Stovetop Cooking

“But what can you cook without an oven? Pasta and rice? I can’t fry EVERYTHING!”

Chili in the works in the mini kitchen.

Ever since I arrived in France, I keep hearing the same complaint from the other teaching assistants. They have no idea how to cook anything with a stovetop alone. Color me bemused! Yes, it takes a lot more effort to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but there are so many delicious meals you can make with just a couple of pots and pans. Italian sausage and peppers! Chana Masala! Sharp Stovetop Mac-N-Cheese! And much, much more.

Now that it’s winter, I’ve been eating massive amounts of vegetable soup, and this recipe is my favorite. Really fills you up, and tastes special even though the base ingredients are mostly the same as a plain old vegetable soup or minestrone. Halving this recipe will fill a small pot and serve you 3-4 times.

Curried Vegetable Soup
6 cups unsalted vegetable stock or water
2 cups dried red lentils or yellow split peas
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes (any kind except russet) chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cut broccoli florets (omitted in the version I make, double the caulif.)
Cayenne to taste
1 small can (6 ounces) coconut milk)
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium soup pot.  Add the lentils, onion, ginger, cumin, garlic, salt, turmeric, cardamom, and coriander and cook on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
Add the cauliflower (and broc. if desired) and cayenne to taste and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables an the lentils are soft. Stir in the coconut milk, cook for 1 minute longer, and serve. Other personal favorites and more ideas:

Potato, Tomato and Black Bean Hash

Cooking Light Kung Pao Chicken

Skillet Peach Cobbler

Soups: 50 of Food Network’s Best

101 Salads by Mark Bittman

If you get really creative and want to try the stovetop apple pie, let me know how it works out. I’ll be searching out an oven for that feat.

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