Mixing business with pleasure.
Office conference room—very profesh soup, y'all.
Abi, Cybelle, Eva, Janice, Lauren, Nicole, Paige, and me
Marinated kale and radish salad
Smashed chickpea salad
Red lentil soup
Janice's peanut blossoms
Still more Abby Girl Sweets cupcakes (this may be becoming a problem)
The struggle it is to force oneself to talk about things that are not work-related while sitting at work with your coworkers
A brief and hilariously underinformed deconstruction of the Jonas Brothers' career (we soon realized that we really know nothing about them, and, to be honest, I don't even know how that all got started)
The struggle it is to force oneself to choose only one cupcake when there are JUST...SO...MANY
In January, as I was thinking about doing this project again, I decided to ask my boss if she wouldn't mind if I brought in soup for her and my other wonderful officemates one day. She was gracious enough to indulge my silliness, and we set a date. At last, that day has arrived! And so this morning I busted out an array of storage containers and schlepped down to the office.
This isn't going to overtake my favorite lentil soup; in fact, the way the red lentils work, it turns out feeling more like split pea than lentil. However, both for simplicity and for taste, I think it's going to replace my previous red lentil soup recipe. It always makes me a little sad, though, cooking red lentils—they start off such a beautiful bright orange, and fade into a dull yellow—it's like watching the passion slowly seep out of someone.
PASSION?!? Whoa, what? Somebody slipped some extract of melodrama in the soup, you guys.
Ahem, moving on. Red lentils. Right.
Janice said she "loved it" and Paige deemed it "excellent," but they could have just been flattering me: after all, we do have to work together every day. While they may have exaggerated a bit, I did think it was fairly delicious. And just look how short that ingredient list is! No way it can be anything but good when you have such focused flavors.
An added bonus for this lunchtime Soupruary: I can say with certainty that it stores, travels, and reheats well.
A note for Cincinnatians: You can get both red lentils and Aleppo pepper at Dean's in Findlay Markey (and don't forget to pick up some of their awesome homemade yogurt while you're there).
Red Lentil Soup
adapted just a bit from herbivoracious.com
2 cups Turkish split red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
6 cups water, plus more as needed
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)
Garnish: fresh cilantro, Aleppo pepper, lemon wedges
Rinse the lentils and bring them to a boil with 2 cups stock and 6 cups water. Lower heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 40 minutes, or until lentil have deconstructed themselves into a big pot of mush.
Meanwhile, place garlic, coriander seed and salt in a mortar and pestle, and grind to a coarse paste. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, and add paste. Cook for about 1 minute (just wake up the flavors, don't burn that garlic!), then add to the soup and let simmer for a few more minutes.
Adjust for texture by adding water until you reach the consistency you prefer. Add Aleppo pepper and ground cumin, and season to taste with more Kosher salt.
Serve garnished with a sprig of cilantro, a pinch of Aleppo pepper if desired, and a lemon wedge. Squeeze a bit of the lemon juice into your soup bowl to taste--the lemon really zips it up.