Experiments and composting problems

After trying the Lentil, Butternut Squash, Kale and ginger soup at Little Havana I was determined to make my own version at home. Seeing as its pretty straightforward in taste, I figured I wouldn't have much trouble faking it. However, its back to test kitchen on this one.

Lentils are one of the foods I've been trying to incorporate into my diet more since I've always been afraid of them. (Are they beans? Are they mush? Whats the deal?) But that means I'm not quite up to fluff on preparing them correctly. My experiment was as follows:

-Sautee some cubed butternut squash in garlic and EVOO until coated and slightly softened.
-Add a package of instant lentils and 2 c. of water
-Bring to a boil, then throw in a few handfuls of shredded kale and 2 T. of fresh sliced ginger.
-At the end, season well with salt and pepper and toss in 1 T. of brown sugar.

In the end, this was certainly a decent lunch. But it wasn't *magic* *sparkling* *transcendent* like the soup I had at Little Havana. I think this has something to do with my own lack of prowess with lentil cooking, in addition to a missing flavor. So, I must get back on the saddle and try again. I think next time I will try a traditional lentil soup recipe, then add in the extras. We shall see.

Meanwhile, despite my best efforts, the dogs got into the compost! I think this had more to do with the novelty of sitting in a little box then it has to do with their interest in onion peels, moldy squash and coffee grounds, but all the same. (Although it was pretty cute to find our fat beagle sitting there trying to figure out how to get out.) My first improvement is to put a thicker layer of dirt over each addition. Second, I have to make sure the dogs are both inside when I add something in so they dont get super excited and curious. Failing that, I guess i could put some rocks around it or something... who knows? Any ideas?

Oooh, also my Dad brought me back a bunch of un-labeled mystery spices from Pakistan. Maybe one of these is the missing spice for my food? Or maybe I should just start randomly adding them to things to see if they taste good? More on that story as it develops... ;)

Like a manna from heaven, 101 cookbooks just posted a recipe for Lentil soup. Just the thing!

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