Until about 4 and a half years ago, my only shopping experiences at Trader Joe's were around the holidays and usually to buy alcohol and/or cookies. After I started dating the boyfiance, who was a Trader Joe's regular, I realized that they not only had my usual holiday vices, but other food too! I have no idea why it took me that long to figure out it was an actual grocery store filled with all sorts of thing I like to eat, but I'm glad I eventually came around.
Once I started shopping there regularly, I started telling my mum how great it was, and soon enough, one opened near her. Now that she's up in Washington, she still has one close by, so we're still on the phone telling each other about this or that great thing we found while shopping there.
In honor of our enthusiasm for Trader Joe's I sent her this book for Mother's Day. I recently bought a copy for myself, and so far I've only made 2 recipes, but I wasn't disappointed. I have to confess though, I already knew the lentil soup recipe was good because a friend had made it for the soup swap I participated in earlier this year. It worked great vegetarian, but I wanted to try it as written. It originally called for diced applewood smoked ham, and on this particular shopping excursion, I didn't feel like buying a big slab of ham, so I bought one of the small packages of chopped pancetta, and modified the recipe ever so slightly. I think the result was pretty darn tasty.
Le French Lentil Soup (this may not be the exact title, will change it later if it's not)
Adapted from "Cooking with Everything Trader Joe's"
1 package refrigerated steamed lentils (2 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pkg diced pancetta
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 2 Tbsp of fat left in the pan. Add onions and carrots and cook for 10 minutes or until onion softens. Stir in cumin and salt, cook for 1 minute. Add broth, lentils and reserved pancetta. Bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro
Prep and cooking time is about 20 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Your usual reminder:
Only 3 weeks left until the boyfiance rides all the way to Los Angeles! He's only $500 away from reaching his fundraising goal...
(Thanks to those who have already donated!)