Last night was the holiday potluck my manager holds every year. Since it was both the last Christmas-y event I have and the official end of the season, as well as the first time in four years I've been able to make it to the party, I was pretty excited. I decided I wanted to bring two dishes, and figured I'd fool around and make something up, and then bring something that's a sure bet. I'll share both recipes, but here's the sure bet first. It's adapted from Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet," which is a book I'd highly recommend and played a large role in my becoming vegan in the first place. I've just tweaked the recipe a little bit so it's a little thicker and more like a stew than a soup. It's delicious on it's own, though I sometimes spoon it over whole grain couscous or polenta. It'd also be lovely over some bulghur. Alicia Silverstone's Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew Oil for sauteing (I just use olive, but the book recommends safflower) 1 onion, diced 2 small tomatoes, diced 1 tsp fresh grated ginger 1.5 tsp turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp cayenne salt to taste 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 2.5 cups vegetable broth 1 cup dry brown lentils Heat the oil in a sizable, heavy bottomed pan. Saute the onion til softened, about two minutes, then add tomatoes and ginger and saute two more minutes. Add the spices and a bit of salt and stir it all together. After a minute or two, rinse the lentils and add to the pot, followed by the sweet potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer, cover, and let cook about 20-30 minutes, til the tomatoes and lentils are soft. And that's all she wrote; it's a mindlessly simple recipe and really tasty. It's also fantastic comfort food, especially on these chilly nights, and guilt-free, to boot.