Sunday morning I woke up feeling like a dragon had taken up residence in my mouth. No I don’t mean bad breath; I mean my mouth was on fire. I had a headache and every nerve in my body was screaming.
As much as I hated to admit it, I knew I needed to go to an Instacare. I arrived shortly after 8:00 am, thinking if I could just get this over with I could get on with my day. After all, I was expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 guests for dinner. The day before I made the most awesome (I hate that word, but it works) chicken stock and was planning on serving homemade chicken noodle soup, fresh bread and salad.
The good doctor walked in, told me to say “Awww”, and then escorted me over to the mirror. Shining his light into my mouth he asked me to take a look. “Holy cow! What is wrong with me?” to which he replied, “You have hand, foot, and mouth disease.”
As visions of farm animal galloped through my head, he quickly followed his diagnosis with, “No, no, it’s not what your thinking.” This is an illness that mostly children get. When kids contract it they have sores on their hands and feet, along with their mouth. Adults only get it in their mouth. It’s a virus. Sorry, there isn’t any treatment for it, but I can give you numbing medicine because it’s only going o get worse before it gets better.”
Stunned, I said, “How contagious am I?” “Pretty contagious; You shouldn’t be preparing food for anyone.” 😦 😦
So that’s a long explanation for why I have been home sick all week. My apologies to all of my clients I had to cancel, but trust me: You don’t want this.
For those of you who know me, sitting for anything but knitting, watching Blacklist, or meditating, is not my thing. Needless to say, this has been a hard week on many levels. So yesterday as I began to turn the corner, I put my disposable latex gloves on and made my favorite lentil soup. I took pictures along the way so that I could share the recipe with you. It used to be called “Lentil Soup” but yesterday in my somewhat sick state I renamed it, “Kick Ass Lentil Soup,” because well, I was feeling like kicking some ass after sitting on mine all week. I think the name is going to stick. Forgive me.
This is my offering to those of you I could not be with this week. It is comfort food. As for the rest of you who are reading this, enjoy the offering.
Kick Ass Lentil Soup
Ingredients: 1 large onion diced, 2 garlic cloves minced, 2-4 T olive oil, 2 quarts good stock, 1 med sweet potato peeled and cubed, 1 large carrot grated, 3 cups fresh grape tomatoes, 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1 T crushed basil, 1 tsp herbs de Provence, 1 tsp coriander, red pepper flakes to taste, salt to taste. Optional garnish, but well worth it…roasted peppers sliced thin, grated lemon zest, and hot sauce (I prefer Tapatio).
Heat 2-3 T olive oil in heavy soup pot and sauté onion and garlic until transparent.
Add French lentils and broth. Bring to boil and simmer 1 hour.
After simmering for 1 hour, add diced sweet potato and simmer another hour, watching water level.
Meanwhile wash grape tomatoes. Turn oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Toss tomatoes in remaining olive oil, herbs de Provence, kosher salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
After the soup and potatoes have simmered for an hour; add tomatoes, grated carrot, spinach, basil, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Decision time. If you like your soup chunky it’s done. Salt to taste and enjoy. Personally, this is where I get my immersion blender out and puree it. If you are a lover of the Salt Lake City restaurant, Mazza, you won’t want it any other way.
To make it extra special; after ladling the soup into bowls, garnish it with lemon zest, thin strips of roasted yellow, orange, or red peppers, and for extra spice, splash it with hot sauce.
Have a great week everyone and may you always find your cup half full 🙂
P.S. For some reason I was not able to add links to my post today. The chicken stock I made was from Ina Garten and can be found both on Food Network’s website and The Barefoot Contessa’s website.
Mazza Cafe is located at 1515 1500 E Salt Lake City, UT
Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
912 East 9th South
Salt Lake City, UT