Tuesday Dinner: Curried Lentil with Turmeric Yogurt

Curried Lentil & Tomato with Cauliflower and Turmeric Yogurt • All Green Salad with Tahini Dressing • Levain Rolls • Cardamom Cream Cheese with Kiwis

It is so hard to wear a mask all day when it’s ninety degrees outside. I’m not going to not wear one, of course, but I might have to complain about it now and then. And when it’s hot like this outside, we might as well eat food that tastes like it comes from hot countries. I make no claims of authenticity for any part of this meal; it is one hundred percent made up from my imagination. A little bit Indian, a little bit Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, and maybe more than a little bit Santa Cruz hippie.

First up is a curried lentil soup. It has Indian spice blends (curry and garam masala, plus some extra cumin), and a ton of ginger and garlic sautéed in coconut oil; all together they make the soup taste like it comes from somewhere sunny and sweltering, with lots of flowers. I used two kinds of lentils: red lentils fall apart to thicken the broth, and black lentils hold their shape when they’re cooked. The soup is chunky with cauliflower, and there are a few pounds of chopped spinach in there, too. A golden dollop of turmeric yogurt goes on top, and the result is a soup that’s creamy, tart, refreshing, and feels very healthy. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, and a delicious one!

With a few exceptions (I love gazpacho), I wouldn’t call myself a fan of cold soups. But a few years ago, I found out that my brother loves cold soup. Not on-purpose cold, like cucumber yogurt or a smooth borscht, but soups that are meant to be hot, like split pea or broccoli cheddar—those he likes to eat straight out of the fridge. This is my brother, so I gave it a try… turns out that minestrone, potato-leek, black bean are all surprisingly good cold. Who knew? It’s not really the weather for hot soup, so if you like cold soup, go ahead and eat this one without heating it up. On the other hand, I’ll be eating mine warm—but while I’m sitting in front of a fan, thank you very much.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “green salad.” I love that it implies that not all salads are green, because of course salads come in a rainbow of colors. Today’s salad fits the phrase though—it’s all green all the time: bright green romaine lettuce, dark green parsley, light green cucumbers and celery. The celery leaves went into the dressing, which is rich with tahini and bright with lemon juice. 

Dessert has one of my favorite spices: cardamom. I toasted and ground the seeds, and mixed them into a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream, along with some lemon juice, honey, and a little bit of sugar. The result is a soft cloud of sweet, fragrant cheese. Floating on top is a raft of diced ripe kiwis. It’s a lovely combination—fruit and fluffy cream. Perfect for a warm, feels-like-summer evening.

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