I have hit the winter doldrums full throttle.
I want to cook warm, comforting foods, soups, stews, risottos, but I'm going nuts trying to come up with some recipes that the kids won't turn up their noses at. Not that I care too much, mind you. I am of the belief that if I cook it, you will eat it. I'm not making alternative menus just because the little darlings don't like my lentil and ham soup. Which is really good, by the way. It seems the little darlings mostly want pasta. And I get sick of pasta.
What I am dreaming of right now is chives. I keep thinking about those tender green shoots erupting from the earth, tempting me to make chive and marcona almond puree to drizzle over bruschetta smeared with salted ricotta cheese. Or chive and cheddar biscuits. Or chive-flecked flans floating in a clear mushroom chicken broth.
I miss the farmer's market. Yes, it is still open this time of year, but you must brave the cold and all they really have right now are potatoes and onions and stuff flown in from Florida or California or Chile. I crave fresh garlic scapes and overly-large green onions, daring you to bite their heads off.
Boy, am I waxing poetic.
If your kids won't fuss too much, go ahead and try this soup. It is really good. maybe they'll like it.
Ham and Lentil Soup
1 ham bone or ham hock
6 cups water
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 c red or yellow lentils (I used yellow urid dal lentils from the Indian store because that's what I had on hand)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 c chopped onion
Throw everything in a pot. Cook for a couple of hours until lentils are soft and ham falls off the bone. Remove bone from soup, shred ham and return meat to soup. Serve with nice crusty rolls.