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Lentil Soup, or I Finally Got It Right

Posted in Day-to-Day by unboundpage on January 17, 2013

All the lentil soup recipes I’ve seen look about the same, and seem simple enough, yet the last time I made it, I somehow managed to get it terribly, terribly wrong.  The only way to salvage it was with copious amounts of Worcestershire sauce, and even then, it was a mushy, salty mess.  So tonight I focused on the savory.  (And following the cooking directions, which, shockingly, also helped a good bit.)

I think it goes without saying that this will not be a vegetarian recipe.  It is, however, gluten free!

The standard recipe calls for a pretty tame list of ingredients:

2 strips bacon
1 whole onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 can diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken broth or water
1 lb dry, rinsed lentils

Seasonings vary, but I most commonly saw 1 tsp Italian herbs, black pepper and salt to taste.  As this clearly didn’t do the trick for me last time, I added some more interesting flavors.

My adjusted recipe:

6 strips bacon
1 whole onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
8 cups chicken broth or beef broth or vegetable broth* (y’know… whatever you have on hand – just not water)
1 lb dry, rinsed lentils
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce*
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp Italian herbs (specifically tarragon, marjoram, oregano, basil, sage – heavy on the basil)
black pepper

  • Fry bacon and set aside, crumbled.
  • Heat 2 tbsp (or… uh… more) of bacon fat in soup pot over medium high heat for two minutes.
  • Add onions and garlic, and stir-fry until onions start to turn transparent.
  • Add carrots and celery, and continue to stir-fry until onions are golden brown.
  • Add tomatoes and juice, broth, lentils, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, mustard, rosemary, and the crumbled bacon.
  • Bring the mixture to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until lentils are tender.  (This part is important! Lentils are not split peas – don’t aim for mush!)
  • Stir in Italian herbs, add pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy some damned tasty soup.  Refrigerates and freezes well too.

*Hey, where’d the salt go?  You really shouldn’t need any more salt after the broth, bacon, and Worcestershire sauce.  In fact, I highly recommend low sodium broth and Worcestershire sauce because, seriously, that’s a lot of bacon.  If you’re really serious about reducing salt, use less bacon, use only vegetable broth, and substitute Balsamic vinegar for the Worcestershire sauce.

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In Which I Sing the Praises of an Improv Photographer

Posted in Uncategorized by unboundpage on January 5, 2013

One of the things I love most about the Austin improv community is the bustling network of people who do all the support work for improv shows – theater owners, house managers, interns, my fellow tech monkeys, and the photographers.  We have a small but mighty band of photographers ranging from enthusiastic amateurs to freelance professionals who photograph a large portion of the improv shows that happen in this town.  They are extraordinarily generous with their time, and provide an invaluable service, capturing permanent memories of a performance art that is, by definition, fleeting.

One of the mainstays of the Austin improv scene is Roy Moore of Control Images.  He is the man behind the promotional pictures for many of the Gnap! and Institution Theater productions, as well as the official on-site photographer for Blue Goggles Films.  He is an adventurous artist with a keen eye for composition and lighting, and a knack for pulling personality and attitude out of two-dimensional still images.

This weekend marks the opening of Roy’s first solo gallery show, DISTILLATION, at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.  The collection ranges from stunning portraits – many from those promotional photo shoots – to stolen glances at forgotten, dilapidated, whimsically graffiti’d corners of the city, to colorful abstracts.  They have a synesthetic quality, conjuring not just images but a sense of movement, a faint sound.  Maybe I’ve just been too immersed in music lately, but looking at some of the abstracts, I could swear I heard a distinct melody that went with each one.  The alternate takes of photos I’ve seen a hundred times on show posters and Facebook albums revealed extra dimensions of familiar faces, and made me want to see those shows all over again.

It’s stunning work by an artist who takes real joy from his craft.  If you happen to be in Austin, swing by and check it out sometime this month.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/arts/2013-01-03/what-roy-moore-could-you-want/

New Year! New Things!

Posted in Don't Quit Your Day Job by unboundpage on January 4, 2013

So it’s been a busy year (and …uh… change) since Don’t Quit Your Day Job went on hiatus.  I’ve been distracted by improv and a new-found fiber arts gang and all manner of other mischief, but the biggest, most all-consuming distraction of the last year has been the addition of a truly precious little girl to the family, and my big sister’s long-overdue promotion to “Mom”.  So she and her cousin are the stars of the comic marking their aunt’s triumphant return to late nights cursing at my computer and unsteady drawing hand.  You all remember Missy.  Now meet JoJo.

I have a whole pile of new things in store, so stick around friends.