Monday, March 21, 2016

Thaw. (with Slow Cooker Lentil Soup)

The snow had left powdered-sugar dust on the grass, on the daffodils.  A thin crust of crystal, dazzling in the sunlight, invitingly crunchy, like water ice.

I wanted to stop and take pictures on the way, here, and here, and here: the alpacas, clustered together, moving slowly across the frozen field; the branches, bending, touching, bridging across the road; all of the world captured, for a moment, in thaw.  I can't seem to capture any of it well with an iPhone5, though, which is all I use for photography any more, simply because I have it with me, and because the big beautiful camera doesn't behave for me. The phone camera thinks it's smarter than I am.

It has been a strange winter here in the Northeast: first nonexistent, then relentless, then February (which is like relentless but worse, for so many reasons), then a weekend of spring, then snow again. But finally, now, when I sit in the sun, it feels less ephemeral, more determined, stronger, like maybe it will stick around for a while.

A blogger friend says she misses my voice.  I miss my voice, too.  Part of me wonders if I have lost it entirely.  But also why I should bother looking for it, and whether I might want to find it here, out in public.  Why not just write for an audience of one, where I worry less about judgment by the people I know in real life.  The answer, of course, is like the phenomenon of thaw: without the warmth and sunlight that can only come from the world, the plants are perfectly happy to stay hibernating.

Let the lamp affix its beam.

Welcome spring.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
This is what's in our kitchen: a hodgepodge of winter beans and root vegetables, with spring greens and new garlic.  Sort of like thaw in a bowl.

3 medium carrots, chopped (or 4 small or 2 large)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large clove shallot, chopped
2 cups dry green lentils (rinsed)
8 cups Vegetable stock
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bag of baby spinach
1 1/2 teaspoons balsalmic vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Chop carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and shallots in the food processor.  Place chopped vegetables into crockpot along with lentils, stock, canned tomatoes, bay leaf and dried thyme. Cover with lid and set cooking time (4 Hours on high or 8 Hours on low). When cooking time is up, add spinach, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and ground cumin. Place lid back on and let sit covered for fifteen additional minutes before serving.

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  1. Welcome, spring, and welcome back! :)

  2. It is good to hear from you. And it has been a strange winter (and we're not done).

  3. Our days are drawing in. I don't mind the cold so much (it doesn't even get cold enough for us to get snow here except on the mountain peaks), but the last few years the darkness has really gotten to me. And the last 2 years I've had trips to the northern hemisphere during our darkness to look forward to, but not this year. Just darkness.

    But I'm hoping for rain (the drought has been awful - and for a state that generates its electricity from hydroelectric power we're in a desperite situation!) and looking forward to our mid-winter festival.

    Enjoy your spring!

  4. Rebirth and renewal. I want to lend a few watts to the heatlamp.


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