Since the beginning of this month, I’m resolved to hunker down to a healthier food regimen for the next eight weeks. As help for doing so, I’ve gone back to my macrobiotic books and cooking lifestyle that I encountered years ago when I wanted to recover from viral encephalitis. Western medicine couldn’t help me then except to admit that there wasn’t much they could do for virus infections except to let them run their course. So, I signed up for a macrobiotic cooking retreat at Kushi Institute out in western Massachusetts. At the time, I remember losing weight, eating a lot less and feeling healthier in general.
Now, it’s time to try it on again. What I would like to do is to incorporate flavor and a feeling of eating enjoyment to more stringent-seeming macrobiotic recipes. I know myself well enough to understand that too much austerity won’t last very long.
So today, on a glorious cool Sunday morning, I rescued vegetables from the fridge that needed to be used up – and made this vegetable soup. What I’m aiming for is a basic process for making vegetable soup that’s really tasty and that we won’t get tired of. Since macrobiotic cooking suggests that we eat a bowl of soup a day, it seemed like a good idea to experiment with a basic soup I could make often, using whatever vegetables I have on hand.
Here’s what I put into my “mac soup” today:
chopped vidalia onion (a leftover piece)
chopped celery (ditto)
chopped organic carrots (leftover from making carrot/hijiki last night for dinner)
1 1/2 chopped roma tomatoes
collard greens (2 stalks with rib cut out and green parts sliced up)
1 medium zucchini (sliced lengthwise and then cut across in bite-size pieces)
a handful of fresh spinach (already washed and stems removed in the fridge)
chicken broth gelatin (Knorr – which I use as needed and store the remainder in a jiffy bag in the fridge)
spring water as broth making medium
After cooking for awhile (20 minutes,) I put a lid on the soup and turned the heat down to very low. It’s important to taste the broth after it’s had a chance to simmer awhile. If it’s too bland, you can add a little more chicken broth or dashi granules if you prefer. If it’s already too salty, then add more water to taste. Usually, I am cautious not to add too much sodium – either in the chicken broth gelatin, soy sauce or salt. After all, the sweetness of the vegetables in broth are what macrobiotic cooking might be after, isn’t it?
I was also considering whether to add some barley, rice or asian noodles (like somen or soba noodles) to the vegetable broth. Maybe some other time. We’ll just have it for lunch in its more basic form.
With the soup, I might make grilled muenster cheese sandwiches with sesame Ezekial sprouted bread. This flour-less bread can be found in the freezer section of health food groceries in many markets. It’s also tasty as toast in the morning spread with cashew butter. Yum!