April 09, 2006


We are fortunate in lots of ways. In particular, we love to cook, we love to use healthful ingredients, and we have access to fresh herbs all year. Oh, and we have a well-stocked pantry and freezer.

Whenever we chop a carrot, dice and onion, slice some celery, etc., we throw the pieces parts into a large freezer bag. Soon enough we have a bulging bag (or two) or frozen veggie pieces that will make a wonderful soup stock.

Today we simmered almost two full bags of veggie parts in our largest stock pot. Into this cauldron we tossed some parmesan cheese rinds (which we also freeze) wrapped in cheesecloth, and a large bundle of freshly snipped herbs from our garden. Luckily, winters are mild enough here that most herbs survive all year. Tarragon usually doesn't make it over the winter but my plant sprang back to life once the temps began to climb just a little. I kept it outside over the winter but under our glass top table to limit the rain it received. It's doing fine and we are using it up!

Once the stock was done, we strained the liquid from the solids and set to work on lentil, orzo soup. We sauteed onion, garlic and carrots. Added dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and green lentils. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are soft. Add orzo and simmer until soft. Lastly, add a few big handfuls of spinach and a big handful of chopped, fresh parsley. Reseason to taste and there you have it. Homemade and healthy AND easy. We will each have lunch for the next three days (not to mention what we chowed on last night). Plus, we still have a large yogurt container full in the freezer. It's not just for soup. We use it to cook rice and other grains.

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