When the weather calls for soup

Extra carrots make it heartier and sweeter

It’s been raining all day here in NY and when that happens, it’s feels all damp outside and kind of raw inside too. Weather like that says to me, “it’s time to make some soup.” I like soups because they are warming, healing and filling. The ones I choose to make are usually pretty easy as well. At one time I used to like to create complicated meals with lots of steps. Over time I learned that I can make something just as delicious in one pot. Less fuss, less muss. Usually what I do these days is find a recipe that I like and then adapt it by adding or subtracting flavors or foods that would make my soup just right for my household.
Like how the Three Bears would like to find it. Just right.

I have many cookbooks that I go to for ideas and inspiration.
On a rainy, raw day, there is one that I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy following, (and adapting) the recipes and that is Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings by Edward Espe Brown which I picked up at a Borders Books Sidewalk sale when it was first published in 1997. Luckily I managed to get a first edition of this beautiful book for a very happy price. It is now out of print and I saw that there are still some available on Amazon which is lucky for you if you want to get a copy.
Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings

Edward Espe Brown is a wise man and a good cook. A Zen priest first ordained by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1971. Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachingc combines Zen teachings and cooking to create a wonderful interplay between abstract philosophy and everyday life.

Today I made Lentil Soup with Cumin, Coriander and Lemon
I added Kale and extra carrots to the recipe so here is my version of his recipe found on page 7
As Ed Brown says, “This is a fine soup for getting to know the ingredients by tasting carefully before and after each one: tasting the lentils, then lentils with vegetables and garlic, then with the cumin, with coriander, with lemon and finally with parsley. See what you think.”

1 cup organic Green Lentils (washed and sorted to remove stones, debris)
8 Cups water
Bay leaf
1 medium yellow onion
2 tbs olive oil (optional)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks celery diced
6 large carrots sliced
1 cup cleaned cut up kale
1 tsp cumin seed fresh ground best
2 tsp coriander seed fresh ground best
Peel of 1/2 lemon grated (organic)
Salt to taste (optional)
Flat leaf parsley a few sprigs minced for garnish

Place sorted,washed lentils, water and bay leaf in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes until the lentils are soft. The lentils could also be pressure-cooked. When they are soft see what they taste like.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, cumin, coriander and kale to the lentils and cook an additional 30 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the lemon peel.
Before serving check the seasoning and garnish with parsley.
Yum! Hearty, healthy soup.