Saturday, November 22, 2008

What goes on in your mind?

I'm going to let you in to the secret recesses of my mind. It all starts with an idea. In this case, I knew I really wanted to take part in Platinum Chef Challenge 10. I missed the last one, so I really wanted to take part. Especially since the ingredients sounded like fun - lentils, lemon, goat cheese, spinach, and vinegar.

So now that I knew I wanted to take part, I had to come up with some recipes. I'm entirely uncreative this round. Maybe because I'm out of practice. For me, lentils = soup and goat cheese = salad. Soup and salad is such a great combination, and currently one of my favorite things to order when we go out.

Next up in my process is "the internets." I already knew what to do with the salad, but I needed a good lentil soup recipe. Nothing was really singing to me, until I started seeing recipes for "lentil soup with sausage." Now that is my kind of soup. I love sausage in soup. There's no better way to jazz up a minestrone. And making a lentil and sausage soup just couldn't be easier. Especially with a fridge full of veggies to add to it! The soup makes enough for lots of leftovers too, like all good soup.

The soup and salad turned into the perfect summer lunch. I love the warm, spiciness of the soup. The only thing I would change about the salad is to keep the apples raw - I thought the warm apples would be a better combo with the warm soup, but I decided I didn't like the soft consistency with the crisp endive.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 links hot italian sausage
  • 7 oz ham, shredded
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb dried lentils
  • 1 bunch spinach leaves, chopped
  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage links and cook until done. Remove sausages from pot, cool, and slice sausages.
  2. Add ham, onions, and green pepper to the pot. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and thyme. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, sausage, tomatoes, and lentils. Lower heat, cover, and cook two hours.
  5. Remove from heat, add spinach, and let stand 2 more minutes.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/6 cup olive oil
  • 2 belgian endives
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, sliced into 8 slices
  • 2 oz goat cheese, sliced into 2 rounds
  • chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat broil. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shake to blend.
  2. Add oil and shake again.
  3. Place endive leaves and spinach on plate.
  4. Place slices of apples on broiler pan into two fans. Place round of goat cheese on top of each fan of apples. Broil 5 minutes.
  5. Use spatula to place apples and goat cheese in center of salad. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with walnuts.


  1. You certainly rose to the challenge with finesse:D

  2. Wow that salad is beautiful, something you would see in a resort hotel! I love sausage in my soup too!

  3. I think this looks great! Your salad looks very pretty. I'm posting mine today. It was a fun round :)

  4. Oh and I tagged you on my blog!

  5. i am always in awe of your creativity. i'm helpless without a recipe.

  6. That salad looks amazing!