Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salsa

My co-worker gave me some cucumbers she and her husband had grown in their garden. I wanted to use them right away as they were so fresh. This is a variation on a classic cucumber and tomato salad. I added charred corn for sweetness and smokiness. I also added poblano and jalapeno for spice. 

2 small or 1 medium cucumber, diced
2 ears corn
3 vine tomatoes, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbls apple cider vinegar
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsps dry dill
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsps salt

I wasn't about to turn on the broiler to cook the corn. It's been in the 90's here. Instead, I used the same technique often used to char bell pepper. Put the shucked ears directly over a gas flame on the stovetop. If you don't have a gas stovetop you can broil them or use an outdoor grill. 

The corn will pop and make a bit of a mess on your cooktop, but it's worth it. 

Char the corn evenly all around. Allow to cool and them cut the kernels off the cob. 

Stir together all i…

Lentil and Tofu Protein Packed Vegetable Soup

I found myself with an odd craving for lentil soup. I also wanted a big extra hit of protein because I was recovering from a pretty bad injury. So I decided I'd try adding tofu to my soup.

I've made tofu lots of ways. Baked, sauteed, broiled, pan fried, braised, you name it. It can be difficult to get any flavor into tofu. It takes a lot of work. But I figured in a soup it would work well because there would be so much going on already, the tofu would simply function as an almost invisible protein source swimming in the deep, rich sea of all the other flavors.

Despite being laced with the decidedly Asian ingredient, this vegan soup is full of Southwestern American and Italian American flavors.

Onion Broth
Peels, ends, outer layers from 2 large onions
3 ribs/seeds from jalapeno
4 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbl olive oil
2 tps salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 cup water
1/2 cup assorted bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup poblano pepper, diced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
2 cups kale or any dark leafy green
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 an 8 ounce package firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 chipotles and 1 tbl of their adobo sauce
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 a habernero, minced
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps thyme

To make the onion broth bring all the components to a boil in a large uncovered sauce pot and then simmer for 20 minutes. Use tongs or a colander to remove the onion pieces and jalapeno ribs from the liquid.

To the onion broth simply add all your prepared soup components and simmer covered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Remove lid and continue simmering for 10 more minutes. Turn off heat. Keep pot on burner. Put cover back on the pot. Let sit for 5 more minutes.

Other than all the chopping and dicing, this is pretty easy to cook, yet yields very tasty, hearty results. Light enough for summer, still  strong enough for winter.

It's filling on its own and also great over salad, rice or pasta.

I didn't think of it at the time, but adding a few tsps of nutritional yeast would really add that umani touch to take this relatively simple soup to the next level of yum.