There comes a time in every food blogger’s life when she starts to experience serious blender envy. It started for me a few months ago, when I was cursing my cheap blender for its utter uselessness. I decided it was about time for a fancy blender of my own. So I contacted Blendtec (makers of the finest fancy blenders) and they kindly offered to help this poor food blogger out.
Not only did Blendtec send me the most gorgeous of all fancy blenders—the designer series—but they also agreed to let me give one away to one lucky reader! I wish I could pull an Oprah and give everyone a blender, but this is the best I can do.
This new blender works like a charm, guys. So far I’ve used it to make this ultra-creamy vegan soup (more on the soup in a minute), as well as coconut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew milk and avocado salsa verde.
I made the coconut butter first and the blender blew me away. What took me 15 minutes with my hand-me-down KitchenAid food processor took less than 45 seconds with this new blender, and I didn’t have to stop and scrape down the sides once. I just might retire the old food processor in favor of my new blender. I get giddy thinking about all the homemade pesto, hummus and nut butter we will make together.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of these new blenders is that they don’t have any knobs to catch drips (I’m messy) or look cluttered on the counter (I hate clutter). Thanks to a digital touch interface, the blender looks like a beautifully ambiguous machine when it’s not in use. It’s so easy to wipe clean with a damp rag. It’s also made in the USA and built to last, and the jars are made with BPA-free plastic.
My dear future blender winner, I should warn you that you may have trouble deciding which color to get. Champagne like mine, black, cream red? I deliberated on the choice for a while. I wanted a color that would coordinate well not only with my current tiny, dishwasher-less, crooked-cabineted kitchen, but also with my spacious and bright, white-subway-tile-backsplash-with-a-giant-dishwasher dream kitchen. Champagne seemed like a nice, neutral color and I think it will look dreamy in my future kitchen.
But maybe you already have a fancy blender. Maybe you want to hear about some soup you can make with it! I came across this one when I was flipping through Martha Stewart Living’s latest cookbook, Meatless. The cookbook is full of creative, easy vegetarian dishes that are right up my alley. I couldn’t decide what to cook first, but the title of this spicy, hearty soup captured my attention with the words “dried cherries” in the title. I adore tart dried cherries and the idea of incorporating them in a savory soup intrigued me. At first bite, I thought it was a bit of a funny combination, but after the flavors had a chance to meld, I really loved the addition.
Out of curiosity (read: I can’t stop playing with my new blender), I decided to try puréeing a bowl of soup after making it according to the cookbook’s directions. Though it produced a lusciously creamy bisque, my taste tester and I agreed that it was better when it retained some of the distinct textures and flavors of the ingredients. Bottom line: strain out some of the vegetables before pouring the rest in your blender as stated in the recipe below. It’s worth the extra trouble and the soup comes together quickly regardless.
Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Indian
Spicy vegan soup with bold Indian flavors, including curry powder and coconut milk. Fresh cilantro and tart cherries round out this hearty soup. This soup’s flavor depends on your selected curry powder, so choose one you love! Serve with a side of whole wheat naan, if you’d like.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 piece (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (¼ cup)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk (reduced fat or regular), divided
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped tart dried cherries or cranberries
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves for garnish
- Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped ginger, garlic, shallot and carrots. Sprinkle a dash of the salt over the vegetables and cook until softened, stirring often, about 7 minutes.
- Add curry powder and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rest of the salt, ½ cup of the coconut milk, the water and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Pass 2 cups of soup through a fine sieve into a bowl to separate the solids from the liquids. Reserve the solids for later and return the strained liquid to the pot of soup.
- Let the soup cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender until smooth. You may need to do this in batches as you do not want to fill the blender jar more than halfway. If necessary, reheat soup after blending, then stir in the reserved solids.
- Reserve some cherries for garnish and stir the remaining into the soup, along with the cilantro stems. Ladle soup into 4 bowls and swirl in remaining ¼ cup coconut milk (1 tablespoon coconut milk per bowl). Garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves. This soup is great with a side of lightly toasted whole wheat naan.
- Recipe lightly adapted from Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes from Martha Stewart Living.
- On using a Blendtec blender for this recipe: my wildside jar was large enough to accommodate all of the soup that I needed to blend. I used the soup preset, which warmed up the soup as it blended it. So convenient!
- The recipe suggested to serve the soup immediately, but I preferred the next day’s reheated leftovers.
UPDATE 2/14: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Heather for winning the Blendtec blender!
Now then, about that giveaway! One lucky winner will receive each of the following:
- One Blendtec Designer Series Blender with Wildside Jar
- One Twister Jar with spatula (shown above left, $119 value): great for nut butters, hard-to-blend mixtures and small batches.
You have three chances to enter:
- For one entry, leave a comment on this post to tell me what you would make with this blender.
- For one entry, follow cookieandkate via ANY of the following options and leave one comment to let me know: facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, google plus, RSS or receive blog posts by email. (If you already follow cookieandkate via any of those listed, that counts! Just leave one comment to tell me, and thank you for following. Please note that this option only counts as ONE entry even if you follow on multiple sites.)
- For one entry, subscribe to Blendtec’s weekly blog email newsletter and leave a comment to let me know.
Note that you must leave a separate comment for each potential entry. You will find the comment form at the bottom of this post.
The fine print: This giveaway is open to US residents only from Tuesday, February 5, 2013 until Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm CST. One winner will be selected using random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 72 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Entrants must submit a valid email address in order to be eligible to win. Entry email addresses will not be shared with any third parties. Maximum 3 entries per person.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Blendtec. Blendtec sent me a blender to review and keep. Opinions expressed are my own, always. Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post and I’d be much obliged if you used them. Thank you.