Smoky Ethiopian Lentils

Eat Well

When the temperatures are low and the winds are biting I crave all things warm and exotic from the kitchen. Consistently better weather, minus spring tornado season, is just moments away, but while we wait, bring on the spicy complexity of North African and Middle Eastern flavors and foods.

Smoked paprika and Ethiopian berbere — a mix of spices that includes dried red chiles de árbol and a slew of aromatics — steal the show here, with red onion, garlic, spicy fresh ginger and rich sun-dried tomatoes rounding out the earthy black lentils. A splash of balsamic vinegar swirled in at the end as a subtle but bright touch bringing everything together.

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Creamy Carrot Lentil Soup with Crunchy Almond-Coconut Dukkah

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There are a few sections in my raised bed where the soil leaves quite a lot to be desired. I (un)affectionately refer to these as “dead zones,” and after seasons of disappointment, began to expect little, if any growth at all.

This past autumn and spring something spurred me to give the entire bed extra attention in the form of homemade compost tea, manure, and a new layer of peaty garden soil. Spread, till, spread, till, spread, till, wait.

Lo, and behold, a variety of carrots called Short ‘n Sweet came to represent not only the first carrots in my history of gardening, but also the first crop to outfox a dead zone. Though the size and harvest of these gnarly munchkins were small, it was a bounty considering, and proof of what the earth can provide if only we give it love.

Baby carrot harvest

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