27 July 2008

Lucious (Red) Lentil Soup

This soup was inspired by my mother-in-law. She served a beautiful and delicious-looking red lentil soup the last time I visited. I say delicious-looking because it tasted kind of like water. No, really.  I felt sorry for her because everyone but me was giving her critiques on how she should have done it better, but it's the thought that counts, right? 

Anyway, I decided to make a soup that tasted like hers looked like it should have tasted -- a red lentil soup that is both beautiful and delicious.

Gently fry 1/2 of a big or one small chopped onion and one shredded carrot with a glug of olive oil in a small pot or saucepan, until onion becomes clear and everything starts getting a little carrot-coloured. Add a chopped stalk of celery and stir for another minute or two. Dump in a pile of red lentils about the size of your fist (more, if your fists are tiny, like mine, less if you have those crazy bear-paw hands), add the juice + 1 slice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp herb blend (Italian or Herbs de Province will do), 1/4 tsp tumeric (if I have too much tumeric, my armpits start smelling of it!), 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp curry powder (or 1 tsp of your favourite curry paste), and enough water to almost fill the pot. Stir, add 2 tbsp tomato paste, stir again, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, stir once more, and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the red lentils have turned to mush (did I mention you should stir it? don't let the red lentils stick together). Rip up a few fresh basil leaves, stir them in, and serve.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 hungry people.

Kick it up a notch with some chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce!

20 July 2008

9 Truths and One Lie! -- The results!

1. After all these years, I am still in pursuit of the perfect shade of red lipstick.
Lie! I thought I'd getcha by putting the lie in the first one cos I figured everyone would assume the lie was sneaked in the middle somewhere. But 3 of you, NLC_Beads, Lizzie, and Cristina, caught me out. There is no perfect shade of red lipstick for me. Not only do I look ATROCIOUS in red lipstick, I look pretty awful in pretty much EVERY shade of lipstick! (I am still enjoying my search for the perfect lipgloss, however. There are a lot of nice ones out there. Any recommendations?)

2. I received speech therapy as a child.
True! I had a lisp and went to speech class in 4th grade and won a Care Bears bracelet once for not lisping. It took me AGES to figure out what I was doing wrong. I still lisp when I'm excited or angry and certain phrases tongue twist me.
I also did elocution exercises in Drama class and wonder if they are why people tell me I have a funny accent.

3. I couldn't figure out how to roll my tongue until I was almost in high school.
True! My little sister could roll hers when she was a baby and I managed all sorts of weird tongue manipulations trying to figure out how to roll mine. Eventually, I figured it out. Step 2: Figure out how to raise just one eyebrow (I have sort of figured it out, but I'm still rubbish).

4. I LOVE hot sauce and prefer my picante foods to be REALLY hot. The only person who can tolerate more heat than I can is my dad.
True! My dad could out-hot sauce a deep south Texan, but no one else can out-hot sauce me. Unfortunately, being a tiny white girl, not everyone believes me when I place an order saying I'd like my food as hot as humanly possible. Mexicans laughed at me when I ordered my food spicier than they did (well, that's what my Colombian friend said they were laughing about). And I'm pretty sure this guy in a Curry shop in Seattle lost a bet when he served me a delicious and insanely hot curry. 100% Pain is 100% good and I used to have it on bagels every morning. And one time (NLC_Beads remembers this one, she bought the hot sauce), I put so much Dave's Total Insanity hot sauce in my tomato juice one morning, I had intestinal cramps and shat it all out a few minutes later. It tasted good going down, but once it was in my stomach, it felt like I was being poisoned.

5. I hate touching tennis balls!
True! I don't like the way they make my fingers feel. Also, tennis balls are green, not yellow, MARK. ;p

6. I decided to go vegetarian on a whim whilst eavesdropping on two girls in the bathroom.
True! Faye, you're right, there are better reasons to go vegetarian, but that's how it all started (12+ years later, I'm still a veg -- I'm glad I did it, even if it was on a weird whim).
It kind of went like this:
Girl 1: Oh, god! I'm, like, totally a vegetarian because I'm trying to lose weight!
Girl 2: Really?
Me: (Thinking: hmm, vegetarian, think I'll give that a try.)
Later that week, my Diff Eq teacher, Dr. Xu, told us he noticed Americans tended to start sentences off with "Oh, god!" to which their friends would reply, "really?"

7. I appeared on an episode of The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Christina Aguilera.
True! It's the episode with Tatyana Ali as the guest star. Christina is the one holding the microphone, I'm the one with the shiny nose wearing an, erm, Aladdin genie shirt. *sigh* If anyone finds a clip of that, let me know. [Chantel, I think you have a copy on one of those videos I gave you before I left the US.]

8. I only have 27 teeth. I had 29 before my wisdom teeth were pulled.
True! I'm missing one of my bottom middle teeth -- it never existed! I've been x-rayed and everything. And I only ever had 2 top wisdom teeth.

9. My favourite holiday is Halloween. I went trick-or-treating pretty much every year until, some time in college, the people giving out candy started telling me I was too old.
True! One time, I was trick-or-treating with my roommate and a guy reading (I am not kidding) Windows for Dummies told me to get off his porch. I tried to act young and sweet and dumb, and he just said, again, "Get off my porch." Crabby pants.

10. Of course, clowns give me the creeps, but Santa Claus gives me the creeps, too.
True! Even when my dad was dressed up as Santa and I knew it was him, I was still wigging out.

Congratulations again to
NLC_Beads, Lizzie, and Cristina. I decided since I have a large supply of shells and string, all the winners get a necklace! Cristina already stopped by Chateau Crabby to pick up her necklace, NLC_Beads, I have your address, Lizzie, I'll need yours.