Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Need a Little Comfort (Food)

         Exactly what does the expression 'comfort food' mean?  For me, it means the feeling of warmth and kindness of loving arms surrounding me in times of pain and stress.  Often that feeling is associated with childhood and a loving parent who nurtured and nourished.

         When I need a bit of TLC,  I make soup!  And cold weather is a clarion call to my maternal instincts that it is time to pull out the cook books and the soup pot.

         One of our long time favorites is Lentil Soup.  I have a number of good recipes but always return to my dog-eared copy of 'Moosewood Cookbook' for Mollie Katzen's original recipe.  My cookbook is falling apart at this point but it has my notes in the margins and many years of cooking splatters on it representing a lifetime of cooking from scratch for my family.

     Here's the recipe with some modifications I've made over the years.  It's a tried and true winner!

          Lentil Soup

Simmer 3 cups of dried lentils in 7 cups of water or stock for 3-4 hours.  Add salt to taste. (1-2 tsp).  Saute the following in olive oil:  2-3 cloves of garlic,1 cup of minced onions, 1 cup of chopped celery and 1 cup of chopped carrots.  Add the vegetables to the lentils after they have simmered for 3-4 hours.  Add 1 large can of chopped tomatoes in puree (28 oz),  a splash or two of dry red wine, 2 Tbs of lemon juice, 2 Tbs of molasses or brown sugar and a splash of red wine vinegar. Sometimes I add a few potatoes or pasta although it is delicious without the starch too.  

Add thyme and oregano OR basil and lots of crushed black pepper.  Continue cooking for 15 to 30 minutes. (If adding pasta, don't add the pasta too soon - follow package directions for timing)  Taste to adjust seasonings.
Garnish with chopped scallions and sprinkle with more vinegar before serving.

 I prefer the  vegetarian version of this recipe but  occasionally add some chopped Canadian bacon or leftover ham if the carnivore is restless. 

Today's Take-away -  Some 'comfort food" is both nutritious AND self-soothing.


  1. Looks really good Barbara. I can't have a tomato based soup anymore. Makes me sad. I do love a good soup in the fall and winter though. I need to go dig my lentil soup recipe out. Haven't made it for a while. I know it is different. I'll share it. Thanks for sharing your favorite. xxoo Nancy

  2. I loved the way you started the post! Beautiful, comfort food is something I relish when I am stressed & depressed. I love bread with peanut butter & anything my moms cook. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us ! :) Take care dear!


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