Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fasting? Only if the cabbage soup counts as liquid!

Steve was in Silicon Valley for two weeks, with brief weekend visits. He left for Japan this morning. I'm on my own and can cook or not as I please.

So, I decided to fast today...after a little indulging at a wedding last weekend and too many meals out last week. It was only 10 am and I wasn't able to keep a rigorous fast going.

I drank a fresh carrot/beet/orange/watermelon juice concoction this morning (it was what our friend, Jack, who is staying with us, made).

Around noon, we went for a good workout at the Field House (a real deal since they allow you to buy 10-punch passes for a few dollars a day as a resident).

I came home hungry. What a surprise, I know. I squeezed a fresh grapefruit into a large glass of water. I was still hungry. Again, big surprise.

I decided to make a healthy, brothy veggie soup, thinking that if I blended it, it would be sort of like fasting, right?

As with anything I cook, my concept evolved based on what was in the fridge and some in-the-moment inspirations.

I decided to saute a couple of yellow onions and a half dozen green onions (yep, lots of onions). I threw in tablespoons of pungent chopped garlic and fresh ginger root. I had some gorgeous bok choy and red cabbage, which I chopped up next. I added three cartons of organic chicken broth. Then I squeezed the last lemon I had over the pot, drizzled a little honey and sesame seed oil, seasoned the soup with liberal sprinkles of cayenne pepper a few shakes of salt, and stirred slowly.

As the mixture cooked, I remembered that I had some whole dried shitaake mushrooms from the Asian foods store, so I added a dozen of these large, crinkled brown mushrooms.

My goal was retaining nutrition, so I turned the flame off early, while everything was still nice and crunchy. I ladled several cups into my blender and pressed "liquify." The shitaake mushrooms didn't exactly liquefy and retained their unique texture somehow.

The puree wasn't pretty but it tasted good. And, surprisingly, I actually felt full with one bowl of soup after a full workout. Not bad.

Meanwhile, I was invited to a friend's (Elisabeth Lentz's) neighbor's house for a period of sitting meditation and thought it would be a good way to end my afternoon. I knocked on Bonnie's and Mark's door at 4:45 pm. They regularly open their beautiful home in Silver Springs for mindfulness meditation. Elisabeth (a realtor) and Robb (a pilot) joined in, so the five of us sat together until 5:30. Nice. Quieter mind. Alas, I had a growling stomach too.

Committed to veggies and clear liquids, I had another bowl of soup, this time, unblended and much more attractive with the red and green cabbage pieces decorating the broth.

Jack decided to sample the soup. He gasped a little at first. The cayenne and fresh ginger made the soup pretty peppery. Not a big cabbage fan, he liked the soup, a testimonial indeed!

Steve would undoubtedly have wanted something more on the menu if he had been here, but he's starting to be more and more interested in vegetarian cooking. On a tangent, he has decided to learn more about Indian cooking after several trips to India.

So, here I sit, blogging and realizing I am, yes, a bit hungry again. The challenges of a sort-of fast, on a workout day, no less.

The good news is that I don't have that edgy hunger that comes sometimes only hours after a meal full of refined sugars and carbs.

Meanwhile, I am thinking of Steve as I get ready to sign off. I hope he is able to rest on his trans-Pacific flight (it's two days of travel each way when you included air, train, and car travel.

I'll have to tell my husband about my incredibly peppery, sesame-ginger-garlic cabbage soup. He'll laugh and tell me that he's sure it was "stew," since he thinks I put "too much stuff" in my soups. And, he'll ask whether I kept notes so I can make it again. I'm sure I can make it again, Steve, if you're reading this in Japan before we talk!

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