Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Ginger

In between my mommy and housewife duties I have been sneaking in a Shakespeare monologue or two as well as some of my other favorite plays. Well, not sneaking, speaking them out loud around the house - which has actually turned into performing them in a very exclusive private setting for my children. “Fie fie, unknit that threatening unkind brow, and dart not scornful glances from those eyes to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor…” (Taming of the Shrew) My son stares upon me like I’m mad. “I am not mad this hair I tear if mine”. (King John) But I don't give a s**t. These glorious plays and words have become a wonderful addition sprinkled throughout my day. Not to mention, I am introducing the classics to my children! 

Doing these speeches from memory (crazy I remember them after all these years) has been stoking this creative fire festering within and am even more inspired as ever to jump back in. This desire is something I haven’t felt in years. Seriously, years without any thought of it. “To be or not to be….that is the question”. (Hamlet) I even accepted the fact that my passion may never return. That the years I spent studying and striving and struggling and thriving were going to be part of my past.  I simply let it go as I stepped into my role as mommy.

One of the last auditions I had, we were living in Brooklyn and I was 4 months pregnant with my now 3 1/2 year old son. At the time, I was so excited to experience my new life as a (big fat!) pregnant woman and then we decided to move back out west and then I became a new mother, a wife (“By the roses of the spring, by maidenhood, honor, truth and everything I love thee so…”  Twelfth Night), a whole new wonderful west coast family life unfolded then shortly thereafter got pregnant again and then searched for a new place to live, then moved up north and decided to crete an organic farm and got a ton of animals and then became a mother of 2. 

Needless to say, I've been a busy bitch but, more to the point, these years past, these experiences experienced have been unbelievable. Life changing. Most challenging, exhausting, fulfilling thing I have ever done. Ever. But now, NOW, I need - I must - step out of my mommy bubble and get back to my creative expressive imaginative performing self. The balance will, no doubt, make me a better mommy too cause mommy, mommy folks, has lost part of her shit. Mommy needs to stretch her wings. Not far away, but explore and be challenged in more ways then how many poo poos can I wipe and change in a day. FIE FIE! Not to mention, all this new found wisdom must go to some good theatrical use damn it! In the mean time, I present you all with a delicious simple red lentil soup. Le sigh…

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Ginger

  • 2 TB extra-virgin coconut oil 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB fresh grated ginger root, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed well
  • 5 1/2 cups filtered water or homemade stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, leaves only
  • handful of thinly sliced snap peas or a freshly chopped spinach leaves 

In a large pot, over a medium-high flame, melt the coconut oil and add the red pepper flakes, grated ginger and onion. Stirring pretty constantly for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften and gets lightly brown. Add the minced garlic and mix around for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the red lentils, water or stock and thyme or rosemary.

Bring to a boil, skimming off any white foam that rises to the surface. Reduce flame to a simmer, partly cover and cook about 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and broken down. Remove the thyme or rosemary sprig. 

If you have a hand blender this is a perfect time to bust it out and blend the soup directly in the pot or, if you are like me and don’t have one, wait for it to cool a bit and carefully add to your blender in stages and blend until smooth without burning yourself. Pour back into the pot, over a low flame, stir in 1 tsp of sea salt, the fresh lemon juice and coconut milk. Taste, adding more salt or lemon if necessary.

I like to serve this soup along side a pot of steaming basmati rice to pass around the table and scoop some right on top. Garnish with a nice amount of chopped cilantro, freshly sliced snap peas or raw spinach and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.