cleaning up and out December 1, 2010

It’s been a little quiet around RWT since last week. I’ve been super busy with work and upcoming projects…and you know how the holidays are. Overall, I’ve needed a good reset. Our plans to go to Charleston for turkey day with Helen – more on that soon – finally got sorted out and we spent a great weekend away. Amazing dinners, great cocktails, some photo taking. I came back hoping to feel settled and ready to tackle the last month of this year…and I didn’t.

I’m restless. Uninspired. Fidgety. A little on edge. Things aren’t happening the way I’d hoped the last few weeks. I’m tired of being tired of being disappointed. I’ve spent the last few days prepping for jobs…and at the same time… randomly cleaning out the fridge. Getting on a ladder to get to that top cabinet shelf that I haven’t seen since we moved in. Wiping down door handles that have been neglected. Needing more support and less clutter. Less noise. Less…meaningless stuff. All this activity goes together right now. I need more creativity and less distraction…so until I find that balance, I’ll sort through magazines and alphabetize things, thank you very much.

There’s also soup. I made a recipe similar to this some time ago…but this one comes together in a flash – it’s just not as fussy. I found a quart of red lentils on our shelves – hidden behind some crystallized ginger and some garlic herb mix and some Rancho Gordo beans and heavens knows what else  – that needed to be used. They’re taking up space but I love them and hate that we’ve forgotten each other. Seriously, folks…get this simmering on the stove then move on to something else. Come back in about 20 minutes and finish it up. It’s that easy. I’ve altered the recipe a bit to add a bit of acidity to the mix with a hefty squeeze of lemon juice. I’ve also kicked up the heat a bit with a Thai red chili – feel free to omit if the spice isn’t your thing.  You don’t really need the yogurt and the cilantro garnish…but it sure makes it look pretty.

Red Lentil, Chili and Chickpea Soup – serves 4 – adapted from a recipe found here at BBC Good Food

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 thai red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion , chopped
  • 3/4 cup red split lentils
  • 3 1/2 vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup can tomatoes , whole or chopped
  • 1/2 can chickpeas – rinsed and drained (store or freeze leftovers)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • small bunch of cilantro , roughly chopped (save a few leaves, to serve as garnish)
  • 4 tbsp 0% Greek yogurt , to serve

– Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil, thai red chili and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have softened.
– Puree the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until it is a rough purée, pour back into the pan and add the chickpeas and the lemon juice. Heat gently, season well and stir in the cilantro. Finish with a dollop of yogurt and cilantro leaves.


Prerna Dec 1, 2010 09:12 pm

Lentil soup is one of my favorites! I’m sure you guys had great time Charleston. Isn’t it a gorgeous place?! We live no very far away from Charleston to that’s kind of out hideaway too :-)
Hope things get sorted out for you soon! Good Luck!

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

We did have a wonderful time. I absolutely adore Charleston – so jealous of you being nearby!

The Teacher Cooks Dec 1, 2010 10:12 pm

This soup will just be perfect for the cold weather this weekend. Hope that you sort out everything!

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Thanks, Wanda. Let me know what you think if you give it a go.

Cookin' Canuck Dec 1, 2010 11:12 pm

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you need to be doing right now – organizing, de-cluttering. This soup is so pretty and would be the perfect meal for a busy weeknight.

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

It’s one of the easiest, tastiest things I’ve made in a long time. 30 minutes total and boom – done. :)

hannah Dec 1, 2010 11:12 pm

gah, i’ve been the exact same way. feeling this need to declutter and inject my space with creativity, but not sure how. feeling generally uninspired.

this soup sounds so good. i wish i had a bowl right now.

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

It’s been comforting to know that it’s not just me. This actually might JUST be the season or time of year. Looking forward to meeting you for real soon! :)

theFromagette Dec 1, 2010 11:12 pm

Great way for me to lighten up after Thanksgiving…beautiful pic!

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Thank you! :)

Rebecca Dec 2, 2010 09:12 am

i think it’s this time of year that unbalances people; i’ve felt much the same way and have had the same job 11 years and lived in my house for 12. boring, but… it’s the season, i tell you! the recipe looks interesting. do you prefer to cook with canned chickpeas for soups? or have you tired the dried & soaked them?

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Rebecca – For things like this (soups and quick & easy recipes), I prefer to use canned. Honestly…no matter how long I soak the chickpeas from my farmers market, they never have the right consistency.

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Dec 2, 2010 11:12 am

You’re not alone. I almost always get that very restless, don’t really know what to do with myself, feeling around this time every year. For me, I think it’s the anticipation of the upcoming stress of the Christmas season. Whatever the reason, I hope you find your groove and get back into it very soon :-)

Would you believe I’ve never had lentils. Nope, not once. But I can pretty much imagine the flavors of this soup and my imagination is saying “deliciousness.” On the to try list for soon.

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Lana- Never had lentils!? Wow…you’re missin’ out :) So inexpensive and versatile and they’ll last for forever. Thanks for the well wishes – I’m just in a funk but this too shall pass :)

Chris Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Yum! Love soups. Have actually only made green lentil. Need to get with the red.

Bummed I wasn’t able to hang with you all in C-town. Can’t wait to hear all about it. :)

tami Dec 2, 2010 12:12 pm

Chris – Check them out at YDFM. A quart of the red ones is $2-3. Incredible and they take on spice and ethnic flavors really well…

ErinsFoodFiles Dec 2, 2010 01:12 pm

Oh wow, this looks warm, comforting, and delicious! Bookmarking NOW! Can’t wait for a lazy Sunday to make this.

Sarah Dec 2, 2010 04:12 pm

Thanks for this — love lentils, love chickpeas. Happen to have a 1/2 can of chickpeas in the freezer, which means this gets made tonight! I don’t have a Thai chili lying around, but I do have Thai red curry paste and I bet a little dollop of that will be perfect. Thanks again.

Lucy Dec 8, 2010 07:12 am

The color on this soup is stunning – I almost thought it was a chunky butternut squash. I love the idea of chickpeas and lentils together – time to re-invent my stale lentil soup recipe! (Nice meeting you this week, too!)

Jerry Dec 14, 2010 03:12 pm

Can’t wait to make this tn! You should rly try this vegan chili recipe, its top-notch. I made it this weekend and still have leftovers! Plus the longer it sits the spicier it gets

Bob H Dec 20, 2010 08:12 am

I made this yesterday and it was wonderful and easy. Love your blog!

tami Dec 20, 2010 08:12 am

Bob! So glad you enjoyed it & thanks for the nice words about the blog :)

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