When I moved to Uruguay, one of the things I had to learn was to cook – no one can survive forever on pasta, cake, scrambled eggs, and tuna salad, right? (Seriously, that was basically all I could cook). I started by making simple, but different, things. One of those first recipes was tapenade, this French olive dip.
The recipe I used to make (I can’t remember where I found it!) called for equal amounts of green and black olives, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. I would simply place everything on the food processor, pulse it, and there: a tasty dip. When I decided that February would be Dip Tertulias, I knew tapenade was going to be one of them. So, I tried to find the “original, authentic, yadda yadda yadda” recipe – but of course I couldn’t find it!
There seem to be a lot of different recipes, each of them adding/omitting an ingredient. Confused, I had to resort to Wikipedia, where I learned that the recipe calls for olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic! I found this recipe on The Guardian and decided to make it – well, adapt it. It was much tastier than the one I used to make!
It doesn’t yield a whole lot, which is fine: it’s pretty strong, so a little goes a long way!
½ cup of pitted black olives
2 Tbsp capers
2 anchovies, drained – we always have some, for Caesar salad dressing… or pizza. 😀
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp oregano/thyme – I used ½ Tbsp of each
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste – I skipped the salt, as the anchovies/capers were salty enough
Not only did I try a “more authentic” recipe, but I also tested the most traditional method: the mortar and pestle!
Coarsely chop the olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic. Place them in the mortar, add the herbs, and crush and grind everything until you get a paste that isn’t too chunky. Add roughly 2 Tbsp olive oil and use the pestle to mix it in. Season with salt and pepper.
OOOOR….. place everything on the food processor, pulsing until you get a somewhat chunky paste! 😀
Looking for a recipe to end the Soup Tertulias, I found one that I had pinned long ago. As it was from Chef John, it was sure to be good, right? So there I went to the grocery store to buy an ingredient I hardly ever use – leeks. There’s no special reason for not using them much, other than pure lack of habit!
But given that I don’t usually cook with leeks, I never have great expectations for the results. So you can imagine my shock when I realized how good this soup was! It was simply the best soup I’ve ever made – and one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten! It immediately gained comfort food status! ❤
To make this soup, you’ll need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
150 g bacon – Chef John used prosciutto, and a lot less than that, but we don’t do “just a little bit of bacon” around here. To veganize this recipe, he suggests using shiitake instead of bacon!
6 leeks – without the leaves
1.5 liters of beef stock – I used the homemade version, concentrated. To veganize the recipe, use homemade veggie stock − or the store bought one…
4 medium-sized potatoes
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
250 mL heavy cream – to veganize, use soy/rice cream
Chop the leeks into medium-sized bits and rinse them well to remove any little specks of dirt, which is really something we don’t want to taste in our soup…
Heat the olive oil in a thick pot and fry the bacon. When the bacon is halfway cooked, place the leeks and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and let them soak in water, so they don’t turn brown. After the 30 minutes, add the potatoes to the pot and cook until they are soft – if you think you need more liquid, just add water!
When the potatoes are soft, use the blender (I used the immersion blender) to … blend the soup! Put the soup back in the pot, add the cream and heat it until it starts to boil. Serve immediately, thinking “omg did I just cook that? I’m so amazing, I should be on Masterchef, etc.” 😀 😀 😀
FREEZER: Like most soups, this recipe freezes pretty well. I just placed the cold leftovers in a Ziploc bag! When re-heating, I just used the immersion blender to pulse it a little bit, so it would regain the original texture.
The carrots were very pretty at the grocery store – they had that “buy me” look. It was time to make a recipe I had pinned centuries ago. You know one of those recipes that you think it’s going to work great, but you are kinda lazy and simply don’t do it? Yep.
Well, it was silly of me to be lazy about this recipe, as it is very easy – and wonderful! This is without a doubt one of the most interesting soups I’ve ever made, proving once again that Patricia Scarpin is a genius. ❤ As usual, I’ve adapted it a little bit, because that’s just how it goes.
The recipe is vegetarian, but to veganize it all you have to do is replace the cream for a soy/rice version.
1 kg carrots – peel and chop into big chunks
350 g onions – same deal
Roughly 3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper – I added paprika too
About 5 cloves of garlic, peel and all – from the famous series “things I decided to add while taking the ingredients shot”
1 tsp cumin
1.5 liters veggie stock – I used the homemade version , concentrated, and completed with water
250 mL heavy cream, or a vegan substitute
Place the carrots, onions, and garlic on a baking sheet. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Mix everything very well and bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, or until the carrot is tender.
Then, remove the garlic peels – it should be very easy! – and place the ingredients from the baking sheet into a blender, adding the stock to help the process. As my blender died #RIPblender, I placed everything in the pot and used my immersion blender.
When everything is nice and blended, add the cream and heat the soup until it starts to boil. Serve immediately.
FREEZER: As most soups, this recipe freezes pretty well. I just placed the cold leftovers in a Ziploc bag! When re-heating, I used the immersion blender to pulse it a little bit, so it would regain the original texture.
I LOVE lentils. Before, they were a synonym of New Year’s Eve: Grandma would always make lentil rice (with plenty of bacon), saying “Eat it, it’ll bring prosperity in the new year.” Not only were they delicious, but they also brought money?? BRING’EM!
Try as I might, I didn’t become a millionaire by eating lentils – but this is no reason not to make this delicious soup! 🙂
The original recipe called for mushrooms, but I didn’t add them, because I hate them! #truestory #sorrynotsorry BUT they are a great idea to veganize the soup! 🙂
400 g lentils
2 medium onions, thinly chopped
1 large carrots, thinly chopped
150-200 g bacon − the original recipe called for only 50 g, because it also had mushrooms. If you want to veganize the recipe, use them instead of bacon!
1 L bone broth – I used the homemade version, concentrated. To veganize the recipe, use veggie stock, or a bouillon cube diluted in 1 L of water.
1 L water
Salt and pepper – skip the salt if you’re using a bouillon cube!
This is a mystery-free recipe: in a large pan, fry the bacon, the onions, and the carrots. When the bacon is fried, add the lentils, the stock, and the water. Season with salt and pepper (I used a pepper mix).
Cook for approximately one hour, until everything is nice and soft. Then, all you have to do is put the soup on the blender! I bought an immersion blender and I’m in love! MUCH easier to clean than a traditional blender! 😀
When everything is blended, it’s ready to serve!
FREEZER: As most soups, this recipe freezes pretty well. I just placed the cold leftovers in a Ziploc bag! When re-heating, I just used the immersion blender to pulse it a little bit, so it would regain the original texture.