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“Ninety percent of writing is simply the pot boiling.  The real work is letting it boil for hours and patiently distilling its essence.” (Camilla Gibb)    

I’m not sure how long my pot has been boiling, or when its

essence will be distilled.  But it’s back on the burner. Writing and thinking happen more at a simmer than a boil in my experience. Low and slow have served me well in my kitchen and at my desk.  

Winter is a good time to find yourself caught in overwhelm’s clutches.  You can seek solace in socially sanctioned hibernation.  You can putter and ponder and warm body and soul with bottomless bowls of soup.  And, when the time is right, you can embrace the renewal offered by winter’s close in principle if not in practice.    


Spring is more of a theoretical category than a lived reality on my side of the Atlantic.  I imagine I’ll be eating this hearty soup for a few more weeks before our not-quite-winter-or-spring finally concedes defeat and I retire it for the summer.  

Until then, may as well keep the pot on a little longer while I continue to distill the essence of my winter work.   


Not Too Spicy Lentil Soup  

adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion diced
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 and 1/4 cup red lentils
3 and 1/2 cups water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil at medium heat in a medium/large pot.
Add the diced onion and cook for 4-5 minutes.  
Add the spice mix (cumin, coriander, garam masala, ginger & turmeric). Cook for 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the lentils and stir well.
Add the 3 and 1/2 cups of water and increase heat to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Add the salt and pepper.  Let simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  
Remove from heat and ladle half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Return the blended soup to the pot and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve alone or with a dollop of greek yogurt.