Twenty-twelve…the year of the auspicious dragon (and the phoenix)! I find that it can be helpful to name a year, and allow all New Year’s intentions to be fulfilled by the chosen moniker. 2012 = My Year of Strength. What are your intentions for this new year, and what would you choose for its name?
To begin with strength of mind, Mr. Trek and I joined the Goodreads 50/50 Challenge: to read fifty books, and view fifty films, (all new to us) during the year. Pinterest is a great spot to track the progress, if you’re doing this challenge or one which is similar.
One of the first reads that I chose for 2012 was The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait. Talk about starting off the year true to theme! Frida Kahlo always has fascinated me, and she truly embodied strength through perseverance and self-awareness. “The body is the temple of the soul. The face is the temple of the body. And when the body breaks,the soul has no other shrine except the face.”
Such an inspirational and reflective piece of art and poetry requires a cozy meal that will snuggle you right in! Enter a newly discovered recipe from a *fantastic* cookbook, Clean Food, loaned to me by Patricia. With the earthiness of the mushrooms and the heartiness of the beans and legumes, it’s basically the love child of a good veggie soup and a bean concoction. The barley puffs up during the simmering process, and the kombu basically eliminates the unpleasantries (ahem, can we say, “Toot City”) sometimes provided by our friend, the lentil. Feel free to throw in any veggies from your pantry or fridge, but plan ahead. This delightful dish, called Goodness Soup, takes approximately three hours to simmer to its fabulous potential!
2 thumb-sized pieces kombu*
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 ½ c cooked navy or great northern beans
1c hulled barley, rinsed
1c lentils, rinsed
1T dried parsley
1T dried basil
1 bay leaf
¼ c mirin or white wine
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Place kombu* in bowl with enough water to cover, soak 10 minutes until soft. Drain, mince and set aside.
In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes. Lower heat and add carrots, celery, beans, barley, lentils, parsley, basil, bay leaf, mirin and tamari. Stir to combine, add water and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, add kombu and continue cooking covered for a minimum of 3 hours – the longer it cooks, the thicker it will get. Add water as desired to thin, particularly when reheating leftovers.
Remove bay leaf (if you can find it), season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Soup will keep in fridge for up to 1 week or can be kept in airtight containers in the freezer.
*Kombu – a type of dried seaweed/sea vegetable found in Asian markets; infuses foods with minerals such as iodine and iron. Also known for its ability to tenderize legumes and reduce their gaseous properties.
Stir one tablespoon miso dissolved in three tablespoons of water into each serving.
Yield – 8+ servings