Thursday, May 3, 2012

Useful Information

A few nights ago when I was in the throes of my daily blogging adventure, I asked Matt, "What should I write about?" I asked for his input in spite of the fact that a few days earlier, he admitted that he had only skimmed some of my April posts. Skimmed! He goes, "I kind of read for the main idea; there's been a lot of tennis."


So then I got onto him about never having commented on my blog, never in FOUR YEARS, a period in which my father, my brother, all of my male friends, my brothers-in-law (ALL OF THEM), and my MALE COUSINS (3!) have dropped by my comment section. This conversation was on my blog anniversary, and I said to him, "So this is four years of your unbroken record of silence. Congratulations!" And he was all, "Well at this point it's kind of part of the schtick, right?"

The schtick!?! I mean, honestly! I can't even.

Okay. But obviously we are still in love and we can work through this.

So I asked him what I should blog about, and he goes, "I like it when you post useful information." He cited my broccoli-cauliflower post, my health insurance post, and my toilet-cleaning post of yore. I said, "Okay, what else would be useful information, do you have any?"

He offered, "Well, when you're playing basketball and you're really big but you're not that great at basketball, but you still want to make a contribution, remember that when you're guarding someone, nobody likes contact. So get in under the basket and box out. Fight for your spot." He went on, but that was the gist. Hmm, I thought about that. Nobody likes contact. A useful sports insight but I don't know if it's that tailored to my audience.

So here is my recipe for lentil soup instead.

You need:

bag of dry lentils, rinsed (lentils don't need soaking)
four slices of bacon
an onion, chopped
celery stalk, chopped
couple carrots, chopped
clove of garlic
32 oz. box of broth
2 cups water
salt n peppa
bay leaves if you wanna get fussy
an immersion blender or even a potato masher

In your heavy bottomed pot (I use a cast-iron dutch oven) cook the four slices of bacon. Now, I have made this soup with sausage and also with no meat at all. So you don't have to use the bacon. But...why wouldn't you? So cook the bacon and then use a fork to pick the pieces out and put them aside on a plate. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. Cook the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in the bacon fat. Your kitchen will smell like heaven at this point. One of the guys who works in your basement (you have those, right?) might wander in like a child and just stand there, sniffing the air.

When the onions are looking cooked, pour in the broth and dump in the lentils. Add two cups of water. Add whatever seasonings you feel up to and stir the whole thing together. Bring to a good boil, then turn down the heat, put the lid on the pot, and simmer for maybe 25 minutes. The lentils will start to come apart a little bit and then they're done. Tear up the bacon you cooked into tiny pieces and put them back into the soup.

At this point you need to decide what consistency you want the soup to be. Before I had a handheld blender, I would give the pot a good going over with a potato masher, just to break up some of the lentils and leave others intact. Now I give a few pulses with the immersion blender, but the basic integrity of the lentils remains.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Vital.

Even Hank eats this, and there is no greater endorsement that I can give for its kid-friendliness.

Hopefully you will find this to be Useful Information. Enjoy in health, and also remember that when you're playing basketball, get in there and work that caboose.



Anonymous said...

This is Very Useful. Gwyn and I love lentils and the kids are haughty in their disdain. This might turn the corner.

Elizabeth said...

You know, I think Matt should just be your wonderful husband and not influence what your blog is about. I hope that sentence comes across as being terribly witty and wry.

Nina said...

Are we talking red split lentils, brown lentils, puy lentils...? I don't think Boyfriend reads my blog. Actually, he possibly scans it to make sure he hasn't been mentioned. He is not a fan of being mentioned. He certainly wouldn't want to be part of any schtick. Please don't write any more about basketball.

Melissa B. said...

I'm so glad I finally have this recipe written down! I've tried to remember it on multiple occasions as you have recited it to me, but have failed miserably. The basketball tip is not much use to me at this point, but I may be able to pass it on to my children. Thanks Woomers!

Becky said...

We are here for you, Melissa!

Nina, I use the plain Jane brown lentils from the regular supermarket, but I think dupuy lentils would be amazing.

I promise not to write any more about basketball and to not let Matt wrest editorial control of this blog. I did have to go back in and correct his quote after he told me I didn't have it quite right.

Beth said...

I am so glad to see a post so soon after the daily adventure. I thought you'd be exhausted all through May.

Thanks for the recipe!!!

I don't think my husband reads my blog regularly. He's certainly never commented. I think he checks it every few weeks just to make sure there aren't any pictures he wants me to take down for security reasons. I know for sure my parents & my sister have never even *looked* at my blog. If you asked them what my blog was called, there is a 0% chance they'd know.

Anonymous said...

My husband says that as I give fair representation and accurate voice to his character, there is no reason to intrude and detract from himself. Most readers who can smell my hair or text my phone do not message me via my blog's interface, unless I say something that particularly moves them to actionable & pointedly-relevant discussion. One of those readers is a character and a commenter, and I wince every time a relay email comes in with his name on it. It's a loving wince.

Nigella gives a similar lentil soup recipe wherein you put the mirepoix ingredients and the bacon together in the food processor & grind them together into a delishy vegetable-bacon paste, and then you just proceed the same way. I love lentils, we all do.

Amy said...

If it weren't, I exaggerate not, 92 degrees already here at 1pm, I'd make this tonight. I love soup. I love lentils. I love lentil soup.

Maybe I will make a chilled lentil-rice salad instead.

I may be alone on this, but for usefulness in my life soup will trump defensive basketball strategy every time.

Bren said...

This may be WAY too fussy, but I recently discovered you can sprout lentils in a day. So I know the point of lentils is that you don't have to soak them, but if you DO soak them, starting the night before, they'll get little sprouts, and therefore, according to my hippie friends, all manner of supernatural powers. ("Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically.") But the kids will swear the sprouts are worms, which could be good or bad, depending on age and gender. That's my useful information.

Keely said...

Ha! The basketball tip is good for roller derby too, so both you and Matt have been Helpful to me today.

Amy said...

He's right-- it's part of the schtick now! It's like a sitcom, if Matt were to comment now, this blog would lose ALL of its sexual tension.

I've never had lentil soup, but it sounds yummy! Why do you not cook these things when I'm around? You're always making me get in the kitchen!

Aimee said...


And you know what? Jason has NEVER commented on my blog, either. Ever. But he reads every post. I didn't even realize he did until one day I mentioned blogging about something, and he said, "Yes, I read it." Oh. Really? You read my blog? "Yep, it comes through in my RSS feed at work." Okay, then.

Heidi said...

I think Matt's message got a little mangled in the translation. I saw no caboose working in his version.

Kate said...

I love lentil soup too! Never thought to include bacon. I'm sure that would make it more palatable for my daughter who enjoys "dining on swine"

michiganme said...

Well, I made the broccoli/cauliflower recipe and it was wonderful! I can't wait to try this.

Hootie said...

If this is turning into one of those lentil soup blogs, I am so out of here.

kathy said...

Thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to try it. Even John will eat lentil soup. Thanks also to Matt for the basketball tip. I don't foresee every using it, but you never know.