Well, these last few days brought me an unexpected joy that coopted all of my attention after work: my dad found a cookbook that my mother had been writing on his computer!! One of my initial reasons for starting this blog was to have a space to document my own experiments in the kitchen and also work through various recipes of hers. Up until yesterday, I had about 12 hand-written cards from her recipe box that she given me as a wedding gift. Within this new drafted cookbook I found pages and pages of amazing content such as her notes on my great-grandmother’s gnocchi, various holiday meal menus and traditions, her english muffin bread, and so much more.
In honor of this newfound treasure trove, I made Lentils Monastery, which she noted in the book as being “very satisfying and easily varied to your taste. I have seen meat added or other vegetables. Even beer. [We got this] from the ‘Recipes for a small planet’ cookbook.”
So, Mom, this one’s for you. And here’s to many more nights pouring through your favorites, your notes, and keeping them alive as traditions within our family.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions – diced
- 2 large carrots – chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Marjoram
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of lentils (dry)
- 1 lb can of tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
Steps and Notes:
- Warm up a soup pan and add the oil, then saute the onions and carrots for 3 minutes
- Add the spices and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the stock, lentils, and tomatoes to the pot.
- Sprinkle two large pinches of salt
- There isn’t much other salt in here, so this is an important step (particularly as we used a low-salt can of tomatoes)
- Cover and cook for 45 minutes
- Remove from the heat, and mix in the sherry. (Note: this will not cook off the booze, but really adds some great flavor to the final soup!)
Serve with grated pecorino cheese and toast. (Makes about 4 servings)
Thoughts for Next Time:
- Serve with Cornbread or cornbread muffins (noted as an essential step in Mom’s notes!)
- Top with parmesan or swiss cheese
- Double the spices – the current recipe was pleasant, but it wouldn’t hurt to use 1 tablespoon of each
- Add garlic – mmmm