As The Man and I have been working on remodeling our kitchen, I have been more and more amazed at how little things can so dramatically change the feel of the whole room. I'm no interior designer (and neither is Hubby) but our kitchen is slowly becoming both functional and attractive. The new look and workability of the space also increases my interest in making more of a production out of meal...i.e. spending time in a space which keeps us sated. The people who lived here before us (for over 40 years) had about 3 feet of counterspace...which was about enough for a stack of dirty dishes and a drying rack. For the first year that we were here, the washing machine ended up being where I usually kept my cutting board. It worked fine, of course, but the new workspace just feels so much more inviting! :) All this to say that an adequate kitchen can help a chef cook better. (And what would the analogy be for an outrageous kitchen? Perhaps the owner is trying to make up for their lack of culinary skills? I don't know. :P)
59. Lentil-Barley Stew, pg. 107
I'm starting to feel a bit souped out. Yes, the stuff is typically good, filling, and warm, but it is such a symbol of winter that it can be depressing when one eats it too often.
That said, let's look at this recipe. It's very easy with things you likely have on hand, if you're reading this blog. :) I, like usual, skimped on the celery but added garlic to the sauté. Used a brown/wild rice mix, and left out the garlic salt. We didn't have carrots on hand, and I didn't have time to go get any, so we just put some cheese on top for looks. The flavor of the soup is subtle and earthy, and went nicely with oatmeal-craisin-cinnamon muffins.