When Jonas Came to Town

A storm called Jonas does not steal quietly into South Florida. It announces its presence on a Friday with strong winds and pouring rain while I type away, enjoying my usual lunch of crunchy peanut butter toast. Although I normally love the snap of the billowing canvas that reminds me of sailing on a rough sea, I run to roll up the patio awning just as an especially vicious gust threatens to tear it from the wall. My dog hides beneath my feet as the windows rattle, and the wind chimes jangle in panic. All weekend, rain and wind pound the surf. The temperature drops twenty degrees, and teenaged girls wear furry boots with their shorts. Those of us with thinner blood pile on sweaters and reach for rarely worn jackets tucked in the back of our closets. Restaurants are empty and streets, deserted. Even the tourists are scant.  Flowers droop miserably in the unexpected downpour and palm fronds litter the streets. Come Monday, locals dodge them on the drive to work, wipers working furiously.  At day’s end, home safe, I sigh with relief. With waterlogged rain gear relegated to the garage, I tuck my wet feet into slippers, pour a glass of wine, and heat up some stew . . .

Winter Lentil Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This soup is wonderful and makes for a filling meal straight from the pot or as pictured with grilled cheese made with my favorite sprouted grain bread. If you prefer tomatoes with no salt added, this soup will need to be salted. I use a spicy sausage so that generally takes care of the pepper, but don’t forget the salt! Happy eating and stay warm!
Serves: 4
  • 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled, halved with green germ removed
  • 3 celery ribs roughly chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 onion roughly chopped (1 cup)
  • 16oz can diced tomatoes mostly drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼cup green or brown lentils
  • 1lb spicy chicken sausage
  • 4-5 small red potatoes skin on and cubed
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • cheese rind
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
  1. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large sauté pan, add the sausage and cook through.
  2. Spoon the meat onto a plate covered with a couple layers of paper towel and put the plate in the refrigerator.
  3. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, and onion and another tablespoon of oil to the same pan.
  4. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are partially cooked.
  5. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, and 2 quarts of water to a large soup pot.
  6. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, and onion to the same pot.
  7. Cheese rind is one of my favorite things to add to soup. Every time we finish a wedge of cheese, I save them in the freezer specifically for this purpose. Add the cheese rind to the pot, cover partially, and simmer approximately 1 hour.
  8. Add the potatoes to the soup pot and simmer until tender, 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the sausage from the refrigerator, and add it to the soup.
  10. Remove the cheese rind and bay leaf and serve.


After the storm

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  • I still don’t understand all of the “INs and OUTs” of this site, but I’ll send the same thing to your other e-mail address. The photo image of the beach is absolutely magical! It’s a real “keeper”. You captured the light, the shadows, and the reflections. The “cherry on top of the sundae”, is (are?) the figures in the distance. That’s what makes the image memorable.

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