Green Wizardries: Bread, Butter and Soup

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I recently discovered a delicious sort of bread, made from lentils.  I thought it sounded odd too but my sister and I share an allergy to wheat so we are always on the prowl for gluten-free recipes.  She introduced me to this bread and I love it.  It makes great toast!

Now, the problem with many gluten-free breads is that they are made of different starches that are far too processed.  Once eaten, they raise the blood sugar high and crash it hard.  Lentil bread is barely processed and is full of fibre and protein.  It has a remarkable effect on blood sugar, keeping it rock solid for many hours.  

If I eat a small slice of this bread for lunch, I am always caught off guard by my husband getting hungry and wanting supper.  By suppertime, I am still full and have no appetite at all.  I usually join him for a small taste at supper just to be sociable.  My sister finds lentil bread affects her in the same way and she has lost four pounds in two months without trying to limit her eating or counting calories or anything of that sort.   I find my belly is slowly going down and my clothes feel more comfortable.  I am also feeling stronger and less fatigued.  

The recipe is simplicity itself and the ingredients are few and easy to source.  To make this bread, grease a metal loaf pan.  I usually make two or more loaves at the same time to use the oven more economically.  The first time, just make one loaf to see if you like it.

Soak two cups of red lentils overnight or for at least three hours.  Drain the lentils and put them in a blender.  Add three eggs and one cup of yogourt (I use one cup of coconut milk and two tablespoons of lemon juice), one teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of baking soda.  Whirl that all up until it is smooth.  I add one cup of ground flax for more of a whole-wheat feel.  Mix it all together and pour it into the baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.  

I have dairy allergies and I remembered a Hippy restaurant from ages ago that served veggie butter.  I couldn’t find any recipes for this so I had to make one up.  I do not trust commercial margarine.  Put half a cup of olive oil in a pan and add one heaping teaspoon of garlic powder and one of cumin.  Cooked that up until it is aromatic and then add a 5.5 ounce tin of tomato paste and cook it until it is all incorporated.  This makes a really nice, savoury veggie butter but, of course, you can play around with the spices.  I keep the butter in the fridge in a glass jar and it is easy to spread straight from the fridge.  

Now, the soup is a squash soup and it is the season for winter squash.  I like to steam the squash in a large pot with a little water until the squash is soft enough to work with easily.  I let it cool and then divide it into two bowls, one for the skin and the seeds which my sheep just love and one for the flesh of the squash.  

Slice and saute two onions, four cloves of garlic, and one or more tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger in some olive oil.  Add a teaspoon of chili powder or how much you think your family will enjoy.  You can add chopped carrots to taste and the squash.  Add three quarts of meat or vegetable stock and a quart of home canned tomatoes.  Cook that until the carrots are tender ad then add one cup of peanut butter.  Stir until smooth.  I like to add a few spoons of honey to balance the flavours.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve sprinkled with some fresh cilantro or parsley if you have it.  

This makes a whole lot of soup and after the first serving, I pour the remaining soup into glass quart jars and cool it.  Once it is cool, I put some in the fridge and give some away to friends I think need cheering up.  It also freezes well.  This soup is good enough to serve at a supper party and I think even children will like it.  It is certainly popular in my family.  

This soup is descended from the West African Peanut Soup recipe in the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook.  The big change is that recipe calls for yams which don’t grow around here although some intrepid gardeners did grow sweet potatoes here last summer. If you can get a copy of this cookbook, I urge you to do so.  Every recipe I have ever tried from Sundays has been an outrageous success.