We made our first attempt in two months to dine out. I haven’t been willing to go until this point out of the sheer depression I will feel as I sit there eating my stinkin’ bowl of rice as my husband devours his lacquered short ribs and swills his beer.
We decided the Japanese place was our best bet as surely they have rice there. I ordered an avocado roll and a sweet potato roll. Nothing crazy or on the list of forbidden foods, but the sweet potato inside the roll arrived covered in a crispy tempura crust. A good mother would’ve taken one look at her infant son, seen the look of horror on his face and pushed the plate aside, but I threw all caution to the wind and thought what the hell.
Well that night was a nice introduction to what hell might be like—endless hours holding an inconsolable, screaming baby who refused to eat. He’d had enough of my carelessness and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Feeling tired and defeated I took out the final weapon in my arsenal—the formula. Fearing the worst I fixed him a bottle and he wolfed it down. I fixed a little bit more and he took that down too. After the second bottle he looked up at me, burped and probably wanted to say, “what took you so long lady?” but his English isn’t quite there yet.
So that’s that, I’m back to eating and he’s happy as a clam, well an infant clam who refuses to sleep and suffers bouts of annoyed boredom at 4 o’clock in the morning.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 leek, thoroughly rinsed and chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound lentils, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 small bunches parsley, minced
- 4 scallions, minced
- 2 teaspoons capers, minced
- 3 tablespoons orange muscat or champagne vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Add leeks and shallots and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until soft and translucent then add celery and cook a couple minutes more. Add garlic, cook another minute more then add squash and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until squash is just beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat until lentils are soft, about 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, you also might need to add more stock if soup seems too thick.
- While soup is cooking combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Add a little freshly ground black pepper and add salt if necessary (this will depend on the saltiness of the capers and your tastes).
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of salsa verde.