Outside the wind chime is ringing in the brisk wind. Inside, a fire is crackling and it’s warm. I’m fat and happy, having fixed a big pot of lentil stew and over-indulged. I think the bed is calling, that is if I don’t fall asleep by the fire first. It’s been a full day.
All the big storms have gone south of us and we don’t even have enough snow to really cross-country ski (you could ski, but you’d probably gouge pits into the bottom of your skis). So on Thursday, I was sitting in a meeting next to guy I’ve canoed with several times. As the conversation went on and on about important things, I leaned over and asked him if he thought the river was free from ice. “We can find out in the morning,” was his answer. I threw my canoe on the truck last night and this morning, after dropping his truck at the take-out, we started paddling. We were on the river at 9 AM. The temperature wasn’t bad, 27 degrees, and there was only a little shelf ice. The river has been dropping over the past week, causing the thicker ice to break up and leaving only thin ice in the eddies. We scare up hundreds of ducks and at least five swans as there is little open water this time of the year. We also see a few river rats, muskrats, swimming in the river… There are also a few muskrats, river rats, swimming in the river, but they always dive under the water when we approach. It’s a fast paddle. We talk about books we’ve recently read and our shared desire to paddle the Okefenokee Swamp and Suwannee River. It’s a fast paddle and we cover the 7 miles in less than 90 minutes. I’m home by 11 AM and ready to make soup.
3 cups of lentils
10 cups of water
A bit of salt
Boil the lentils for 3-4 hours (or, as I did today, cheat and use a pressure cooker)
A couple cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of minced celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
Sauté in a tablespoon or so of olive oil and then add to lentils and cook for a few minutes, till vegetables are done.
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons or more of red wine
¼ of a lemon squeezed
1 ½ tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Chopped herbs to taste: thyme, oregano, basil (fresh if available)
Add these ingredients 30 minutes before serving and simmer. When serving, extra red wine vinegar may be added to each bowl.