One of the ideas I enjoyed from the author of Zero Waste Home was how she likens cooking to dressing. She always has on hand two grains, two beans and two pastas and then assigns basic meal ideas to each day of the week (I.e. pasta on Monday, a bean dish on Tuesday). While Bea admits some people might find this less exciting than having several options in a pantry at one time, it’s similar to the fact that we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time.
So I started pulling out all the random ingredients I’ve acquired and, boy howdy, was she spot on. Some time ago I went through this phase of making risotto so I had a 64 ounce yogurt tub of Arborio rice that, when I opened it, looked quite peculiar. As I began to empty the contents into a glass container, all was revealed to me (in disgusting detail). Little buggies had infested my container and, frankly, made my life simpler. I tossed the lot of it on our compost pile and let go of the idea that I had a few risotto dinners I really needed to get to making.
Armed with determination I pulled out black beans, brown rice, buckwheat, couscous, garbanzo beans, Great Northern beans, lentils, navy beans, oat groats, red lentils, split peas, and wheat berries…sans buggies. I am living proof of Bea’s theory and I am now whittling down my selection of beans, grains and pasta. I have to admit, however, that some of these items were an accident. I was 100% convinced the buckwheat was barley which just goes to show that the bulk foods section can seriously tax an otherwise normally functioning brain.
With this soup recipe, I have only five ingredients to go to meet my goal!
Wine suggestion: Due to the mellowness of this dish and the addition of the herbes de Provence and black pepper, I’d go with a fruit-forward Pinot Noir such as 2008 Gresser Vineyard Pinot Noir-Willamette Valley.
Fresh Tomato, Lentil & Onion Soup
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped **Garden fresh preferably
2 celery ribs, chopped
¾ C split red lentils
2 large tomatoes, peeled & roughly chopped **Garden fresh preferably
3 ¾ C vegetable stock
2 tsp dried herbes de Provence
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish **Garden fresh preferably
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the lentils are cooked and tender, set the soup aside to cool slightly. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, return to the saucepan and reheat gently until piping hot. Ladle into soup bowls to serve and garnish each with chopped parsley. Serves 4-6. Taken from Vegetarian by Linda Fraser.
Note: Pair with a fresh salad and crusty bread for a balanced dinner.