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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Blast of Winter Inspires Lentil Soup

If I just didn't have to go teach all afternoon, this would be a perfect introduction to winter. The Intermountain West is having an early winter storm, which is bringing snow to ski areas and the mountains in general. Here in the Rio Grande Valley, we'll probably have some snow showers, have in fact already had some this morning, some freezing rain, but not much in the way of accumulation. I woke up to the sound of icy rain on the roof, and went out to cover some more plants, bring in a few more to the warmth of the house. I'm fond of growing potted succulents and cacti which love their outdoor life during the summer, but have to winter over indoors. After plant duty, I was inspired to start a pot of lentil stew, which will warm our bones when Gail and I get home from work this evening. Although I indulged myself a couple of weeks ago by buying Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, this soup/stew is one I have made for years, using whatever I find in the refrigerator at the moment I decide to make it. Today's pot includes: onion, garlic, red pepper, pumpkin puree, celery, kale and carrots, roasted green chile. This evening when I warm it up, I'll add the leftover rice from the weekend's rice and pinto bean cassarole. As I also have some coconut milk leftover from a Brazilian dish I tried to replicate after we had it at Globalquerque, rice with fish in coconut milk, and as my niece Jessica finishes off her lentil soup with it, I'm going to throw some into this stew. We have some cornbread in the freezer from a batch I made before we went to Delaware for the birding trip, and that will be a fine accompaniment.

The Brazilian dish replication was, BTW, a great success. The folks at the music festival used tilapia, but I found some lovely mahi mahi at La Montanita Co-Op and used that. And, yes, the Delaware birding weekend. I really will get down to writing about the trip as soon as I recover from it. It takes us a while to pull our lives together after being away for a week, and we are now beginning the Thanksgiving Offensive, as we will have possibly as many as sixteen people for the Big Feast. The kids are coming from Denver, and we've invited local friends and neighbors. As long as we're doing it, we might as well do it Big!! The real fear is that this snow, which is much worse north of here and in Denver, may be the start of a winter of weather that closes Raton Pass with frequency. It would certainly result in some major disappointment if it happened again in a month.

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