This week for my A Recipe A Week challenge, I made the Spicy Red Lentil Soup from Homegrown, by Mairlyn Smith. Homegrown is a really unique book for a few reasons. For starters, it celebrate Canadian foods. There are so many twists on dishes from around the world, but they are all created with specifically Canadian ingredients in mind. Another reason I love this book is because the recipes have seasons listed at the top when the ingredients will be available. For example, all the asparagus recipes have “spring” listed at the top. It makes it super simple to know what dishes are going to taste the best with what’s available right now. The third reason I love it is because all the recipes were submitted by members of the Ontario Home Economics Association, which is a group I am very proud to be part of. Home Economics is a profession most people aren’t familiar with, and I feel like this book really showcases what we’re all about.
So this recipe…
As per my own rules for this challenge, I had to make the recipe for this week between Monday and Sunday. This ended up with me making soup on Monday night instead of Sunday, like any normal meal-prepper.
There is something weirdly meditative about setting out all your ingredients and chopping the vegetables and measuring everything out that makes you feel very in control of your own little world. I cook a lot for work (that is my job), and I absolutely love it, but being able to cook for yourself and not worrying about following the recipe to the letter is an entirely different process. For example, I somehow lost the bag of lentils I really needed for this recipe. Like, lentils are in the name, how am I going to make this without lentils? I still haven’t found them, I have no idea where they went. But it’s not the end of the world. No one says I can’t put a can of chickpeas in my soup instead! Yes the lentils would melt into the soup a little better and make a different texture, but chickpeas still have protein and fibre and are tasty. It’s just not the end of the world. Not everything you make has to follow a recipe perfectly. It does have to feed you and make you happy.
And this recipe seriously makes me happy. The spice blend includes black pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon. Combined with the shallots and garlic, the kitchen smelt soooooo good. The spices make the soup spicy in a kind of unexpected way. The other unexpected thing here are the dried apricots. They soften up and add the subtle sweet pieces to the soup. Combined with the cinnamon, it reminds me kinda of Moroccan-inspired dishes. I am so excited to have a big bowl of this in my lunch every day this week! Meal prep doesn’t have to be this big awful chore. Sometimes it can just be you making a big pot of soup on a Monday night to feed you through a drizzly foggy week.
The big lesson here this week: find something that is just really pleasant to make to feed you all week and that you will look forward to eating every day. Calling something “pleasant to make” sounds weird, but what I mean is something simple, something uncomplicated, something that’s not stressful and that is open to your own unique tastes and pantry. Something that isn’t totally wrecked when you manage to lose the main ingredient.
Now I’m off to find something to make for next week!