I received a dutch oven for Christmas and since then have been obsessively making soups. Obviously cast iron dutch ovens are great for the oven but I love the way soup comes out when I use mine. Don't ask my why. I'm sure science can explain it, or maybe it's all just in my head (as so many things are). Either way, I will go on the record as saying that the dutch oven vastly improved my soup repertoire.
I make a lot of lentil soups, with rainy day lentil soup as the household favourite. As great as it is, I was also looking for a simpler middle-of-the-week-it's-lunch-what-do-we-EAT?! lentil soup.
When it came time to switch the calendar to 2010 I found Sarah Kramer's GO VEGAN calendar online at Vegans Love Lava. Because I am pretty much in love with her cookbook How it All Vegan (mostly because it gave me vegan peppermint patties but there are also many more goodies between its covers!) I decided that this was going to be our calendar for the year. Besides, I wanted to give Vegans Love Lava my business, as they are based out of Guelph, Ontario and so they are my neighbours (and sweet as pie when you bombard them with questions!).
The calendar is cool because it offers tips on being vegan as well as a different recipe for each month of the year. This raunchy red lentil soup is January's recipe and it is most definitely something we will make again. It's raunchy because it's SPICY! - the lentils are zipped up with a jalapeno. I also threw in a healthy dose of a very expensive but insanely amazing hot sauce that we picked up at a gourmet hot sauce store a couple months ago and use VERY sparingly because it may as well be liquid gold for what it cost us. The recipe makes for a perfect lunchtime serving, just enough for two people to have along side of a couple toasted tomato sandwiches.
I haven't looked at February's recipe yet - I think it's more fun to be surprised when you turn the calendar (I am a very simple creature).