For some time we have been trying to duplicate the lentil soup from a local Afghan restaurant. This is seriously good stuff and there are times that is all I want ... Finally we learned the magic ingredient happens to be dried sour plums, but we were unfamiliar with them. They aren't available locally and I won't be going to the city for a few weeks, but checked around it turns out people recommend Fastachi as a source. Their service is prompt and, two days later we could try experimenting.
Sukie went to work and this version nails it. It is not a perfect replica of the local restaurant , but I think is even better. An incredible soup that is simple to make. It is wonderful served with a warm crusty bread. You can also drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and add some shaved toasted pistachios for a nice presentation, but I certainly won't fault anyone for just digging in and enjoying.
This makes four largish bowls of soup and is fairly thick. Add more water for a thinner soup.
Red Lentil Afghan Soup with Dried Sour Plums
° 4 tbl extra virgin olive oil
° 2 medium-large onions minced
° 6 large garlic cloves minced
° 1-1/2 liters (6 to 6-1/2 cups) water (may need to add more)
° 280g red lentils cleaned (about 2 cups - we use Trader Joe's split red lentils)
° 1/2 tsp red pepper
° 1 tsp turmeric
° 16 dried sour plums minced - an excellent source is Fastachi
° non-iodized sea salt to taste, after freshly ground black pepper to taste
° your best extra virgin olive oil for garnishing (optional)
° toasted sliced or shaved pistachios for garnishing (optional)
° sauté onions and garlic in evoo until onions are golden
° add water, plums, spices and salt and bring to boil
° reduce to medium and add lentils, stir
° drop temp to medium low and cover
° cook 40-45 minutes - stir regularly and add water if necessary
° puree it if you like a smooth soup
° black pepper to taste (it takes a boatload of black pepper)
° garnish with a bit of olive oil and some shaved toasted pistachios (optional)
The NY Times on the potential USDA approval of a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico allowing horsemeat for human consumption to be produced in the US. Currently horses from the US are used for horsemeat - they are just shipped to Canada or Mexico for killing and processing.
We react based on how we sort out which animals are food and which aren't - a rather curious social, but not business, taboo....
Brian and his team have done interesting work on the messaging that changes our interaction with food. This is the sort of manipulation that fast food companies and restaurants use, but it can also be repurposed for good (something Brian seems to work towards). Check out his Mindless Eating website. He has a book by the same name that is written for a general audience (like his website), but is full of interesting manipulations you can watch out for and use. Humans are really easy to trick and we all think otherwise...