Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Soup heals

I've blogged before about my soup lust. I crave it often, for its soothing and warming and comforting goodness. And especially when cold and flu season rolls around, because soup heals.

There is something absolutely curative about a steaming bowl of homemade soup. Many mothers know this, and when the little ones get a tickle in their throats, out comes the soup pot. Chicken soup is a mainstream favorite, but vegetarians can make just as potent a concoction with nothing but vegetables, water, and a few seasonings. It really helps if you include a good quantity of love and other immune-boosting ingredients.

My neighbor LJM, of peach pie fame, has come down with a nasty chest thing and feels rotten. So I decided to cook up a pot of soup, to cure what ails her and to prevent the super-spouse and me from coming down with it.

Fortunately, I had a fridge full of GREAT veggies, so I didn't have to make a run to the store. I just chopped up some onion, celery, yellow squash, green beans, broccoli, and garlic and put them in a stockpot with a pretty good quantity of veggie broth. Added coconut milk, some homemade curry powder, and some tamari and brought her to a simmer.

That's when I added the soba noodles. I usually use rice noodles in a soup like this, for a Southeast Asian touch, or some cooked brown or basmati rice. This time I wanted the earthy goodness of buckwheat, though, and found a half package of soba in my pasta basket. Perfect!

Bear with me now. When the soup had come back to a boil, I added some white fish fillets. LJM said she needed protein and she had some fresh fish on hand that needed to be used, and so I used it. (NOTE: This soup would have been just as good, and better by some standards, without it.) Just laid the whole fillets right on top of the steaming soup, and then mounded a bunch of chopped chard on top of the fish. Put on the lid and simmered for about five minutes.

When I lifted the lid, the chard had barely wilted. I stirred it gently into the soup, and in the process the fish broke up into perfect bite-size pieces.

The final touch: lots of fresh ginger. I used my trusty microplane zester and in a flash I had added a good tablespoon or so of ginger "paste" to the soup. Another gentle stir and it was done.

It was delicious. I know the three of us are much better for having eaten it, fish and all. And I'm already looking forward to my next soup, maybe spicy lentils with cauliflower and spinach. I still have some beautiful veggies on hand.


At 11:20 PM, Blogger bakehouse dori said...

I agree a good veggie soup hits the spot. :)

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Lulu Coyote said...

Faith-- Yummmmmmmm I love reading your recipes, esp. soup right now as I've got the sore throat/cold thing coming on. I send you wild Lulu Coyote love!!!


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