Monday, January 28, 2013

The Soup of Ages

I dreamed that I had escaped enslavement by men on horses. I had a companion and together we travelled on foot through a forest terrain. Eventually we came to a clearing by a river and stood on a rounded low hill next to the water that was covered in smooth rocks. Across the brown river were cliffs, maybe 50 feet high. On top of the cliffs were formations made of rocks stacked on top of each other in gravity-defying piles – like the stacks of rocks you see in zen gardens. There were many of these on top of the cliffs, spaced about 10 feet apart and each of these was also a waterfall.
Then we were walking across a schoolyard toward a school building. The sky was cloudy. Inside the school building, no school was going on. The school had been converted into a shopping mall but I could hear children reciting lessons a floor above. The floor that I was on had various stores and one was an optometrist. No longer concerned about being enslaved, I got an eye exam.

Then I was a short, troll-like man with an equally short, troll-like female companion. She wore a hood. We were selling a big pot of homemade vegetable broth door to door. Many doors were closed in our face. At one residence in an apartment building, a woman answered the door who looked a lot like Lady Elaine from Mr. Rogers. The me in my dream thought to myself of this lady that “the tip of her nose looked like it was pushing a dinosaur”. Her nose was long.
I heard music playing in the hallway and it was my alarm clock.

This dream pairs well with the following meal:

Vegetable Broth (if I suggested anything else it would be blasphemous)

I have never actually made vegetable broth from scratch, but I have made chicken and beef broth with startlingly wonderful results. Making broth is easy though, makes your house smell good and freezes well. You can use it in almost anything in place of water - like rice, quinoa, and so on and so forth. You can save vegetable scraps in a bag in a freezer and use them to make broth later.

But basically, to make it you'd need carrots, onions (leave the skins on for a richer golden color), celery, as a basic, but other vegetables can be used too. Maybe stay away from broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage as they tend to give the broth a slightly off putting odor. But if that doesn't bother you then by all means include them. I've even heard that you can add egg shells to the broth to give it extra calcium. You can also add whatever herbs you'd like: dried oregano, thyme and basil are good, and a bayleaf or two.

Put these vegetables and scraps and such in a big soup pot and fill it with water. Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for an hour or two. Strain out your vegetables. Bam - you've got broth. HOWEVER. You can take this a step further, but only if you love flavor. If you prefer a lighter broth, then stop right here, you are done. But if you love flavor, then consider the following:

After you strain out the vegetables, pour the broth back in to the pot and continue simmering for another hour or two until the liquid reduces by about an inch or so. This step will give you a rich, dark and completely flavorful broth and is highly recommended by me and Lady Elaine.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why is a stranger wearing my clothes

[DISCLAIMER: I frequently have dreams in which my boyfriend is a complete jerk. In real life he is actually a very nice person and not a jerk at all.] I dreamed that I was attending an awards show for film or television, but it was being held at a honky tonk bar in the country. Actually it was more of a saloon because it had wooden floors and tables and swinging doors which when opened revealed a stereo-typical wild west dusty brown wasteland. A strange place indeed to hold an awards show for film or television.

In the audience with me were my boyfriend and some other real-life friends. We were sitting in chairs around a table, facing an empty wooden stage. I was wearing a floral dress and cowboy boots. Next to me was a girl I don’t know who looked rather bored, but my boyfriend was sitting on her other side and whispering in her ear and hugging her and such. She was wearing a dress that I own in real life. Actually she might have been the model from the website that I bought that dress from. Anyhow, I was supposed to be okay with this behaviour because my boyfriend was just trying to be nice to her or something like that, maybe she was new in town, I don’t know. I was annoyed so I went into the bathroom and took off my cowboy boots.
This dream pairs well with the following meal:

Vegan “cream” of broccoli soup & The Ultimate Coffee Shop [DISCLAIMER: Not vegan] Sandwich
I think I might have dreamed this because earlier in the day I thought my throat was feeling scratchy like I was getting sick. It is flu season after all. My theory is that we have bad dreams when we are sick [DISCLAIMER: I am not a scientist and this “theory” is based on absolutely no scientific evidence.]  As a result I thought I should consume as many vegetables as possible in one single dish. The joke’s on me though because it turns out I wasn’t getting sick at all.

For the soup you will need:

2 bunches of broccoli, florets and stems, chopped
1 large potato or 2 smaller potatoes, diced. Leave the skins on because they’re good for you.
2 carrots (optional), chopped
1 medium onion, diced
Garlic, as much as you wish or can tolerate, minced or finely chopped
olive oil
About 42 oz of vegetable broth or water
Salt & pepper to taste
Whichever spices you wish. I would suggest oregano; it’s supposed to be good for fighting colds.
Immersion blender, regular blender or hand masher

Sauté the onions and carrots in olive oil in a big pot till the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two more. Add the broccoli and potato. Add the broth or water. You want enough to just cover the veggies. Add the spices. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots, potatoes and broccoli are soft – soft enough that you can easily pierce them with a knife. When they are soft, use an immersion blender and blend everything until it’s smooth, or blend in a blender or just mash with a potato masher until it’s as blended as you can get it.

For the sandwich, you will need:

Bread: homemade whole wheat is best but if it has to be store-bought, then get the bread with the most oatmeal/nuts/seeds etc. in it you can find.
Muenster cheese
Tomato, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Alfalfa or other sprouts (did you know that you can sprout these at home?)
Mustard, if desired

Build your sandwich as tall as you can. The foundation absolutely MUST be based on a really REALLY thick slice of cheese. At least ¼” thick at a minimum. I suggest this order: bread, mustard, cheese, tomato, cucumber, red onion, sprouts, bread.

After you eat this, you will be filled with so many vitamins that it would be a good idea to find whatever person is doing something to annoy you in your life and tell them to knock it off.