In light of the $100 dinner, we present: The $5 dinner

After all of the discussion over the dreaded $100 dinner that so many of us have found ourselves forced into at one time or another (more on that tomorrow), how refreshing it was to find this series of $5 dinners from the ever-lovely Sarah over at Pink of Perfection. These sweet and simple recipes are culled from pantry staples and feature hearty wintry vegetables- but, like all good things, each has an ingredient or two that makes it zing, pow, sparkle and mmmm. Humble lentil, meet dashing caramelized onion, tomato soup, go ahead bring along your friend poached egg. Seeing as this is essentially my current life motto: live well, but simply, and add a bit zing-pow-sparkle when you need it, these recipes couldn’t come at a better time. Substitute “spending a quiet night with a crossword puzzle and a glass of wine” for “Lentils” and “wear a sparkly jacket and a party hat and go dancing” for “caramelized onions” and this recipe might as well be my g-cal. Life’s good.
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and Caramelized Onions
Serves 2

3/4 cup red lentils
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
pinch cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 small onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar

To caramelize the onions, melt the butter over moderate heat. Throw in the onion and cook until beginning to brown. Sprinkle sugar evenly over onions and continue to cook until onions are brown, sweet, and sticky.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine lentils with water, stock, cayenne, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft and beginning to break down. Turn off heat, and stir in chopped parsley and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with caramelized onions.

as mentioned, recipes and images from the truly wonderful Pink of Perfection.

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