What I had for dinner:
This is a new combination for me, and I am utterly at a loss to explain how it came about: I emerged from the subway with a firm plan in my head, without having thought about it at all on the way. Call it Stream-of- consciousness soup. Better than Cream of consciousness, I suppose.
Two sliced shallots were cooked in 1 tsp each of butter and olive oil, then 5 sliced and seeded habanero peppers and a dozen shiitake mushrooms cup in strips were added. The mixture was cooked with stirring until all the liquid from the mushrooms had been evaporated, then 2 qts of water, 1 cup of (French) green lentils, a little cumin and marjoram were added at once.
The soup was simmered until the lentils were done, about 1/2 hr (true green lentils are quite forgiving; they do not fall apart like ordinary American lentils even when overcooked: this is of course a considerable advantage in soups). Then, one small head of escarole, shredded into 3-4 inch pieces was added and cooked until completely wilted. Finally, the juice of one lime was stirred in, and salt was adjusted to taste.
This is a fairly spicy soup, so be careful if you are not a pepper devotee. Liquids bring the spiciness to the tongue more efficiently than solids.