Friday, July 23, 2010

vegan soup for the sickly soul

It's been a nutty week!  I really wish I could turn that into a pun involving the cashews in my crisper, but I can't.  Not yet, anyway - maybe later, but that's another tale for another time.

I could have posted about Tuesday night's dinner, Pasta Della California, but it didn't look any different than it did before and I didn't think it was blog-worthy to exclaim my excitement about finally finding and using a ripe avocado.  Scratch that - I don't think there was a single ripe avocado in the whole avo-pyramind they had set up at Whole Foods. I did, however, discover a secret that everyone else probably already knows - if you let your avocado sit on a pile of citrus (think lemons and limes) for a couple of days, it ripens up really nicely.  Think about that the next time you have a useless pile of citrus lying around.

I can't remember what I ate on Wednesday, but I know that it involved my leftover Eggplant Bites from my date.  Oh, and the leftover Pasta della California.  So I guess I do remember, it just wasn't anything special - before you know it, I'll rename Wednesday to Leftover Wednesdays (formerly One-Serving Wednesdays, formerly No-Cook Wednesdays).  Needless to say, it wasn't nearly exciting enough to photograph or write about.  "Mmmm, tonight I had leftovers that I barely bothered reheating!"  That'll keep you reading for sure.

Anyway, somewhere in there, Wednesday night, if memory serves, poor Mister got sick.  I woke up Thursday morning to find a cute little note he had written me while I was sleeping and he was sitting up sick and sad.  I called his work to let them know he wouldn't be in and left him sleeping while I trekked off to my new office (I didn't get a new job, just a new building and I'm still adjusting - it makes for an even longer commute in my aged and dying car). 

He wasn't up for eating when I got home, so I just threw something fun together for me.  I should have taken a picture, but I didn't know if it would be very attractive in the half-light of my kitchen.  It was made up of dark food - I took the last serving of Chickpeas Romesco, added some frozen spinach and one Tofurky kielbasa, quartered and sliced, and cooked up some of my black beluga lentils - it was very fun and I succeeded in making enough to take leftovers to work today.

Poor Mister realized he was a little hungry around 11 pm last night and here is my absolute favorite part of yesterday:  at 11:30, I was standing at my stove, in my apron, stirring a pot of aromatic, nourishing, steaming soup for the love of my life.  Many a time I have found myself popping a tray of cookies (well, almost-cookies) into a hot oven at that time of night, or maybe checking the "done-ness" of a batch of banana blondies, but there was something heart-warmingly nurturing about the soup.  It gave me such joy to throw together a bunch of fun ingredients (carrots, green pepper, shallots, garlic, chives, edamame, spinach, and orzo, along with the broth and some thyme and tamari) and make something tasty for my husband and his unfortunately challenged immune system. 

I have two distinct feelings about this soup:
1. PRIDE that I finally have enough "fluency" in cooking that I can just throw a bunch of things in a pot and call it soup...and then have someone else verify (without prompting) that it was very tasty.

2. REGRET that I didn't pay more attention while I was doing it so I could write up my first soup recipe...oh well, October will get here eventually.

When I returned from another fun and fascinating day at work and what felt like miles of loops looking for parking, I was still somewhat disappointed when Mister didn't want dinner again.  I briefly considered making the Pomegranate Tofu anyway, but that's a ton of work for just one person and more than half of it ending up as leftovers.  I poked around my cabinets and fridge, as well as prodded my little brain to come up with something creative and nutritious (otherwise, I could just take advantage of the charmingly close proximity of a bunch of great take-out restaurants).

To accompany my Yellow Tail Shiraz-Cabernet, aka Purple, I made what I have dubbed Carrot Noodles with Soba and Spinach.  Clever name, don't you think?  No, actually, you're probably thinking, "I wonder if she knows Soba are noodles and Carrot is a vegetable."  I am aware, thank you.  However, if you happen to have a nifty julienne peeler (which I do) or a spiralizer (nope, not yet), you can make "noodles" out of things like vegetables - in this case, carrots.  Here is a fun [rough] recipe:

Carrot Noodles with Soba and Spinach
4 oz soba noodles
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium carrots, julienne or spiralized (what a great word)
6 oz baby spinach
2-3 Tbsp brown rice miso (or whatever miso you prefer - white miso would probably taste good here, too)
1 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce

Boil noodles in water.  Meanwhile, briefly saute the garlic in oil on medium heat, then add carrots and stir well to coat with oil.  Saute, stirring often, 3-5 minutes, until carrots are noticeably more bendy (I hope that makes sense!).  Add spinach and stir in to wilt.

Before draining soba, reserve 1 cup of the water.  Mix water with miso until completely dissolved, then stir in tamari.  Pour this mixture into the carrot noodles and spinach, then add the noodles and cook another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to allow the noodles to soak up some of the sauce.

Eat with chopsticks because it's a sin to eat noodles like this with a fork.  Enjoy!

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