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There’s something very powerful about turning a pile of vegetables into a proper meal. The satisfaction/general victorious feeling that I get from finding a place for produce in our daily meals is one of the main reasons I’m attracted to cooking with plants, besides the more obvious nourishment factor. Another powerful feeling is finding a way to whip up a solid, plant-centric meal when you seemingly have no food left in the house. For me, that usually involves surveying the bottom of my crisper and pulling heavily from my pantry. That was the case with the recipe I have for you today, which took me from panicking about not having enough groceries to being well-fed and quite satisfied. I had a head of cauliflower I’d been ignoring, kale that was getting dangerously old, a bag of random Florida citrus, and mushrooms that didn’t make it into a stew (which are also optional in this recipe). The rest of the ingredients came straight from my pantry.
A few years ago, I developed this soup recipe for Food & Wine, and since then, it has become a staple in our household during the winter months. The soup is all about the broth, which is based on a combination of immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon and miso. Any time I feel a cold coming on or if I’m simply in need of something warming and comforting, I make a batch of this gingery, spicy, sinus-clearing soup, and it’s proven to be a lifesaver many times. I never follow the original recipe exactly, in fact I’ve developed a sort ‘no-recipe’ approach, which considers my mood and the ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes, when in a hurry, I make the broth on its own and sip on it like I would on hot tea. When looking for a more substantial soup, I add other wholesome ingredients like veggies, greens and mushrooms. Each time is a little different, but the golden broth framework ensures that the soup will be tasty and nourishing to the core every time.
If you ever do meal prep on the weekends for the week ahead, hummus is a great thing to consider including in your repertoire of preparations. It’s easy to make, keeps pretty well, and is a very useful thing to have on hand, since so many meals can be centered around it. Plop a generous dollop into your salads and grain bowls, spread onto sandwiches and flatbreads, use as a dipping component for snacks (roasted winter roots dipped in hummus is a recent favorite) – any way you use it, it’s a great, fast way to make your meal more filling and nourishing. Plus, homemade hummus tastes so much better than store-bought!
It’s interesting how motivating the tiniest tips from people you care about or respect can be. I was recently on a short flight and read the autobiography of a certain Soviet-era singer, whose music I grew up with. It was a thin, throwaway paperback that I read back to back during the flight, but something about her positivity really made an impression on me. This singer is almost eighty years old, but looks great and has stayed incredibly active, and the book is studded with small, often old-school tips of how she believes she’s managed to keep up her health. She walks everywhere she goes, covering large distances on foot in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and her two drinks of choice are carrot juice in the morning and chamomile tea at night. Sure enough, I’ve been noticing myself drinking both of those with more frequency and taking longer walks whenever possible. And it doesn’t matter to me how silly of a motivation that was, if it helps me get from point A to point B in taking more care of myself, I’m all in.
Happy New Year! Checking in with a quick breakfast recipe idea that was born out of my struggle to feed my very picky eight year old a nutritious breakfast. Chia pudding used to be a staple breakfast for her, flavored differently depending on the season or what was on hand, and I felt pretty good about her starting the day with a nice portion of the Omega-3 rich seeds. Then, one day she decided that she doesn’t like the texture of chia in her pudding any longer (too crunchy! too chewy!), and getting breakfast into her before leaving for school became a monumental task. I’m sure many parents out there can sympathize with me when I say I would pay money for this picky eating stage to be over. But for now, I deal with it by identifying a food Paloma loves and then trying to mask other nutritious ingredients with it. For example, she’s crazy about tomatoes, so I make a crushed tomato-based stew with other veggies mixed in, and she tends to be ok with eating that.