Humble Fare

>> Wednesday, February 21, 2007

During Lent, our family makes a practice of eating what we call 'plain food'. We do away with desserts, creams, sugar, large meaty meals (simple ones are alright). We fast every Friday - eating one fish meal that day - not the children obviously and not pregnant or nursing Mama.

Every Wednesday starting with Ash Wednesday is soup day. We eat soup and homemade bread. Soup and bread is probably my favorite meal all year round. Ash Wednesday's soup has no meat and the bread is served without butter (herbed olive oil is beautiful on bread). We will probably have a salad of plain greens (the bitterness of spinach is somehow appropriate) with a simple vinaigrette dressing. Here is what we will be having this evening:

Vegetable Barley Soup:

1/2 c. barley
2 qt. vegetable broth
2 large. onions, chopped
1 T. garlic, shopped
1 lb. carrot, peeled & chunked
1 head celery, chopped
1c. green beans, cut into bite sizes
2 zucchini (courgettes), sliced
8 oz. crimini mushrooms (or your favorite)
1 24 oz. diced tomatoes
1 T. parsley
1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves

Saute onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in hot oil; add salt and pepper
to taste. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until barley is tender. Remove bay leaves. This soup is lovely with shaved parmesan!

Sally Lunn Bread

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast ( or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

Add ingredients to your bread machine, in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Choose "white bread" setting with medium crust (if applicable). Cool on its side on a rack. Makes a beautiful toast with jam and tea. Because of the richness of the bread itself, it does not need butter.


1c. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4c)
1 T Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste.

Combine juice and mustard in glass mixing bowl. Using balloon whisk or electric beaters, slowly drizzle in olive oil until you have a light creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fresh thyme leaves are also a beautiful addition. This is the Real French dressing, not that appallingly orange stuff from the supermarket!

Bon Appetit! (Seems a bit out of place on Ash Wednesday...)

Please remember to send me your recipes for simple meals, meatless meals and soups throughout Lent!


M. Alexander 9:37 PM  

We used to fast by eating only homemade bread for dinner every Friday. The younger children were encouraged to have peanut butter on their bread and milk to drink. The adults had tea and bread.

It was a happy time for our family and I miss it.

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