This week I got to try out a Vidalia Chop Wizard at Warren's house. He didn't know his folks even had one. I used it to make soup this week, and it worked like a champ. You have to cut vegetables down to size, but that didn't surprise me. Whoever bought it had thrown out the box and whatever documentation came with it, so I didn't know it was dishwasher-safe. Still, I was very impressed. When I can justify the expense, I Want One.
I've been looking at food choppers. Grandmom used to have a device similar to the "Slap Chop" for chopping nuts, so I was curious. I tested out a "Slap Chop" this week and was underwhelmed, as the thing didn't rotate as promised. I also tested one by Cuisinart and couldn't get the thing back together. The only one that appears to be dishwasher-safe is the KitchenAid one. More research is necessary. I made the mistake of buying a food chopper for $5 at the Grocery Outlet, only to find out the chopper I bought doesn't rotate. Meh. Useless. The garlic stuck to it. I want the performance Brian Boitano gets with his, which apparently was under $20.
This past week's soup was French Lentil with Turkey Kielbasa.
French Lentil with Turkey Kielbasa
approx 1qt water (for soaking lentils)
1 c French Lentils
2T olive oil
9 large ribs of celery, chopped
5 medium sized carrots, chopped
3-4 medium-sized onions, chopped
1/4 c garlic cloves, minced
1T dried thyme
1tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 can tomato paste
4 qts of chicken broth/stock (the stuff in the carton; you can substitute boullion and water for some of it)
1 package Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa or sausage (2.6lbs)
salt and pepper to taste
Bring 1qt water to boiling; add lentils and remove from heat. Soak for at least 15 minutes, then drain.
In 2T olive oil, saute the celery, carrots, and onions until wilted and translucent (the culinary term is "sweat"). A small sprinkle of salt helps here.
While the mirepoix (the vegetables) are "sweating it out," halve the sausage lengthwise, halve the halves, then cut the strips into chunks around 1/4"-1/2" long.
Add garlic, thyme, cumin seeds, bay leaves, tomato paste, broth/stock, and sausage chunks.
Add drained lentils. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for at least an hour, or until lentils are "al dente." Serve and enjoy.
The soup was a major hit. Everyone took seconds. I was able to let it cook while I did other things (like work, help Warren's mother, work, eat, work....).