Monday, January 18, 2010

JANUARY 21 - ANAHEIM, CA/PHILADELPHIA, PA - NAMM Recovery, with Turkish Lentil Soup



Wow. I just flew back from my first NAMM Sunday night - and I'll tell you - it is truly a sensory overload - the celebrities, the gear, the performances, the schmoozing, the partying... it's head-spinning! I wish I could say I took tons of pictures, but I was honestly so overwhelmed, the thought never even crossed my wrinkled mind. If I could have been as diligent as my good friend Tony... I know seeing is believing, but if you can trust me I swear I met and hung out with: Adrian (of course!), Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, David Torn, Tom Griesgraber, Ryan Moran, T.M. Stevens, Guy Pratt, Bryan Beller, Kira Small, Jonathan Herrera, Zack Vex, Rick Musallam, Mike Kenneally, Marco Minnemann, Shiloh Sheray, Ben Jones, Evan Marien, Damian Erskine, Greg Hampton, Mike Lull, Bubby Lewis, Josh Dunham, Morris Hayes... not to mention the people involved with the manufacturing of my wonderful gear: Dan Lakin, Brian Clark, Bob Gallien, Randy Fuchs... the list goes on...

So in all, I'm so inspired to play and record now - but of course a girl's gotta have brain food...

So what's the perfect cure for recovering from the mayhem? Turkish Lentil Soup, of course!

... maybe I should re-name this blog to "Making Some Soup and Eating it Too"...

While this isn't exactly like the one I had at the truck stop en route to Eskesehir (since it's not pureed - and I know, why is America the only country with inedible gas station food?), it uses the same flavors, with the addition of fennel. I just love fennel in lentil soup... Also, it may seem like there are a lot of spices going on, but if you think of the seasoning as an awesome, exotic spice blend, then you should quadruple it and store it for later use (like as a rub for tofu or shrimp)... And as always, I toast my spices whole and grind them to order... but that's me - I'm crazy about flavor!

makes ~4 quarts soup (serves 8-12)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large fennel bulb, diced, fronds reserved for garnish
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fennel seed
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ground ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Ouzo
1 medium potato, diced
2 cups red or yellow lentils, washed
2 cups diced tomatoes (or one 15 oz can)
6-8 cups vegetable broth, (or water)
Juice of one lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the onion, fennel, carrots, salt, and fennel seeds. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to brown and soften.

Add the garlic and spices and cook 1 minute longer.

Add the Ouzo and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated.

Add the potato, lentils, tomatoes, and vegetable stock/water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 25-40 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender.

Pour in lemon juice, and serve immediately.

I garnished the soup with leftover fennel fronds, feta cheese, and additional Aleppo Pepper:

Turkish Lentil Soup

I also served it with hummus, Turkish olive oil, feta and sliced french baguette

Turkish Lentil Soup

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