Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nachos (p. 77) and Lentil soup with sausage and potato (p. 134)

Nachos (p. 77) fall into the category of "do you really need a recipe for THAT?". I have no idea how common worldwide nachos are--or if they are more an American thing (non-American TJOTJOCer's please comment!) but they aren't very complex. I like nachos when they have real cheese--I don't like nachos when they come with stale chips to dip in industrial orange cheese product.

To start I spread out tortilla chips (store brand because I actually like them better than name brand) on a round pan (I used a pizza pan). I then sprinkled cheese on the top.

Broiled for a few minutes and finished.

It was tasty but I didn't need a recipe--again, nachos are not very complex. The recipe gives options of sour cream, black beans, scallions, jalapeƱos, and/or cilantro but I decided against them all and just added some olives.

I have this theory that when I make one recipe, I might as well make two because the dishes have to be done one way or the other. I decided to make Lentil soup with sausage and potato (p. 134). I don't tend to like lentils. I think they are bland and boring and find it absolutely astounding when people tell me they love them.

The recipe started like almost every TJOC soup--carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and bacon sauteed in olive oil. TJOC refers to the bacon as "optional" but I would say it was a "necessity". Bacon is a necessity in most recipes! I always chop bacon with my kitchen shears because it's so hard to cut up with a knife.

Dried lentils, a can of diced tomatoes, a bit of thyme, and a whole lotta water was then added to the pot.

After about a half hour, a potato (or several potatoes, if you enjoy carbohydrates as much as I do) and some kielbasa (does anyone else have Tenacious D running through their head?) was added to the pot.

And then cook cook cook cook until it's done.

A little balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper were added and it was done! How was it? Really really good. Better than I would imagine lentils could taste. I think I'm beginning to finally understand about adding "acid"--the vinegar really brought out the flavors of the soup. The bacon and kielbasa gave the soup a terrific smoky flavor. The soup was good enough that Josh--who doesn't have the love of soup that I do and despises lentils--happily ate a couple bowls. And all that fiber--it must be good for you! I'm really happy the recipe turned out so tasty because I have two more lentil soups to make.

My favorite part of TJOTJOC? I always have a great answer for the question "Tell me something interesting about yourself". I usually really dislike that question because it's hard to answer unless you have a truly bizarre answer (I have twenty cats, I was born with 12 toes, I've given birth in an elevator, I have a phobia of clowns, etc.--none of which are true for me). Cooking my way through a giant cookbook has to qualify!

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