It's amazing what a clear sky will do for my tolerance of cold weather. Ask me how I feel about that chill in the air come February. I promise my answer will be far less cheery.
Maybe the donning of rose-tinted glasses when it came to today's weather was partially thanks to the fact that today was a big day. For the last year, I've been fighting a back injury that has put me through countless imaging tests, hours of physical therapy, a whirlwind tour of pain-controlling pharmaceuticals, and more exposure to waiting room televisions streaming Fox News than I needed in a lifetime. It's been a very long year that has only begun to show light at the end of the tunnel in the last six weeks. I'm not entirely put back together, but today for the first time in a year, I ran two miles.
Two miles may not seem like a big deal. And if you'd asked me a year ago, I would have said it wasn't. But today, two miles of not just running but the kind of run your mind gets absolutely lost in, qualified as a major accomplishment. My recovery is far from over, but this was a huge step.
After my two miles I came home to a big bowl of Moroccan Lentils. This is a recipe I've made with regularity for a couple of years now, but it's definitely best when the weather is cold. It almost reminds me of a chili with much more exotic flavors. It works well served several different ways: served atop roasted spaghetti squash, served with a large slice of bread on the side or thinned with broth or tomato juice to turn into a soup.
Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's crossing and old familiar finish line you haven't seen in far too long, or maybe it's just getting a taste of something that's as wonderful as you remember, but something has a holiday spirit of sorts running amok in this spoonful's kitchen.
50 minutes, 35 minutes lightly attended
Adapted from Mark Bittman
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 ½ tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup lentils
- 3-4 cups chicken stock or water
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, lentils and 1 cup of stock/water and bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional stock/water 1/2-1 cup at a time as the lentils absorb the cooking liquid. Continue to simmer and add stock/water until lentils are softened, but not mushy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.