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As vegetarians, sometimes we have a hard time finding good places to eat when we’re out.  One of our favourite places to eat out is at Cosi.  My husband likes to go on Tuesdays when they have their Moroccan Lentil Soup.  He loves it.  For this reason I have spent several months trying to find a recipe for lentil soup that was similar to theirs.

I had little luck.  After hours of searching and four different recipes we found a soup that we liked in theory.  I made several small changes and came up with our version of Moroccan Lentil Soup.  It is different from what they have at Cosi, but we really like it.  So does our friend, Eddie.

Moroccan Lentil Soup
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T turmeric
2 T cumin
1 t red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 carrots, cut into shoestrings
2 potatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 c red lentils
1 c lentils
1/2 inch fresh ginger or 1 t ground ginger
4 c vegetable broth
4 c water
salt to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, onions, and bell peppers.  Cook until onions are soft, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the cumin and turmeric.  Stir occasionally and allow spices to “bloom.”   Add 2 c broth and 2 c water.  Stir in red pepper flakes and ginger.  Bring liquid to a boil.  Add potatoes, carrots, and red lentils.  Boil for 20-30 minutes, or until lentils are soft.  Stir occasionally.  Add tomato paste and remaining broth and bring to a boil.  Add lentils.  Boil for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt to taste.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Two notes:
  Allowing the spices to bloom is the key to the flavour of this wonderful soup.
  Add salt at the last minute.  Adding salt while the lentils are cooking can lead to tough lentils.

My G-ma was a great cook for most of her life. One summer she taught ma how to bake what everyone in our family called “G-ma Bread.” Though I have tried many times I have not been able to recreate her bread.

G-ma liked to take a recipe from a cook book and change it little by little until it was just the way she liked it. The problem: she never wrote her new recipes down. Not that you could recreate her exact dish if she had written it down. Her favourite measuring units were a pinch, a dash, and a dollop.

What are oven pancakes, you might ask. They are a crazy-looking bubbly pan of baked goodness. My recipe for oven pancakes is adapted from G-ma’s basic recipe for oven pancakes. (I usually make a half batch for our little family.)

Oven Pancakes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Melt butter in 9×13 pan.
Combine flours and milk. Add salt and nutmeg.
Beat the eggs lightly and blend into the mixture.
Carefully pour into pan with melted butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

G-ma always made apricot syrup. My mom likes them with powdered sugar. Randall likes regular syrup. I prefer fresh berry compote. These hearty pancakes can stand up to anything you can dish out.

Enjoy.

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