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Posts Tagged ‘scallions’

S&M Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on February 9, 2015 at 2:04 am

“Life itself is the proper binge.” ~Julia Child

s&m soup

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I’ve masterminded a soup that is for the brave, wacky, and tad bit suicidal parts of all us (oh, come on, don’t play coy with me). I haven’t read the Fifty Shades of Grey book (heard the writing was terrible but that’s not the point, right?) and I’m not sure I’ll watch the movie since I’m not convinced the acting will be very good. But I do recommend watching Secretary with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal for a bit of uncomfortable but fascinating entertainment in a sexy, disturbing way. Kind of like this soup.

Speaking of sexy. It didn’t used to be sexy to speak about your colon and it’s functions or contents. And while it’s still not exactly sexy, it does seem to be the hippest new topic out there. The registered dietitian’s mantra has always been “The road to health is paved with good intestines.” And now it seems that everyone else cares about their colon as well. Now it’s totally hip to eat – and make your own – fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kraut, and kombucha (this blog post brought to you by the letter “K”). Kimchi has a powerful, sour-spicy kick and I love it with fried eggs so I thought this soup was worth a try.the joy of food

Since it consists mostly of kimchi and gochujang with some tofu and scallions thrown in, this soup is kind of dark and dangerous. If the Korean spices aren’t intense enough then wait until the end when you top your bowl with a raw egg yolk. I freaked out at the last minute and tried to soften the blow by adding avocado. This soup has an oddly addictive quality to it but I’m not sure that I actually enjoyed eating it. Hence the name of the soup.

All of the gut-friendly benefits of fermented kimchi are lost in this soup recipe but that shouldn’t stop you from taking pleasure from this spicy, broth-y, brooding soup. All encounters with food need not be transactional. You are allowed to eat for pure pleasure from time to time. Stand down from the vigilance around “being healthy”. Treat yourself with kindness. But, if you want more info about maintaining a healthy gut, read on or skip to the recipe below.

Traditional fermented foods like kimchi (and miso and kraut) contain live bacteria (if not super-heated) essential for a healthy gut which in turn positively affects your immune system, endocrine system, and nervous system. For a quick summary on your gut and mental health, read Happy Gut, Happy You and for a more in-depth look at how our gut affects our mind (with links to interesting research), read this article and podcast from NPR.

Fermented and Pickled are not the same thing. Pickling often involves vinegar and sometimes sugar. Fermentation only requires water and salt and the fermentation occurs spontaneously with naturally-occurring bacteria found on the vegetables – well, really, it’s airborne and found on many things, even the glassware used during fermentation. kimchi ingredientsAdditionally, pickled products are shelf-stable through high-heat pasteurization so, even if they did have some beneficial bacteria (which they don’t), it would be destroyed by this process.

To find authentic, fermented products they must be located in the REFRIGERATED section of your market and will most likely have the words “raw”, “live cultures”, or “probiotics” somewhere on the front of the label. Read the back of the label as well for the ingredients list. Avoid sugar, MSG, and preservatives.

S&M Soup Ingredients:

1lb. silken tofu, cubed

1 TBSP raw sesame oil

4 cups cabbage kimchi, gently squeezed and chopped, plus 1 cup liquid

2-4 TBSP gochujang (what can you handle?)

8 scallions, sliced thinly

2 TBSP tamari (I used reduced-sodium)

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

6 large egg yolks (or 1 per bowl)

a shake or two of toasted sesame seeds

kimchi and gochujangHeat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Pour liquid off jar of kimchi (reserve) and coarsely chop. Add kimchi to the heated oil (first!) and then add gochujang (or it will start popping and sizzling and splattering everywhere!). Cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu cubes, and simmer about 4 minutes. The original recipe stated that the tofu will be slightly puffed and firmed up. I saw no such change in the tofu. I simply waited for them to rise to the top like ravioli. This might have been a tofu-cooking-failure but tofu doesn’t actually need to be “cooked from a food safety perspective. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.

Add scallions, soy sauce, and tofu to kimchi broth; simmer gently about 20–25 minutes. Add sesame oil. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with an egg yolk and sesame seeds. Attempt to enjoy.

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Forcing the Soup

In Mindfulness, Recipe on January 24, 2015 at 3:37 am

“Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold on to the truth within yourself as to the only truth.” ~ Buddha

coconut red lentil soup

Second time is the charm.

Fueled by dark chocolate coconut haystacks, decaf chai, and the Bon Iver Pandora station, I banged out this soup one afternoon mostly because the light in my kitchen was waning; therefore, my window for decent food photography was closing. That was my first red flag. You know red flags? Those super obvious banners alerting you – but only in retrospect, of course – to the situations, turns, decisions, or people you should have ran from. Well, everyone knows you can’t rush the soup; however, that’s exactly what I was doing. And the soup ended up terrible because I forced it…to be made…well, I forced it into the trash as well.

lentils colander

Split red lentils are really tiny. Like, tiny enough to fit through a colander hole.

Second red flag: attempting to rinse lentils in a colander. Those suckers are tiny. Red flag #3: I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed and was actually considering subbing goji berries for golden raisins. When a friend rushed over with her supply of raisins (who actually has golden raisins on hand?), I falsely thought “this soup is meant to be”. Final red flag: I glanced at stove clock at 5:33pm and realized that, damn it, I’d missed the sunset. I had a pang of regret that grew exponentially after a blizzard of sunset photos stormed my social media feeds.

Why did I continue on despite feeling uneasy and unfocused? I know better. I’m in tune. I’m a yogini. I don’t force things to happen. I allow things to happen. I meditate. I set intentions not goals. OK. That last part is not true and that’s where the problem lies. I had made it a goal to make a new soup every Thursday regardless of whether or not SoupAsana commenced. So…even though I was tired and had a lot scheduled for the following day and had a lot of space in my weekend (where I could make soup!), the specificity of my goal (to Thursdays) forced me to move forward with soup-making against the signs of the universe.

lentil soup - bad

Inedible. In the trash.

Perhaps I am being dramatic. A terrible pot of soup is not such a big loss. But, really, how often have you done this with important things? Like your health, your relationships, your career. We insist on things happening in a certain way, at a particular time, and we set measurable goals to make sure that it all goes down as planned. And then eventually, after enough forcing and ignorance, there’s an injury – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and you just knew it was coming. You always knew. The signs were there. You just didn’t want to see them.

Anyway, it’s just soup. And it’s also a tidy little reminder to heed the nudges of the universe and tuggings of your heart. Your ego is the one making the goals and setting the timelines but your heart can see the future and knows that timing is everything. Follow it.

I made a second attempt at this soup the following day. I tweaked some measurements and ingredients. I was more present. It made all the difference.

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
8 cups water
2 cups carrots, cut into rounds
2 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP ghee (or butter or olive oil)
8 scallions, only white and light green parts, finely chopped
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14oz can coconut milk
4 tsp fine grain sea salt
handful cilantro, chopped

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water – just don’t rinse them in a colander! Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft (important to test this as I charged ahead with soup-making and peas were still hard!).

chai and coconut haystacks

Dinner of chai and chocolate on the first night.

Add ghee to a pan over medium heat along with scallions, ginger, and raisins. Saute for about five minutes stirring constantly until everything is greasy and glassy, then add the tomato paste and saute for another couple minutes.

Add the curry powder (the original recipe recommends toasting curry powder. It’s stressful. Don’t do it.) to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so (this is your opportunity to make it taste good. Let it simmer. Taste it. Add salt. No texting.)

Enjoy topped with cilantro and yogurt if your curry powder had some kick!