Tomorrow I'm headed to London for three days of training with an Ayurvedic gynecologist. And when I return, Colm will be home. I can't wait for that, too. Honestly, I think I've forgotten how to be a bachelorette. There's no one here to share the food, so the leftovers are piling up in the fridge. And parts of my routine have really gone out the window. I've lapsed into old habits like reading until 1am, letting the dishes pile up, and talking to the cat...a lot.
Not that I think any of this is bad: in fact, it's very good to shake up the routine and stay up late; you know, just to see what actually goes on at 1am, since I usually miss out on that. And Miso has been very dominant of my lap, claiming it as her territory, which she doesn't do as much when there's two of us here.
I'm not sure what I used to do when I lived alone in Brooklyn. Did I divide recipes by 1/4? I do remember eating 'tofurkey jerky' sticks and single serving yogurts - things that were handy for one person - especially since I wasn't cooking much at the time. If you ever eat a tofu dog, don't microwave it - it melts. Colm was delighted at how easy I'd be to impress with a home cooked meal. As they say, you've come a long way, baby.
Now when I cook for one, I make dishes that have it all in one pot and are tasty enough to eat for consecutive meals. Like this one.
I found this soup really easy once the onion was chopped and it was all simmering. I modified it a bit, and added chopped spring green leaves for extra nutrients. I love the colours of it: red tomatoes, orange from the lentils, a bit of yellow turmeric, bright green cilantro and dark spring green leaves.
Tomato Cilantro Soup
Adapted from the New York Times, who adapted it from Martha Rose Shulman. July 7, 2006.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground
2 teaspoons hot curry powder (or mild if you prefer)
1 pound chopped tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound red lentils (a heaping cup), preferably soaked for several hours beforehand
1 quart vegetable stock
1 bunch chopped greens: spinach, chard or watercress are all nice
black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste (optional, omit for Pitta and Vata)
juice of 1/2 small lime
For garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, thick greek yogurt if you like
Heat the oil in a soup pot, and add the onion. Cook until translucent and sweet but not brown, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and spices; stir for about a minute, not too long; don't burn the spices. Add the tomatoes and put the heat just under medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have reduced their juices. Add the lentils and the stock; stir well and taste for salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils have broken up. Add the spring greens and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until they are bright green and tender.
When the lentils and greens are ready, taste the soup for spice and salt. Add black pepper and cayenne, if using. Add the lime juice and stir it in. Toss in a handful of chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves and take the soup off the heat. Stir the leaves around. Serve topped with a spoonful of thickened yogurt if you like. I didn't have any but it didn't matter; it was totally delicious anyway. I ate it with a fresh salad of leaves from our local farm with bits of fresh organic mozzarella. Perfect dinner for one.