I love making soup. It’s a great way to use up odds and ends in the refrigerator or pantry, and warm you up on cool evenings. And since I rarely follow a recipe, each one is always different.
This batch of lentil soup was ready in less than an hour and has fed me for a week:
Here’s how I did it:
3 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
5 Swiss chard leaves, chopped
2 cups green lentils, rinsed
8 cups of water
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and remaining vegetables, cook for a few minutes to brighten their color. Add water and lentils along with 1-2 bay leaves and some branches of fresh thyme, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems, salt and pepper to taste.
This makes a large batch of soup that freezes well and reheats beautifully.
When I found myself wandering up and down Mission Street in San Francisco with a growling stomach, I couldn’t decide what to do. The biggest challenge that I run into when traveling alone is trying to figure out where to eat, I’m usually overwhelmed by the options. Then I saw a sign in the distance, all it said was “TEA * FOOD.” It doesn’t get easier than that, right?
Samovar Tea Lounge overlooks the Yerba Buena Gardens. They offer the encouragement to “Turn off your phone. Take a breath. Let us brew you a pot of tea and cook you a nourishing meal…” So I did. Well, not the phone part; but I spent a leisurely lunch getting sunburned while I drank tea and had my first rice bowl.
The rice bowls are served with the ingredients plated alongside a pot of green tea soup base. You add the tea to the dry ingredients in order to create the soup consistency that you desire:
It paired perfectly with the Nishi Sencha Tea that the server recommended:
The next time you’re wandering the Mission District in San Francisco and need to catch your breath, definitely stop in at Samovar.
It’s all about having a great recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t have one for you.
During an ideal week, I like to plan out my menus. On a typical Sunday before we go to the grocery store, I make a list of dinners we’ll have, the groceries that we’ll need, and then we hit the store to do our shopping. This is a great help for those days when you stagger in from work with eyes crossed and can’t making another decision – just consult the list! When that typical Sunday doesn’t happen, I enter into a world of improvisation and who knows what you might end up eating. That brings us to this delightful soup that I whipped up for myself the other night:
A more apt title for this blog post would be “Everything But the Kitchen Sink (Or Whatever You Have On Hand),” but that felt a bit longwinded.
There was no menu planning or trip to the store this week, and I was proud of myself for digging through the pantry for supplies instead of calling for pizza. Here’s what I threw in the pot:
1 box of vegetable stock
Some frozen chard
Some frozen peas
Diced (sort of) fresh celery
Diced fresh carrots
One sliced up shallot
The rest of a box of curly pasta
I seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried oregano; when the pasta was cooked, I added a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans.
VOILA, almost instant dinner – faster than pizza delivery anyway!
I encourage you all to fearlessly tackle your pantry and see what you come up with. Who knows, you might like it! Worst case scenario? You throw it out and call for pizza.