We are smack dab in the middle of my favorite culinary season, and my kitchen has been an exciting place to be! With the addition of the mustards and Barbeque sauce I got at Artisanal LA, I’ve been having a little too much fun…
Here’s an example of how I woke up this boxed soup and made it into a great meal. I like to keep a couple boxes of Trader Joe’s soups around in case I need something quick or I’m in between shopping days. This one is my favorite; Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper. The ingredient list is short and the soup is souper!
This particular day, I added a ½ c. of cooked brown rice, a ¼ c. of white beans (drained and rinsed from a can), a handful of chopped cilantro, 1 tsp. of the Hong Kong Habañero Mustard, swirled in, and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I had a crusty roll with this and was super-satisfied.
David’s Unforgettables Balsamic Barbecue Sauce made a great partner to my roasted veggies! This slow-roasted dish of butternut squash, Brussels Sprouts, Chanterelle Mushrooms was spiked with toasted pumpkin seeds and pecans. I used the sauce twice; at the start, I tossed the veggies with it, sautéed them until they began to caramelize. Then, I added about half a beer and put it in the oven at 375°. When everything was soft and beautiful (about 35 minutes later), I added a little more sauce and a couple handfuls of baby spinach. This dish was amazingly delicious!! The next day, the leftovers were even better…
Yesterday, I did a quick market run to one of the most interesting Farmer’s Markets I’ve ever been to! Every Thursday, from 12-6.30pm, a very small market descends on the spot where UCLA and the VA Hospital converge. At this market, there are very few vendors, but if you keep walking past them, you’ll find an amazing treasure: the Veteran’s Serenity Garden. There, you can find plants for purchase, picnic tables to sit and enjoy your market finds and my favorite part: the parrot sanctuary. These rescued birds live in large cages, filled with things for them to play with and climb on. They love visitors!
That day was stupid hot (96 degrees in November?!), but when I was greeted by the aroma of lentil soup, I had to taste…and then buy! That was just the start…
Bell Peppers: $2
Hearty Lentil Soup: $11.50
Now, the only goals for this shopping trip were 1) to get more tempha, and 2) to get some more persimmons. I’d planned on using the donated persimmons as an addendum to an apple pie, but it still hasn’t been baked and we ate the persimmons before we even considered making that pie… Everything else was just a lucky find. I didn’t get to make another vegetable soup this week and, though the temperature isn’t being very cooperative yet (it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, yay!), a tasty lentil soup, made very much like I would make it myself, sounded purrfect.
Though I spent around $20 at a Farmer’s Market this week already, I know I’ll be hitting another one in the next few days. Stay tuned to see what I find!
By the by, here’s that second loaf of No-Knead Bread: