Thursday, October 23, 2008

Save Your Parmesan Rinds!

The good news is that I got the internet working on my computer again. The bad news is that I'm sick. I stayed home from work today, lounging on my bed with my napping dog to keep me company. Somehow, earlier in the week before I came down with this cold, I had the foresight to make a big batch of soup, which is interesting because I'm usually not much of a soup person. Must be the chilly fall weather.

Well I'm glad I had this tasy lentil vegetable soup to warm my aching bones for lunch this week. Paired with hearty whole wheat toast, it was just what I needed. That, plus hot toddies and lots of sleep and bundling up in warm clothes and episodes of Mad Men and a leisurely walk in the autumn air, have me feeling a lot better this evening.

I had a couple rinds of old parmesan in the freezer, because I'd heard that throwing a parmesan rind in soup is a great way to add flavor. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was true - the rind melted and added much needed salt and richness to what would otherwise be a somewhat bland soup. I will definitely continue to freeze parmesan rinds once they're too stale to grate, and use them in future soups and stocks. It's the thrify way to go!

Lentil soup doesn't require an exact recipe. Here are some guidelines:
Soak a cup of lentils in water for an hour. Meanwhile, dice and sautee vegetables in a big pot until softened - I used 3 carrots, 3 leeks, and a bag full of banana peppers, becase that's what I had in the fridge from the farmers market. Add lentils and parmesan rind to the pot, along with enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover it all by an inch or two, add desired spices such as salt, pepper, oregano, sage, crushed red pepper, and then simmer for about an hour until lentils have softened. Remove parmesan rind, and ta da!

As for the bread I paired this with, it was a whole wheat loaf from the farmers market, because the bread I made myself last weekend was inedible. A sad waste of flour. I had no idea what went wrong, since the two loaves of dough felt perfect in my hands until they headed into the oven. As you can see, the crust puffed up , while the bottom layer of dough remained gummy, with a huge pocket of air in between. I had never seen anything like it, and I thought I did something wrong, but it turns out that our oven is broken! This also explains the undercooked eggplant in the eggplant parmesan I made last week, and our inability to bake potatoes into fries in the oven this week. We're getting a new oven this weekend, and I cannot wait to bake some cookies or pumpkin bread or some other tasty fall treat. It's fall, it's cold, and our landlord doesn't like to turn on the heat, so I'm dying to do some baking to warm/cozy up the apartment!


  1. The soup looks wonderful. Thanks for the tip about the parmesean rinds! I'd never heard of that before!

  2. The soup looks comforting and delicious - perfect when you don't feel so good. Have fun with your new oven...I wish I was getting one.

  3. Thanks guys! (I actually think the new oven is crappier quality than the old one, because my landlord likes to buy crap, ha, but at least it works!)