The Vernal Equinox, established when Julius Caesar designed the calendar, heralds the first day of spring, and an equal amount of day and night.
The Egyptians built the sphinx so it points toward the rising sun on this day, it is the beginning of the Persian New Year and significant in Christianity.
EGYPTIAN RED LENTIL SOUP
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 pound tomatoes, diced
1 1/4 cups red lentils
plain yogurt, lemon wedges and warm pita for serving
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, coriander and chile powder and cook until fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook just until softened, 2 minutes. Add the lentils and 4 cups of water and season with salt. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are very soft, 30 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender. Season with salt and serve with yogurt, lemon wedges and warm pita.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, February 2012