Dec 24, 2011

Lentil Soup

Friday was a cold and somewhat gloomy day so I made my favorite cold weather food, lentil soup.

Some of the reasons it's my favorite are:
It's easy to make.
It's easy to modify.
It's a good way to use up stock and any scrag ends of veggies.
It tastes good.
It smells good as it cooks.

I could go on and on, but I won't. This is a good recipe to use as an example to show my thoughts process as I cook.

I decide to make lentil soup at about 0900 and spend 5 minutes searching for the lentils. I finally find a bag of them at the bottom of a plastic container filled with other bags of beans (my wife gets confused by unfamiliar beans and hides them away to avoid feeling threatened). I put the bag on the counter and open the fridge to look for vegetables. I have two carrots and the remnants of a bunch of celery. I also have some onions and garlic in the large storage bowl on the counter along with one lonely potato.

Cool! I dice the onion, celery, and potato. I mince the garlic, and grate the carrot.  I pour some olive oil into a soup pot (medium-low) and start the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery frying. I wash and dry my hands.

Now I pull down some spice jars. I put a hefty 3-finger pinch of whole cumin into the pot, followed by a 2-finger pinches of whole mustard seed, rosemary, thyme, and sea salt. Two dried chilis are tossed in whole. I have about 3 cups of stock left and I pour it all in followed by the potatoes and, at last, about a half pound of lentils. I wait until it starts to simmer, then turn the heat down until it's just barely on.

I get to work on my writing projects for the day. Every time I go out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, I stir the soup and add water if it needs it. Once the lentils are nice and soft, I add a cup of chopped tomatoes left over from the Metch failure.

About 1730 my wife decides that she wants to play a couple of games of Mancala. Before we start I toss check the cupboards and find a couple of partial boxes of pasta and toss them into the soup too.

Dinner is at 1830 and is wonderful. A big bowl of soup with plenty of refills available, a couple of slices of toasted whole grain bread with an olive oil based spread.

Now I've made myself hungry again.

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