Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's cooking: Lentil soup;
or,when it's squirrel-eating time

So about those squirrels . . . Last weekend when we were sitting around the beach house, much of the conversation concerned . . . the economy. Who had pulled out of the market, who was in. Who had gone to cash, to gold, to wine. Whose fault was it? Where is the bottom? Will it effect our long-term investments? Will it effect our current jobs? One friend's take on it was that in the near future it may get very bad: We'll all be eating squirrel for a while, and then it will slowly get better. And so that's where my mind has been: Is it squirrel time yet?

Thank goodness I have a volume of The Joy of Cooking that is old enough to have instructions for preparing squirrel (and porcupine, muskrat, and bear).

But if things get bad enough to threaten our food source, the Figs are eating lentil soup. It's easy to make, cheap, and we love it.

I've always got lots of chicken stock (I use the kitchen sink approach: everything goes in).

The rest of the ingredients are always on hand.

A big bowl of it—along with sandwiches of Gruyere, tomatoes, and good bread,

grilled on my pannini maker—makes for a perfect dinner.

And pickles and olives. Because everything is better with them, and besides I have new pickle forks.


2 tablespoons olive oil
large onions or several leeks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon
dried thyme
1 28-oz. can tomatoes with juice
7 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dried lentils, washed and picked over
6 oz. dry white wine

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and saute the onions, carrots, marjoram,
and thyme, stirring the vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, stock, and lentils. Bring soup to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour.

Add wine, stir, and serve.

Then go make some more to stock up in the freezer. Because squirrel-eating time could be around the corner.


Trish said...

I love your pickle forks! I've never even heard of a pickle fork, but yours are beautiful. And the soup looks good too. In an attempt to get my kids to eat healthier I've been cooking lentils, but they are a hard sell around here.

J said...

It's finally getting cold here and that dinner looks like the best dinner ever for chilly temps!

My mom has the Joy of Cooking with squirrel recipes. Sadly, I have a much newer version sans squirrel, but you can bet anything that some day the older version will be mine!

Kat said...

I love that in your efforts to deal with having no money you are using your pannini maker! For those of you who consider this to be a basic cooking utensil- you may not see the humor. Ah well.

Anonymous said...

Cindy -- I found your blog because figs and lavender are among my favorite ingredients. Good for you! I enjoyed reading about your fig trees -- they're a fragile indulgence here in Alabama but my sister-in-law in Tennessee has one. And you know that here in the South we've never really stopped eating squirrel! (Just kidding, just kidding...)

Jen Yu said...

OMG! What is that pannini maker thing? Is that to make awesome sandwiches? Why didn't you show it to me when we met in Bezerkeley? Why don't I own one?! I am a sandwich WHORE and I never knew what those buggers were for! *swoon*

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Can I come eat at your house? Looks tasty! Or you can come here, there are plenty of squirrels in IL, fat ones, too. And not far from here, there is a town that is infested with pure white ones. lol.

Cindy said...

kat: I love that silly machine. It's one of the few useful nonplastic gifts I have ever received from my MIL. What's really silly is that I am blogging about thrift but spent a rather astounding amount on that Gruyere cheese. . . .

jen: You must acquire one of these. You know, one time I made sammies out of sliced brioche and chocolate. That's right: dessert sammies. I've even thrown this in the car to take to the mountains!

mrs. d: Yes, you may come over any time! My husband was claiming the other day that he did not think squirrel would be that bad. It's a RODENT!! Blech.

Midge said...

yummmm those panninis look great! A yummy fall combo!

adozeneggs said...

You've inspired me!
I'm making my lentil soup on Sunday. Yours looks delicious. And my freezer is almost empty!!

KSK said...

So, when it turns muscrat-eatin' time does that mean our 401Ks have hit nil? :(

Thanks for inspiring pics!