I’ve been alluding to new beginnings for a couple posts now, and I’ll make good on it, I swear!
I made this lentil soup because I thought it would be healing. My father has been diagnosed with cancer and my first instinct was to cook. I find it therapeutic most of the time (ie. when I’m not under pressure to get dinner on the table!) and as soon as I found out, I started frying up some onions and envisioning healthy, hearty and anti-inflammatory things. I do believe that food can heal, or at least help keep one strong along the journey. It’s a practical way to cope with the curveball that’s been thrown at us. The unfortunate thing is that almost everyone is thrown this same unwelcome curveball at some point.
The result is this savoury mush. It’s meant to be a lentil soup, really. Something I thought would be easy and palatable. Something I could cook and share with Papa. Something that would heal.
With that in mind, I am planning to use this space to create cancer fighting and immune system boosting recipes that will benefit everyone, really. Who couldn’t use a little more kale and beets in their life? And in their smoothies. Yes.
And, with that, here’s something from my dad:
Hello dear readers. My name is Michael. My daughter Maya is the brilliance behind this delectable online resource, The Keen Kitchen. The blog began as a way to share unique, delicious and nutritional recipes for those of us who face or have loved ones who face health challenges. I spent my career as a communicator with writing as a core tool in my bag of tricks. I tried to counsel my kids to run away from anything that even had the faintest whiff of writing about it. Oh why didn’t they just listen and take on a satisfying career as a medical diagnostician? (I know, right?) You know the drill… Good money, flexible hours, travel the world one clinic at a time.
Well here we are now. You must agree that Maya is a first-class communicator and the medium she has chosen, healthy recipes for those who need to be a bit more creative with their ingredients, is of universal value.
Last week I was diagnosed with cancer. Not good. It looks like I’m on a faster track to enlightenment than I had imagined a week ago. I’m about to be medicalized. My natural default is optimism so I’m going to nurture that. I’ve also been advised to try to stay as physically strong as possible. That’s where this little venture comes in to play. Maya will add immune boosting recipes into the mix here at The Keen Kitchen. Food is love! I hear there will be a kale smoothie in my future? (Yep. There will.) Let’s spread a lot of that good stuff around to those, who may like me, be facing health challenges.
So stay tuned. Check out Maya’s recipe for lentil soup. I’ve always loved lentil soup in all of its permutations. This one is particularly tasty. It’s substantial, bursting with textures, exudes an oddly meaty meatlessness. Try it at home and you’ll find that it fills in the gaps in the gut in a most pleasant way.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried green lentils, rinsed
9 cups water (or more if you want a thinner consistency. Start with 9.)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 a head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium or medium-low heat.
Fry onion for about 15 minutes until softened.
Add salt, bouillon powder and cumin and stir until fragrant.
Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add lentils and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat low and simmer for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook a pot of brown rice.
After 45 minutes of simmering, use an immersion blender and blend slightly to add a little creaminess.
Add cauliflower and simmer another 15-20 minutes.
Stir in tahini, lemon juice and cooked rice.
Add freshly ground pepper.
Eat and be merry!
Makes a large pot of soup. Serve with a slice of lemon if you like. Add more water if you want a soupier soup!