For those chilly nights
Yesterday, snow arrived before dawn and traced the barren trees with wintry light, taunting us until we put on our running clothes, trekked out into the frigid air, and left only our footsteps behind. We arrived home pink-cheeked and slightly hoarse from the chilly wind, giddy from snowball fights and snowmen and the feeling that everything had been scrubbed clean and restored to its proper order.
Don't make me cry
The first snowfall is always the best. The trees have been barren just long enough to make fall seem distant, and the cold hasn’t had a chance to settle into one’s bones just yet. It’s the perfect excuse to do all those cliched things one does at the start of winter: drink hot chocolate with marshmallows, go sledding with all the neighborhood kids, and make hearty winter fare.
There’s something so soothing and cheerful about a warm, wintry soup, and the one I want to share with you today is a perfect dinner or post-run snack for warding off winter’s chill. And topped with golden melted muenster and slices of toasted sourdough bread, it feels almost luxurious.
Wintry onion soup
Inspiration comes from the oddest places sometimes. A flicker of memory, a random happenstance, or the simple fact that you have something that needs to be used up in the fridge. This soup is a confluence of all three events, spaced over a few procrastinatory days. A half head of cabbage, begging to be finished, beautiful pictures of red lentils spotted in various corners of the web, and a random “One year ago” reminder from Smitten Kitchen all came together to bring me dinner.
This recipe tastes like a somewhat more substantial version of my favorite Indian restaurant’s lentil soup. I call it Comfort Soup because its smooth, slightly spicy temperament perfectly accompanies a hot mug of tea, a warm blanket, and some good company—all of which were part of my grand plan tonight.
This soup is simple enough for a weeknight dinner, even if it does take a little time to stew. You’re well rewarded in the end with the consistency of a pureed soup without all the fuss involved in rummaging through the cupboards for the blender.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Picture the scene: just another endless weekday here at home. The kitchen is as chilly and cluttered as I left it, early that morning, when the sun decided to stay hidden behind a vast shroud of gray. Twilight’s no different — perhaps a bit more melancholic — but how would I know? I’ve been on shift all day, in the windowless bunker I call work, playing with wires and signals and listening to the monotonous drone of vacuum pumps and fans all working away at establishing the 24-hour rhythm of a lab that never sleeps.
Yes, it’s February, and I fear this month is getting to me. But after seeing this seductive little creation, I had to try my hand at creating a little bowl of springtime sun to call my own.
My version is pale green, like the first buds emerging from the monotonous brownish gray of winter, and calls for nothing more than a small bunch of cilantro and a few staples you probably already have in your pantry. It’s light, despite the potatoes, and a perfect antidote to the shortest month of the year.