My daughter recently sent me some lovely cards she’d made, and I think this one just captures the mood of the season. It’s time for soup!
Since New Year’s Day, I’ve been on a soup-making kick. I’ve made my old favorites, like the parsley-potato soup, pictured above, and tried out some new variations, like Martha Rose Shulman’s cauliflower-curry soup, also pictured above.
The great revelation of 2011 was the immersion hand-blender, which simply renders vegetables into creamy soups — without any cream. The wonder of it, though, is in the clean-up — snap off the blending-part of the stick and wash it. The hand blender has made life (at least when it comes to blending) so much easier that I’ve semi-retired my regular blender to an undisclosed under-the-counter location. (The hand blender is also wonderful for smoothies…. my favorite is mango lassi made with frozen mango chunks, yogurt and milk…)
Some other soups I’ve made in the last week: broccoli-potato (another for the hand blender, and good with a little nutmeg and pepper), minestrone, and Lebanese lemony-lentil with spinach.
Italians say that eating lentils on New Year’s Day (Capodanno) will bring you luck (the lentils are said to resemble coins and thus eating them will increase your chance of becoming rich). Though I made my lentil soup a few days after Capodanno, it still couldn’t hurt to eat lentils…
Though there are plenty of ways to make lentil soup, this recipe remains my favorite version, and it’s particularly nice that I almost always have all the ingredients I need in my kitchen already. I like to add a little cayenne, chipotle or cumin to spice it up a bit.
Along with your soup, enjoy some good bread, of course (it won’t kill you). Also, how about a little salad?
Citrus is especially nice in a winter salad, I think — adding bright color, contrast and refreshing tart-sweet flavor. I used oranges in these salads, but sections or pieces of grapefruit, mandarins or Meyer lemons would all be just fine as well. Or mix several kinds of citrus with a vinaigrette, with or without lettuce or greens. Or avocado.