Yesterday, a dear friend came to remove Luther’s sutures after his eye surgery, and to paint for a bit. (We’re working on our CODEX paintings. Moon 7.)
I fixed lunch. The intention… celebration and comfort for body, mind, and spirit.
The menu tended in the direction of rustic elegance.
First, soup. I began with a quart of homemade broth. In this case, grass-fed, local beef broth, FodMap diet style which means no onions, no garlic, and limits on certain veg.
You can begin with whatever you have and trust, avoiding, I sincerely hope, the stuff in cans. Veg broth, chicken, pork, even seafood broth all work nicely! Or, for super simple, organic freeze dried mushrooms soaked in hot water until the color of strong tea and drained well through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (Not FodMap.) Use resulting broth then save mushrooms to add to soup.
After thawing the broth overnight in the fridge, I steeped it, partially covered, for a couple of hours, simmering gently, rather like tea, with 4 or 5 organic star anise pods, an organic cinnamon stick, about 1/3 of a warm but not hot dried pepper, 2 fresh bay leaves, and a small bundle of thyme and rosemary from the garden. This left me with a broth tending in the direction of Asian flavors.
About half a shot of cognac would not be amiss during the simmering process.
About an hour before lunch, I finely chopped a small organic fennel bulb and the stems of a bundle of organic Italian (flat leaf) parsley and added them to the steaming broth.
Meanwhile I heated some previously cooked organic brown rice in the oven. Brown rice ramen noodles work well, too, but we were out.
Then, back outside, just before serving, for the first batch of organic arugula from the garden. A quick rinse and a fine chop later, it was time to dish up the soup, after a moment to scoop all the herbs and spices out of the pot.
Brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Chopped, raw arugula on top of that. Broth, with added fennel and parsley, ladled generously over all.
Season to taste with good natural sea salt, freshly ground mixed pepper corns, and a gentle drizzle of organic garlic olive oil which works even for most FodMap friends.
I served the soup with sides of perfectly ripe organic avocado, topped with a smidge of fruity Italian olive oil, and salt & pepper, along with some organic local sourdough crackers. Nuts would add some extra protein.
You can do the same thing with the ingredients you love, enhanced but not buried by the flavors that work for you and whatever’s great in the garden. Or farmers market.
Yes, it’s easier if you happen to have a freezer full of really good broth. And it took a bit of clock time, but very little effort, to fix. Check locally and online for high quality broth which you can find in shelf stable boxes or, especially in the case of seafood broth, frozen and delivered to your door. Yum!
Or, if you happen to have an InstantPot, learn a super simple broth process soon. You’ll be several steps closer to your version of comfort, healing, celebration… whatever you’re hoping for from lunch.
No dessert needed, especially if you have time to paint!
My wish for you this day is inspiration…