Sunday, September 14, 2008

House and Garden

My garden is at its height right now. The tomatoes are starting to ripen, and the sunflowers are taking on gargantuan proportions.
The squash hasn't done that well. A lot of it goes moldy on the vine before it gets very large. I think it may not be hot enough for a respectable crop.
But the Swiss chard is glorious. I think chard is the most beautiful vegetable there is because the stalks take on such outrageous colors. Here I picked a handful of pink and red chard, but the orange and yellow stalks are even more lovely.

One of the beauties of living on the coast is that you can make and enjoy soup year round. This recipe, which I cloned from 3 others, is one that has become a favorite. Maybe the weather is cooling down where you live and you're ready to make soup.

This recipe for Lentil Soup is very healthy and hearty and has no meat or meat broth.

Cut into chunks:
1 large onion
2 large carrots
2 celery ribs
In 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute these veggies over high heat for 5-10 minutes with:
8 cloves of garlic, smashed
a handful of chopped parsley
a teaspoon of dried thyme
a teaspoon of dried marjoram
2 teaspoons of salt
2 bay leaves
2 quarts of cold water
28 oz. can of tomatoes and their juice, chopped
1 1/2 cups of dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are almost done. Then add:
1 1/2 cups of potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups of zucchini or other squash, cut into chunks
3 cups of chard, spinach, or other greens, washed, trimmed and chopped
2 teaspoons of cumin
a handful of chopped cilantro
Cook for another 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are done. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you have it, add a slug of white wine (3/4 cup). If your soup is too thick, feel free to add more water at any time.

While you wait for the soup, read a magazine at the kitchen table

...or stretch out in a sunny spot.
In no time it will be done.
You can adjust this recipe to meet your taste: eliminating ingredients you don't like and substituting others, or changing the quantities of different vegetables. This is an excellent soup for a crowd, as you could feed the neighborhood with it. It would probably be fine if you halved the recipe, but then you wouldn't have leftovers.

Serve it with a dark or crunchy bread and a glass of wine. Mmmmm.


Anonymous said...

That is a luscious looking soup! I love lentils. I love that Swiss chard, too, I never noticed the colors before. Wow!

Granny Fran said...

I love lentils and this recipe will be good to use some some goodies from the garden.
Glad to see someone else growing patty pan squash; a favorite of mine since childhood. Mine aren't doing well this summer, only one each, so far, from the white and yellow plants. The zuchinni is doing well again this year; last summer I only got 1 !! Instead of the usual ton that I have to give away before it goes bad or gets too big.

sophie said...

Me, three. Your soup looks yummy. There's lots of wonderful produce at the farmers market at this time of year and I'll definitely be trying your soup recipe.

Allison Ann Aller said...

We've got most of those ingredients growing outside. Thanks for a great looking recipe.
Love seeing your garden, too...and your cat and your guy!

JoWynn Johns said...

Just our kind of food! Thanks for the great photos and the recipe. Our housekeeper grows Swiss chard just for us (she doesn't eat it), but it's the all-green kind. Tastes just as good, though. We'll get the best chard in November, after we've had some cooler weather.