New York I Love You?

For some reason it’s really hard to cook in New York.  Maybe it’s the fact it has literally (LITERALLY) three thousand of the best, most interesting restaurants in the world.  And then you add in food trucks and corner bagel places and dumpling carts and it’s practically a crime not to eat out.

Until you are forced to commit crime to afford eating out.  Not that I have stooped to the level.  Yet.

But as I told my mom on the phone yesterday, particularly annoyed with the Big Apple after spending 45 minutes on the subway during rush hour and then almost getting hit by about 3 taxis in the pouring rain, I would never want to live in New York.  It’s dirty, people walk into you on the sidewalks, there are not that many big dogs, and everything is are-you-kidding-me expensive.

If only they didn’t have the best, most interesting, most diverse food in the world.  Damn you New York!

Sure, Paris has the perfect coq au vin, San Francisco has got that local veggie burger thing, and no where can best South Carolina’s barbecue shacks.  But New York has all of that, just as good as it would be in Paris or San Fran or South Carolina, on one street.  AND a cake shop, AND the hippest ramen joint, AND five art galleries.  It’s just hard to compete with.

But compete I did, and with not entirely terrible results.  This recipe is adapted from a coconut curry lentil soup I’d made at school and was a great success.  I really like making soups–something about the big pot and all the stirring and flavors in a pot makin friends–plus soups keep for forever.  Aka on Monday I made my lunch/dinner for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Except for those dumplings I got and last night’s tasting (more to come on that later…)

This soup has a lot of things going for it.  It’s easy.  It’s ridiculously good for you.  It has some great colors represented.  Also it makes your kitchen smell nice.

I would say it’s worth braving the chaos that is ANY Trader Joe’s in New York at ANY time of day, but I’m not even totally confident.  Trader Joe’s is that crazy.

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Coconut Curry Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage

This recipe is infinitely adaptable.  Sub chicken sausage for the real deal, take it out, put in kale, put in squash, take out spice.  Anything goes, as long as it tastes good.  Also delicious with diced avocado added right at the end (props to Justin)

2 cups red lentils
1 can reduced-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped (or you could use kale)
2 pre-cooked chicken sausages (I used garlic version) chopped (about 1 cup)
 

  1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot and add onions, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes
  2. Add sweet potato, potato, and sausage.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in coconut milk.  Fill coconut milk can with water and add to pot.  Repeat.  Add in lentils, soy sauce, maple syrup, and the rest of the spices.  Stir to combine.  Turn heat down to low, cover with a lid and let simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until everything is cooked through.  Take soup off the heat and add the spinach, stirring until it wilts.  Serve with more spinach or avocado, and hopefully some Kingfisher

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