One of my favorite places in my neighborhood market is this fantastic Middle Eastern market, always overflowing with fresh pita bread and naan, endless $1 spices by the scoop, and all of the nuts, grains, and everything Middle Eastern you could dream of. But more than anything, I love the great guys who run the place. And now that I live across the street, we get to see each other wonderfully often.
So yesterday when I walked over to pick up a few scoops of lentils, they of course asked what was on the menu. As soon as I mentioned “salmon”, their elderly mother who was sitting behind the counter immediately started talking a million miles an hour in her native language. Her son translated, “She says you must cook salmon and lentils this way — cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper and a nice bit of lemon juice. It is the best way. You will love it.”
As much as I adore my new loft, I definitely did a bit of downsizing with my cabinet space (and storage in general!). Eek. I’m convincing myself that this will help me try to cook with even more fresh foods (hopefully!). But in the meantime, my goal over the next few weeks is to try and use many of my pantry ingredients to save some space. So when the weather was nice and cool for the first time in months today, I decided to celebrate using a random bag of red lentils to make some easy lentil soup!
This soup is without a doubt one of my favorite impromptu meals to make because it is so easy to improvise! Just start with a basic base of your mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery), add some broth and lentils, and then thrown in whatever veggies, seasonings and even favorite extra proteins that you may have on hand! Today I decided to go vegetarian and just make the soup sans-meat, but did add in some delicious roasted red peppers and smoked paprika to give some extra flavor. And it was simply wonderful.