A few weeks ago a snow storm passed through my area. Starting mid morning and ending later that evening, continuous, powdery snowflakes fell, resulting in approximately eight inches of snow. Since it was a Saturday, it was a perfect day for enjoying a fire, going for a snow walk, and planning for dinner.
Thus began the pantry raid to see what ingredients were on hand for soup.
Fortunately, I had a bag of lentils, along with an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, some carrots (these are optional), and olive oil—all the ingredients necessary for lentil soup. Usually I default to Ina Garten’s recipe for lentil soup, which uses a few more ingredients. But this time I wanted to try my friend Rachel Stone’s recipe that she included in her book Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food. Rachel is a fellow colleague and a writer. I haven’t finished her entire book yet, but I love what I have read and I like that she includes recipes at the end of each chapter.
Whenever I make soup for dinner, I also want to make bread. Knowing I had the time, I decided to make french bread. Once again, I have an easy go-to recipe that is a favorite. All you need is some yeast, warm water, flour, sugar, and salt. This recipe also makes two baguettes. Usually we eat one and freeze the other for another time.
Scrounging around in my freezer, I discovered a frozen pie crust. Of course, the husband and college-aged son wanted Lemon Meringue Pie, but I didn’t feel like driving to the store in the snow in search of lemons. My instincts told me that a look through my More with Less cookbook would probably reveal a good recipe. I landed on Shoo-Fly pie. Leave it to the Pennsylvania Dutch to provide a yummy option without a lot of fuss. The filling is molasses (if you don’t like strong flavors, perhaps skip this recipe), eggs, baking soda and water, with a bit of flour. In addition, there is a crumb topping that is combined into the filling and sprinkled on the top before baking. Served warm with a dollop of whipped cream, this pie is perfect for a winter evening.
The biggest challenge to pulling off my dinner was timing. I needed to allow the lentils to soak before cooking them. Also, soups taste better when they have time to simmer for a bit so I needed to factor that piece in as well. I also needed rising time for the bread. Once I figured out those parts, this was an easy, satisfying meal to prepare. I baked the pie during the second rise of my french bread so the oven was already warm when the bread needed to bake.
The evening ended with watching the final two episodes in season one of The Crown, a fabulous and fascinating show on Netflix that I highly recommend. The snow stopped by the time we went to bed. Our stomachs were full and our beds warm. A perfect ending to the day.