On several occasions I have discussed about eating on a budget* and shared my thoughts, knowledge as well as tips when it comes to feeding healthily and developping tasty menus despite one's sheer lack of money. As a matter of fact, my blog is dedicated to the art of living a humble and harmonious lifestyle that is oriented towards the respect of our bodily vessel and nature (understanding seasons, boycotting industrial food, going local, etc...).I firmly believe that it is possible to put together well-balanced and indulgent dishes without having to break the piggy bank. There are numerous produces out there that cost peanuts, are nutritious and gratifying. Quality doesn't always have to be linked to expensiveness (read this post on the subject).After more than 14 years of subsisting with very little, this frugal existence has become such a part of myself that even if my household's income was fatter and, as a result, it would enable me to cook meat at every meal, I'd still stick to my current dietary habits. Part-time vegetarianism is what suits me best (no elitism here). Having seven carnivorous meals a week would drain me of my energy and transform me into an unfit blob.Don't get me wrong, I adore beef, pork, lamb, chicken, wild, etc... as much as anybody else and refuse to totally stop enjoying animal flesh, but just as it is the case with bread, my organism would not be able to deal with it on a daily basis. I would put on weight, experience a sensation of heaviness and load my blood with bad cholesterol. Anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, a very considerable pleasure.- David Hume, “A Treatise of Human Nature”I see absolutely no pleasure in gobbling down steaks, stews and other meaty fry-ups all the time. Delectation comes from anticipation, craving and restriction whereas routine and abundance kill the thrill. Besides, an excessive consumption of meat is known to have negative repercussions on the environment (read this interesting piece of writing), thus people should be more responsible, less greedy and not take everything for granted.An alternative source of protein, omega-3, vitamins and minerals is fresh fish (ecologically farmed or fished). Unfortunately, I cannot afford to buy as much of it as I'd like to, so I make sure that I consume enough tinned fish (mackerel, herring, sardines/pilchards and tuna) as well as loads of vegetables, fruits, cereals, seeds, nuts, milk products and most importantly that I regularly incorporate legumes to my culinary creations. She spent the better part of her dayat work in the kitchen. At home with her mother, meals had been simple - fava beans and olive oil, rghaif and tea, bread and olives, couscous on Fridays, whatever her mother could afford to buy ]...[- Laila Lalami, "Hope And Other Dangerous Pursuits" I really love my beans. They are economical, sustainable, salubrious, hearty, delectable, exceptionally nutritional (protein, fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fats, calcium, potassium, zinc and many other essential nutrients) and incredibly practical. Once looked upon as peasant fare, this gorgeous ingredient is nowdays extremely trendy and considered Haute Cuisine. In 2012, it is difficult not to find a chef or person of letters who doesn't focus his/her attention on this wonderful produce and subsequently, blogs and magazines have jumped on the bandwagon too. Uncovering new methods of preparing those plant seeds is a hobby of mine. I'm constantly impressed by their versability and cannot get tired of them. This is why I was delighted when Crescent Dragonwagon asked me if I'd like to receive her latest book "Bean By Bean". There was no way I was going do decline her generous offer, especially since I had been eying this interesting publication on Amazon before it was released.I dare you to browse through "Bean By Bean" and not feel the urge to run to the kitchen and make a delicious pot of beans. With just a bean pot, a wooden spoon, and a few everyday ingredients, Crescent will be right by your side as you make incredible salads, soups, stews, chilis, and more. Long-time bean lovers will find lots of great information. And if you're new to beans, I can't imagine a happier introduction.- Steve Sando, Founder, Rancho Gordo New World Specialty FoodCrescent Dragonwagon (yes, that's her name!) was born in New York to writer-editor Charlotte Zolotow and the late show-business biographer Maurice Zolotow. She is the James Beard Award-winning author of seven cookbooks, including "Passionate Vegetarian" and "The Cornbread Gospels" as well as children's books, poetry collections and novels. Furthermore, this busy red-haired lady is a contributing editor to "Relish" magazine, has appeared on a few TV/radio programs (Good Morning America, Today, The Splendid Table, etc...) and has concocted her famous specialities for influential personalities such as Hillary and Bill Clinton, Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Paul Zindel and Betty Friedan.With her late husband C.D. spent 36 years in the Ozark Mountain community of Eureka Springs in Arkansas where they owned Dairy Hollow House, an acclaimed country inn and restaurant. Today, she lives in her 1795 Vermont farmhouse where she teaches two workshops ("Fearless Writing" & Deep Feast: Writing The World Through Food"), writes, cooks, gardens and grows 4 different varieties of bush beans. She is indubitably a talented woman and that shows in her well-researched and entertaining recent publication. "Bean By Bean" is chock-a-block full with mouthwatering, inspiring, enchanting, international (Tuniasia, Greece, Hungary, India Japan, France, America, etc...) and step-by-step formulas (200+) for simple as well as sophisticated entrées/starters (dips, spreads, etc...), sides (bread, sauteed vegetable, etc...), main courses (soups, salads, casseroles, skillets, etc...) and sweet treats/desserts (ice creams, cakes, cookies, etc...). Each of them is adaptable (multiple variations) and clearly coded as "meatist", "gluten-free", "vegetarian" or "vegan" - in most cases meat is optional. This amazing compendium overflows with frivolous humor, captivating information (about the science, nutrition and history of beans), masterful tips, lore, anecdotes and lovely quotes.A highly recommendable and enlightening read. Despite the fact that it contains not one single photo and only offers a handful of illustrations, this substantial and comprehensive cookbook is definitely a keeper and is a must-have addition to every foodie's bookshelf. It is impossible to leaf through "Bean By Bean" without feeling the irrepressable urge to run into kitchen and test one of her fabulous creations (for ex. "Three Sister Salad With Fresh Corn And Zucchini Ribbons", "Lentil Tapenade", "Tanzanian Black-Eyed Pea & Coconut Soup", "Brown Bean Chili With Sweet Potatoes", "Thai Green Curry Of Green Beans, "Green Pepper & Tofu", "Cornbread Pie A La Hippie", "Neo-Traditional Felafels", "Shiitake Mushrooms, Butter Beans & Southern Greens", "Lime Tofu Mousse-Custard", "Red Bean Ice Cream", etc...).Selecting a course to present on Rosa's Yummy Yums was not an easy task. With so much choice, I had difficulties making up my mind. Anyway, I finally opted for a soup as brothy concoctions are seldom featured on my blog and I thought that it would be a good idea to showcase one of the many divine potages which can be found in this epitome of scrumptiousness. Crescent Dragonwagon's "Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup" is subtly spicy, refined tasting and delightfully exotic. Its greatness lies in the elegant blend of contrasting flavors used (pungent/vibrant, piquant, fresh & balmy), its exquisitely velvety texture and vivid color echoing the incredible generosity and magnificence of the Middle East.As you can quite imagine, it was a big hit with us. We nearly completely emptied the pot at once and licked our bowls clean; not one drop of that heavenly velouté was lost. A soon to become classic at my place!* Check out my article "3 Ways To Eat On A Budget And Improve Your Health At The Same Time".Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup (Shawrbat Addas Majroosha)Slightly adapted from "Bean By Bean" by Crescent Dragonwagon, Workman 2012.Serves 6.Ingredients:1 Cup (225g) Split red lentils, picked over and rinsed2 Tbs Uncooked rice1 Biggish carrots, coarsely chopped1/4 Cup (60ml) Olive oil2 Large onions, chopped1 Jalapeño or other fresh chile, stemmed, seeds removed for mildness or left in for heat, chopped2 Tsp Fine sea salt2 Tsps Ground cumin2 Tsps Ground coriander1/2 Tsps Freshly ground black pepperA pinch of saffron threads 1/4 Cup (60ml) Freshly squeezed lemon juiceLemon slices, for garnishingChopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing Method:1. Combine the lentils, rice, and carrot in a large soup pot. Add 2 quarts (8 cups/1920ml) water and bring to a boil over high heat.2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chile and continue to cook until the onions are limp and golden, but not brown, about 5 minutes more.3. When the lentils come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Then stir in all the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and garnishes. Cover again and cook for about 15 minutes.4. Cool the soup to lukewarm-ish, then transfer to a food processor and buzz, pausing to scrape down the side of the bowl, until you have a nice thick puree.5. Return the soup to the pot and reheat it, stirring in the lemon juice just before serving it.Remarks:The split red lentils can be replaced by split yellow lentils and the basmati rice by 1 pita bread (preferably stale & torn into pieces).I didn't have any saffron threads, so I used 125mg ground saffron.Serving suggestions:Serve nice and hot with a lemon slice and a sprinkle of cilantro atop each bowl.You can also garnish the soup with fried onions or fried garlic.Soupe De Lentilles Rouges A La Syrienne (Shawrbat Addas Majroosha)Recette adaptée de "Bean By Bean" par Crescent Dragonwagon, Workman 2012. Pour 6 personnes.Ingrédients:1 Tasse (225g) de Lentilles rouges, rincées 2 CS de Riz basmati 1 Grosse carotte, grossièrement coupée 1/4 Tasse (60ml) d'Huile d'olive 2 Gros oignons, hachés 1 Piment jalapeño (ou autre piment frais), ouvert, épépiné ou non et haché 2 CC de Sel de mer fin 2 CC de Cumin moulu 2 CC de Coriandre moulue 1/2 CC de Poivre noir fraîchement moulu Une pincée de pistils de safran 1/4 de Tasse (60ml) de Jus de citron fraîchement pressé Les tranches de citron, pour la garnitureFeuilles de coriandre fraîches, pour la garniture (selon goût)Méthode: 1. Mettre les lentilles, le riz, et la carotte dans une grande casserole. Ajouter 2 litres (8 tasses/1920ml) d'eau et porter à ébullition sur feu vif. 2. Pendant ce temps, dans une grande poêle, faire chauffer l'huile d'olive à feu moyen-vif. Ajouter les oignons et les faire suer, en remuant souvent, jusqu'à ce qu'ils commencent à ramollir, pendant environ 5 minutes. Ajouter le piment et poursuivre la cuisson jusqu'à ce que les oignons soient dorés (mais pas bruns), pendant environ 5 minutes supplémentaires. 3. Quand l'eau des lentilles est en ébullition, baisser le feu et faire mijoter, à couvert, pendant environ 10 minutes. Puis ajouter tous les ingrédients restants (sauf le jus de citron et les garnitures). Couvrir et faire cuire pendant environ 15 minutes de plus. 4. Laisser refroidir la soupe afin qu'elle soit tiède, puis la transvaser dans un robot culinaire et mixer (racler le côté du bol entre chaque pulsation), jusqu'à obtention d'une purée épaisse et veloutée. 5. Remettre la soupe dans la casserole et la réchauffer, en remuant. Juste avant de servir, ajouter le jus de citron.Remarques: Les lentilles rouges peuvent être remplacées par des lentilles jaunes et le riz basmati par 1 pain pita (de préférence rassi et déchiré en morceaux). Comme je n'avais pas de pistils de safran, j'ai utilisé 125mg de safran moulu.Idées de présentation: Servir bien chaud avec une tranche de citron et saupoudrer avec une pincée de coriandre. Vous pouvez également garnir la soupe avec des oignon frits ou de l'ail frit.