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.

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