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A simple soup brewing away over a gentle flame is a comforting thought. What better to have while nestled quietly next to the window while the winter turns steadily to spring. Still the air is a bit chilly and the brisk wind swept outdoors makes one even hungrier for soup.
Thoughts of early spring have me anticipating new life. I believe the garden landscape is intact from little to no blankets of snow. But, whatever becomes of spring, I know the plants will be happy to awaken and ready to delight our presence.
I do enjoy the garden most at this time; it’s the time when the alliums bloom. The plantings will first break ground, sleepy eyed and ready for new life; soon grow quickly as if by magic to fill the space into a lush oasis eager to be admired. And there I will be, watching at every moment.
For now, there are many decisions to make, what will be added, and what will be transplanted. It’s the constant state of movement a garden goes through, from humblest of beginnings to what it is to become. I have relaxed over the years to allow the garden to let me know what it wants to be. And in doing so, the garden has evolved into a place I cherish.
There is still time to enjoy comforting bowls or cups of soup as the weather takes us on a roller coaster ride. This soup is great with this out of the oven quick bread infused with fresh thyme leaves. What can be more perfect than bread and soup?
Sweetly fragrant thyme and nutty Gruyere. mmm…
Spring time can wait just a bit longer, I am still enjoying soup!
Have a great sunny weekend everyone!
Roasted Carrot Red Lentil Soup Recipe [Serves 4]
1 pound carrots, peeled & cut into 1” pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small fresh bay leaf
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons sherry [optional]
2/3 cup red lentils, picked over
5 cups chicken stock -or- vegetable stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
½ teaspoon regular -or- smoked paprika
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
1. Coat carrots in olive oil and place in a baking dish. Roast covered for 30 minutes.
2. Uncover carrots and continue to roast until they start to brown.
3. Meanwhile, sauté onions with bay leaf in remaining olive oil over medium heat until they are tender and starting to color.
4. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Deglaze with sherry if using.
5. Stir in spices, excluding whole cumin seeds, roasted carrots and lentils.
6. Give them a quick stir and add stock.
7. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until carrots are tender and lentil have fallen apart.
8. Puree soup until smooth and season with sea salt, adding more stock if necessary.
9. Pan roast cumin seeds until they start popping and are fragrant. Stir into soup.
Serve with or without cream.
Zucchini Gruyere Quick Bread Recipe [Makes 3 mini loaves]
1 ½ cups g/f baking mix*
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ – 1 teaspoon sea salt [depending on the saltiness of the cheese]
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sunflower oil
1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed of moisture
½ cup Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350°F
Spray three mini loaf pans with oil [I used a coconut pan spray.]
1. Combine the dry ingredients with the fresh thyme in a bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk and oil until smooth.
3. Stir in cheese and zucchini.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined and there are no dry pockets.
5. Promptly divide the mixture amongst the loaf pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
6. Allow loaves to cool in their pans or enjoy right out of the oven.