One day last week I woke up with a dull ache in my knee. I turned to Jeff and said, “It’s going to rain today.” "Susan, it hasn’t rained here in like 235 days. It's not gonna rain today,” he replied. “My knee is aching," I said. "It’s gonna rain today."
I know almost every time it's going to rain. It's not superstition; it's knee surgery. Believe me when I tell you, my knee is as accurate in predicting rain as the Doppler 5000.
Later that morning we got into the car to go the the gym, and it happened. Rain.
I excitedly flipped on the windshield wipers -- I had purchased new ones the day before Easter and hadn't used them yet. Like two little kids, we were entranced by the blades slapping away the rain in efficient strokes. It was a satisfying a moment, really. Not five minutes later we were rudely interrupted by the vibrating, whooping sound of new wipers dragging across a dry windshield.
It’s hard to fathom how a place as lush with flora and vegetation as Southern California could be so dry. Incredibly, the average rainfall in San Diegois just 7 inches -- we used to get 7 inches on any given weekend in North Carolina.
While life without rain has its distinct advantages, sometimes I just long for a rainy day. We had some Ballykissangel to watch, some magazines to catch up on, and, of course, some soup to make. Because what’s a chilly, rainy day without a good bowl of steaming hot soup? The all too brief interlude of rain didn't deter us. We savored a few episodes of Ballykissangel, made it through at least a third of our magazine pile, and enjoyed some wholesome red lentil mulligatawny with apple-celery salsa.
The recipe is adapted from an original in Cooking Light. The zesty, crunchy apple-celery salsa contrasts pleasingly with the smooth, creamy lentils. I adjusted the soup by sauteing the onions for added depth and mixing in some extra seasonings--the cinnamon in particular lends a lovely sweet, aromatic touch. Made with creamy coconut milk, this is a warming, savory soup perfect for a rainy day. Or a chilly day. Or a windy day. Or a sunny day.
Red Lentil Mulligatawny with Apple-Celery Salsa
Print this recipe here.
Makes 2 bowls or 4 cups
½ cup finely chopped Granny Smith apple
¼ cup finely chopped celery
½ Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
½ Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
¾ c chopped onion
1 ½ c water
¾ c red lentils
¾ cup light coconut milk
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fresh lime juice
Salt, to taste
For salsa: Combine all ingredients; set aside.
For soup: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add lentils and water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Pour half of the lentil mixture in a blender; let stand for 5 minutes (so the soup will cool and not cause the cover to pop off!) Pour pureed lentil mixture into a bowl, and repeat process with the remaining half of lentil mixture. Once the soup is blended, return to the pan; add coconut milk, ginger, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and cinnamon; stir well. Cover and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Remove from heat; stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with some salsa.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Toasted Walnuts and Blue Cheese
And here are a few more tasty dishes featuring red lentils:
Daily Unadventures in Cooking's Red Lentil and Yam Curry
Group Recipes' Everyday Red Lentil Dal
Habeas Brulee's Pasta with Red Lentils, Ginger, and Spinach
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