I’m feeling super guilty- it’s been almost a MONTH since my last post!  You all must have begun to wonder if I was ever coming back.  In my defense, it has truly been a crazy month.  In my last post, I mentioned that we had to move due to a huge maintenance issue.  Since Misha and I moved into our apartment in October of 2010, we have had these pests called “drain flies,” flitting around being gross and multiplying before our eyes.  I think they are the second most obnoxious house pest anyone could ever have to deal with (with bedbugs being #1, of course).  Unlike bedbugs, they don’t bite, but they are similarly impossible to get rid of.  They can only live and breed somewhere where there is a broken or clogged pipe/seal, and if you find what’s causing them and fix it they’ll disappear.  The trick is finding what’s causing them, which took our maintenance group a year (with lots of aggravated prodding from us), and resulted in them telling us “There’s a broken pipe under your apartment, and we’ll have to tear up the floors to fix it, so we have to move you [read: we have to move]”.  So, long story short, this has been the month of packing and moving.  The easy part was that we moved in right next door to our old place; the hard part was moving (ha, ha).  Is there anything more stressful than thinking about moving? Oh yeah, moving.  SOOOOOOooo….

So, stress + work + moving= not blogging.  I’m going to try to remember not to lump those three things together again anytime soon, so that I don’t end up missing four weeks of sharing fun Hungarian recipes with all of you!

Somehow, in the midst of all the moving drama, we managed to join Misha’s family and thirty of their closest family friends on a mountaintop in Pennsylvania called Blue Ridge Summit.  They all go every year, and it’s a fun and beautiful weekend packed with hiking, biking, swimming, and lots of cooking and general fellowship.  While there we hiked a small section of the Appalacian Trail, and it was COVERED in mushrooms- every size, shape, and color was represented.  It was absolutely incredible.  For meals, each family that comes has to pick a meal to serve for everyone, so for Sunday lunch we volunteered to make one of my favorite soups of all time:  Portabella Mushroom and Lentil Soup.

Now, let’s be clear here: this recipe is not exactly Hungarian.  Ok, it’s not really Hungarian at all.  It is just what I happen to be making and craving at the moment.  Some weeks I just don’t get around to cooking or baking Hungarian, and I still want to be able to share recipes with you even if they’re not Hungarian (there will be more on that topic in a later post!).  The best thing about sharing this soup recipe with you is that it does have a Hungarian connection, even if it’s slim.  Soups of all sorts are a very common Hungarian meal, and there is even a Hungarian Mushroom soup (Grandma has her own recipe for it, I believe- maybe I’ll make that next week?).

This soup is also just incredibly delicious.  I got the recipe from a neighbor years and years ago, and it never fails to disappoint.  When the air starts to turn cool and cold rain is falling on colored leaves, this soup is the perfect heart warmer.   It has very simple ingredients and preparation, and is cheap and quick to make.  The hearty, meat-like portabellas are low in calories and sodium and high in fiber.  This soup is also a step better than vegetarian- it’s vegan!  Yup, this is one of the only meals I make and love where cheese is not necessary, or even missed.  A little salt and pepper and a French or Country Wheat baguette with butter and I am SET.  Also, feeds a crowd quite well- and they’ll NEVER miss the meat with this one!

Portabella Mushroom and Lentil Soup

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 large portabella mushroom caps, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, with their juices (this is supposed to be a normal sized can.  You can always add more tomatoes though, and fresh cherry tomatoes crushed with a potato masher are great in it too)

1 cup dried brown lentils

5 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley if desired


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan (about six quarts).  Add garlic and onion and sauté until the onions become soft and transparent, about 3 minutes.  Add portabellas (you may need to add a bit more oil as well) and sauté until they begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, lentils, and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and simmer for about an hour, or until soup thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley if desired.  Serves well with bread and butter.  Easily doubled or tripled to feed a large group.