Thursday, December 15, 2011


I’m a crazy holiday binger. Yes, I am that girl at the cocktail party hording Hors d’Oeuvres and cramming chocolates into her mouth. It ain’t pretty.  However, I just love miniature pastry-shrouded food that can be passed around on a plate. How often can I call such fun fare “dinner”?

Since I don’t plan on missing a single mini-quiche this year, I try to eat more sensibly in between parties, and maintain a solid exercise routine. I call it “Detox to Retox.”  

My favorite #detoxtoretox (Add a hash tag, start a Twitter craze!) meal is lentil soup. I found this recipe for Lentil Soup with Serrano Ham and Arugula in Food & Wine many years ago. I rarely bother with the ham and arugula, since the base vegetarian recipe is fantastic –one of my favorites to feed herbivores. Sometimes when I feel like serving this as a hearty dinner, I will add turkey sausage (I like Aidell’s brand, which you can buy in bulk at Costco and freeze).  However, today, in my post-party guilt, I felt the need to see a little green on my plate. I added some chopped kale, letting the leaves wilt when I reheated the soup in the microwave.

Ah yes, that’s the other thing I love about Detox Soup. She freezes and reheats like a charm. I usually make a giant pot and store the bulk for future lunches. 

Detox Lentil Soup
(Adapted from Food & Wine’s Lentil Soup With Serrano Ham and Arugula)
  1. 1 1/2 cups lentils
  2. 8 cups very hot tap water
  3. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 2 medium onions, very finely chopped
  5. 3 medium carrots, very thinly sliced
  6. 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  7. 5 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced and 1 minced
  8. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. Crushed red pepper
  10. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium soup pot, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, celery and sliced garlic. Cover and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Carefully add the lentils and the boiling water. Add the tomato paste and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper to the soup and season with salt and black pepper. Cook the soup over moderate heat until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Ladle the lentil soup into large bowls, garnish with the ham and arugula and serve.

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