Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

I just had my wisdom teeth out, so on top of not being so smart anymore, I have to eat soft food. Luckily, I know a few recipes for delicious soft food. The original recipe involves a fried onion topping, which looks wonderful yet chew-intensive. Luckily, lentils and a stick blender yield a gently textured, full flavored product that I’ll happily eat even with teeth.

3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 t dried thyme)
1/2 t cayenne pepper or ancho chile
1/2 t sweet smoked paprika
3 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 T tomato paste
8 c beef stock (vegetable stock makes this vegan!)
salt and pepper to taste (how much salt depends on your stock – taste often)
2 c red lentils
1 lemon, juiced

Pick over your lentils for any unwanted debris. Heat oil to medium high in a soup pot or deep dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until soft. Add spices and stir well into vegetables, cooking for a couple of minutes until very fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, until they begin to break down. Add tomato paste and stir well. Add stock and reduce heat to medium low – soup should not boil. Season with salt and pepper and add the lentils. Simmer 30-40 minutes (reducing heat to low, if necessary), until lentils and vegetables are very soft.

Remove soup from heat and process with immersion blender (or purée in batches in a heat-safe blender) until desired texture is achieved. Remember, it will thicken as it cools. If soup is still too thin, bring it back to a simmer for a few minutes. Check seasoning and stir in lemon juice. Serve with additional wedges of lemon and yogurt.

Christi Himmelfahrt in Amsterdam

Seems like everyone in Europe has been to Amsterdam. Well, now we have, too. Sarah had wanted a visit to this city for a long time, so we planned this trip as a birthday present many months ago (around the time of her actual birthday, which is not a good time to be in the Northern Hemisphere). Continue reading Christi Himmelfahrt in Amsterdam

Opening the grilling season with homemade hotdogs

In the land of Wurst and Bier, I’ve been hankering for some hotdogs for a couple years. We’ve had great success in our attempts at various homemade fresh sausage varieties, but I still wanted a plain old hotdog. I hit upon this recipe but found I was lacking an important ingredient: pink curing salt, sometimes known under the brand name “Instacure.” I’d found 10kg buckets of it via, but considering we make sausage in the <10lb batch, and a batch calls for a teaspoon at a time, that seemed like overkill. 1 I found Prague Powder #1 online2 in the USA and I had some shipped to my parents, and they brought it to Mexico for us. Finally I had all the ingredients necessary — or so I thought. Continue reading Opening the grilling season with homemade hotdogs

  1. If we ever run out of the one-pound package I bought, I guess I’d consider the 10kg bucket (it’s not very expensive) provided other local sausage enthusiasts — a LOT of them — will be willing to share it with me. Unlikely! []
  2. after finding nothing in local and chain grocery stores in rural Michigan near hunting season — weird! []

Bridge Update and Dult Prep, May 2015

We’re really, really close to getting our half of the bridge back. I mean, we must be. Right? Pavers are in place, the sidewalls are up. What’s holding us back? Besides the chicken wire, I mean.


Are these guys supposed to be helping with the bridge? Or the museum construction project happening on the site of the old Donaumarkt (just a bit downstream and under the Eiserner Brücke from here)?


Maybe they can’t get there because of how high and fast the river is at the moment.

Or maybe they’re just waiting around for Maidult to get rolling, which as you can see below, is also nearly ready.



Maidult always opens up with fireworks over the river the first evening; maybe they’ll be celebrating the closure of that phase of the bridge construction, too.