Food is a wonderful and powerful way to help families feel a sense of connection to their cultural background through the generations.
Today popular food photographer, stylist, and blogger – Aran Goyoaga of the award winning blog, Cannelle et Vanille, shares with us how her Basque heritage has influenced her in the kitchen and how she continues to share Basque food with her children.
My passion for food and cooking began at a young age as I was surrounded by great cooks and professional chefs. My paternal grandparents lived on a farm where they grew everything they ate and my maternal ones owned a pastry shop where everything was made fresh daily. Basque food is simple. It is all about taking excellent raw ingredients and manipulate them minimally to keep their identity intact. This has really shaped who I am and how I cook today.
Although there were great lunches and dinners going on and people coming and going, there were also humble and simple dishes being cooked by my grandmother and mother. Vegetable stews, soups and legumes were staples.
But I didn’t always have this love for vegetables as I do now. I remember being about 5 years old, my mother sitting next to me patiently feeding me lentils well after everyone else had finished their lunch. She still reminds me to this day how picky of an eater I was as a child. I smile because lentils have really become one of my favorite meals ever and I cook them for my family at least once a week now.
As a mother of two, I think how I can bring my children closer to my culture and heritage and food is the perfect way. Food creates memories.
My kids love this soup served with grilled cheese sandwich triangles that I make with gluten-free bread and raw milk cheese. The call it the “brown soup with cheese”.
Don’t forget to visit Aran’s beautiful food blog, Cannelle et Vanille for more beautiful food photography and recipes.
Recipe: Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 turnip, diced
- 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- ¼ red kuri squash, peeled and diced
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 chorizo, sliced
- 1 qt chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup French lentils or any other kind you like
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 5 springs of thyme
- Rinse the lentils and cover them with water. Let them soak for about 4 hours. It’s not completely necessary but I find that they cook faster and are better for digestion.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook them for about 5 minutes. We don’t want to caramelize them, just sweat them.
- Add the tomato paste, chorizo and rest of vegetable and cook them for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, water, thyme, lentils, pepper and salt. Stir and bring this to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the lentils cook for about 45 minutes until tender. Adjust seasoning to your taste and serve with your favorite gluten-free (or not) bread, cheese toast or plain.