as well, but the place was huge, and it was just too far from the main traffic flow to make it. In neither case did the fault seem to lie in the kitchen but rather with a business plan and/or financing — not unusual in the restaurant game. I hope the duo’s Duo is wildly successful, and I love their blog. If you enjoy food and recipes, you will too.