This recipe is one of my top ten things to prepare. It's easy, yet refined, with barely any clean up at all.
Since I got sick in Asia (my liver was like 🖕🏼) I haven't been able to eat gluten, dairy, sugar, grains, beans, nuts, spicy food, caffeine, and I already don't eat meat or drink. At no point have I been hungry or bored and at no point has protein been an issue. Eating like shit is just a habit. Habits are the opposite of consciousness. Avocado, Japanese sweet potato, broccoli, curry tofu and beet greens, roasted carrots, balsamic beets, parsley, and olive oil. No recipe. The recipe is the ingredients.
I've made this soup probably forty times, and each and every time I'm blown away by how elegant and simple it is. It's incredibly creamy without being fatty at all. It's rich and decadent, hearty and nourishing, yet there's really nothing in it but cauliflower and onion. It takes a master chef to do something this well, this simply. Paul Bertolli was the chef at Chez Panisse for a good long while, the groundbreaking restaurant Alice Waters started in Berkeley. Because of Chez Panisse I cook the way I do, and we have greenmarkets like we do, and an emphasis on local sustainable food like we do. I will tell you that it does require some pretty heavy salting so if it seems a little flat, that's what you're missing. Truffle oil isn't out of line here either, and I like a sprig of time. I would definitely recommend this for a dinner party.
I wrote this recipe out for a friend of mine on March 3, 2015. The story stays the same, the healing properties stay the same, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did and I'll continue to. I don't drink any more but a big part of what I try to do is get people to enjoy cooking as much as possible, and wine helps most people relax during cooking.
REMEMBER: Food is medicine. Bone broth has considerable health benefits so even if you're the staunchest vegan - have an open mind.
This is by no means a complicated, highbrow recipe. I didn’t learn it from an old Oaxacan lady with leathery hands when I lived in Mexico. I have no memories of standing on a milk crate watching my mom or any other family member concocting this in a warm kitchen when I had the flu or anything like that. It will however, be in my recipe box until the end of my days, and by then I will hopefully have passed it down to someone who has rich memories of eating it like I do. If I don’t - you’re the carrier now! Make this soup for lots of people! It has all the components of an heirloom recipe. Simple, nourishing, healing, and it just has LOVE in it, you know what I mean? Also, no dishes.
The first time I made this, I had been a staunch vegan for about 5 years. Brian was sick, in withdrawal actually, and my nerves were shot. Sleep and eating had been so far on the back burner and both of us wanted our Moms. We were in a tough spot, pretty close to rock bottom and we had no money and no food in the house . I knew he needed something more substantial than lentils and veggie broth, and I was feeling really vegan guilty about cooking meat - but you know, real love always wins. I ran into three people I teach yoga to who read my vegan blog as I staggered around the supermarket clutching a chicken with a puffy red tearstained face (which could easily be confused with five-or-six-days-on-gin face). I slipped in the snow on my way back, ripped my jeans and was soaked, took the bus in the wrong direction - it was just a BAD day over all. I got home and started cooking and I swear, it was like a movie. The smells from the kitchen woke Brian up and he looked alive for the first time in about a week, the house warmed up and it started snowing. It smelled SO good. I was surprised that I craved it. We devoured it huddled together on the couch, covered in blankets and I swear - it HEALED us. Things skyrocketed after that - now we’re getting married.
This recipe has become a stand-by for me. Every flu, every cold day, every time you wake up with The Fear after a long night out - it fixes everything. A true cure-all. Every recipe I’ve ever made in my life has normally involved some tweaking to the original. Not this one. It’s exactly the same as I made it the first time and I hope you enjoy it for the rest of your life!
I love love. I wish I could be there with you guys on your big day, but since I can’t, I’ll be thinking of you. I hope every time you eat this soup, it’s memorable, and a sweet memory too. That’s how it is for me.
**a note on Mexican white corn a.k.a. mote blanco, hominy, or maize. It’s not sweet at all., it’s basically a grain. I don’t know if you guys will have that down there, so if not you can substitute rice instead. Add a quarter cup of cooked rice to the each bowl of finished soup. If you add it to the whole thing it will absorb all the stock and then you’ll have a solid mass for leftovers the next day instead of soup. Add water when you reheat as the bones will congeal the broth (super healthy stuff).
MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP
You will need:
ONE BOTTLE OF WINE
One whole chicken (I get the free range ones and they’re considerably smaller. About the size of a mason jar is good)
Two Carrots, diced
Three ribs of Celery, diced
One large yellow onion, diced
Two tomatoes, quartered
Two cloves of garlic, minced
One jalapeño, sliced lengthwise (core and seed if you don’t like it hot. add an extra one if you do!)
Three limes (two for juice one for garnish)
One bunch of cilantro
One 16 oz can of Mexican corn , or make a batch of rice (or any other grain you’re keen on). drained.
Salt and Pepper
Avocado (optional, for garnish)
1.) Make sure you’re not drunk, pray for your fingers to be spared, and break down your chicken. Remove any guts that might be in it and put to the side (along with vegan guilt, if you ever tried that). Pat down the skin with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Salt and pepper both sides.
2.) Heat some oil in a pot (I use olive even though they say not to heat it past a blah blah whatever) and brown (brown, not beige) the chicken. Skin side down. This will take a while and the hard part is over so go get a glass of wine, it’s all easy from here on out. When you’ve gotten as much color on both sides as you can, remove the chicken and set aside.
3.) Same pot same heat, add the celery, onion, and carrot. Saute in whatever oil is left in the pan until the onions are translucent. If you have the neck, kidneys, or liver, you can add them here (just remember to remove them at the end). Put Selena on. Depending on how much wine you drink this could turn into dancing or crying. Pick your battle and commit to it fully.
4.) If you’re drinking white, deglaze the pan with a lash of white wine. Otherwise, water is fine. Get all the brown bits up. Add the chicken and cover with water.
5.) Add the jalapeño, tomato, garlic, and juice of two limes. Chop the stems off of your bunch of cilantro and add that in there too (tie them up so you don’t have to chase them later, or just leave the rubber band on, whatever)
6.) Now you really have free time. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer. If there’s a lot of foam you can skim it off. The kitchen is going to start smelling epic soon. This will go for about 45-50 minutes. Take advantage of this and curl up for a bit. Put eating pants on. You want to make sure there’s a lot of broth, so if it starts to reduce too much just keep adding water.
7.) When the chicken is starting to fall off the bone, add the corn if you have it and let simmer for another 10 minutes. If not, grab a couple bowls and add some rice to the bottom of them. Slice the avocado and check the seasoning.
8.) Ladle into bowls and garnish with avocado, cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Tortilla chips, cheese (although it's really not necessary), fresh tomato, jalapeno (!!!) and scallions are all apropo. Finish the wine. Get messy, save the wishbone. Enjoy the leftovers the next day.
Miso is a funky and salty paste made from fermented soybeans, and is one of my all time favorite ingredients to cook with. In this recipe we combine miso with spicy ginger, sweet orange, and a little sesame oil for a light and umami-packed marinade that is absolutely delicious and excellent for you as well. You can use this marinade on any type of fish or even chicken if you go that way.
YOU WILL NEED:
Two fish fillets. I used swordfish here but you can use salmon, mahi mahi, flounder, cod, tilapia, or whatever else is working for you.
Two tablespoons miso (any kind is fine, I use Shiro)
Sesame oil (1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon honey
*Juice of one orange
*Juice of half a lemon
*Thumb sized piece of ginger , grated
OR substitute the * ingredients for 1/3 cup of TURBO JUICE if you have some leftover.
Whisk all the ingredients together with 1/4 cup of water. Add your proteins to the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight. Because miso is a live fermented food (before we cook it, of course), the probiotics in it will help to tenderize the protein- so you really can't marinate it too much. It'll just get better the longer it's in there for.
When ready to cook, remove the fish from the marinade and wipe any excess off with a paper towel. Miso can burn easily and since we'll be putting the fish in the hot pan, we don't want there to be any excess on there that will burn up.
Get your pan nice and hot, drizzle some olive oil in there. Place your fish in the pan (skin side down if there's a side with skin on it) and sear on either side. Reduce the heat to low, add the remainder of the marinade and cover. Cook covered for 3-5 minutes or until done. This will allow the marinade to go deeper into the fish as it finishes cooking, as well as cooking off any fish bits in the marinade that we wouldn't want to try raw. The lower heat keeps the miso from burning and it will reduce down into a lovely sauce that you can spoon (sparingly, as it's salty) over the top of the fish or steamed vegetables on the side!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Honey, Miso and Coconut oil.
🍯Preheat oven to 400🍯Split Butternut in half lengthwise, scoop and discard seeds🍯whisk 1T each of miso, honey, and coconut oil together in a bowl (this is awesome on corn on the cob or sweet potatoes too) 🍯roast until soft, about 35 minutes. ENJOY!!! @localrootsnyc
The logic behind 1:3 Recipes is that you prep on a day that you have time, so that you can easily assemble meals on days that you don't. Set aside an hour for yourself to prep for the week, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy the process!
My two favorite cooking methods for the week are roasting and steaming. Roasting requires nothing more than tossing your vegetable of choice with a little fat and salt, and then throwing it into a 400 until its cooked. Roasting deepens flavors, caramelizes sugars, and works as the Midas touch to all vegetables.
Steaming is a much simpler cooking method, and doesn't do much to the flavor of your vegetable- you just end up with a lightly cooked version of the original product. While that may seem boring on paper, it's EXACTLY what we're going for in a 1:3 recipe. The more neutral the base, the better a platform it is to be dolled up in different ways so you don't get bored during the week. Additionally, if you've never tried a simple steamed vegetable with a little salt and olive oil, YOU SHOULD. You may love it more than you ever thought.
Pick your proteins for the week. I like a variety of plant based proteins like tofu, beans, and tempeh on hand, as they require minimal prep and have a great shelf life in the refrigerator. If you enjoy animal proteins you could set yourself up a batch of roasted chicken or broiled fish for the week, again, by preparing them simply you have more liberty to dress them up with different flavors.
PREP 1: GRAINS
Pick your grains of choice (I used brown rice this week but quinoa, farro, freekuh, millet, and barley are all great substitutions) and cook either in a rice cooker (worth the $25 on amazon.com) or according to directions in a pot.
PREP 2: ROAST
Set the oven to 400 and add the coconut butternut squash into the oven.
PREP 3: STEAM
Prep your vegetables, keeping them separate (as they will all cook at different times, and there's nothing worse than mushy overcooked steamed vegetables. That being said, cook your vegetables al dente. You will likely be reheating these later on, which will complete the cooking process). Get your steamer basket going, lightly salt your veg and steam your varieties one type at a time.
PREP 4: PROTEINS
If you're using animal proteins you can set them up here while the oven is still on. I like that using cooked beans and tofu requires no prep. I like to have sunflower seeds and avocado readily available, for an extra little punch of protein.
POWER BOWL WITH BBQ TOFU AND VEGETABLES
The most basic of the recipes. Vegetables are left in their simplest form, dressed cleanly with a little sea salt and olive oil. BBQ Tofu (a treat for me) has a little almond butter involved in it for extra protein, and it's fucking good.)
1/2 Package firm baked tofu ( I like Trader Joe's)
3 tablespoons all natural low sugar BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon sriracha
Combine the bbq sauce, almond butter and sriracha. Cube the tofu and toss in the sauce. You could sauté' this before heading out the door, or just have it as is - which I actually prefer.
Arrange a selection of your prepped veg, a scoop of rice, and a drizzle of olive oil.
TOFU AND VEGETABLES IN GINGER SAUCE
Ginger sauce is a great way to liven up some vegetables, and packs a wallop of anti-inflammatory, digestion-aiding magic. I like it gingery, so I use a knot about the size of my thumb. You could omit the agave, but it really adds that extra bit of dimension. It would take you five minutes to prepare and sauté this at home, but if you're running out the door to work and have a heating element there, that's totally doable.
1 knot of ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vinegar (rice wine is ideal, any kind is fine though)
[start with one tablespoon] Liquid Aminos (or any soy sauce/alternative)
1 tablespoon sriracha
Fresh ground black pepper (it just TASTES different)
IF you have Nha Toi or any other fish sauce in the house, a dash of that is great too, but don't sweat it.
Whisk all of these together, decide if it needs a little more Liquid Aminos, and reserve. Saute the vegetables and protein you've selected in a little neutral oil (olive or coconut is fine too, the ginger will take over) for a minute or so, then add the sauce and toss until the ginger sauce is really on the veg, and the ginger/garlic has had a chance to cook a little. Serve with rice.
In a rush? Set up the veg, protein and rice in your lunch container, pour the sauce on top of the veg and microwave for three minutes at work.
BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH COCONUT AND TURMERIC
This recipe is so easy, it's nuts. A stick blender costs about $20 and has lasted me six years so far! Since the butternut is already cooked the soup only takes about five minutes to prepare. By adding coconut milk to this soup you're adding a mega dose of medium chain fatty acids - A.K.A power in its most powerful form. This not only boots your satiety (get full, stay full off of soup), but it gives you the ENERGY to break down the fats as you go through your day, as opposed to slowing you down like bad fats would. Also, good fats KILL cravings for bad fats. If you tend towards cheese/chips/chocolate emergencies, adding good fats into your meals help eliminate these cravings - and it really works! Additionally, turmeric is THE most anti inflammatory thing on earth. Whether you have a pounding headache, achey joints, breakouts, indigestion, or anything that ends in "-itis" - turmeric will rescue you! This is enough for two servings so I like to make it the night before and have it for dinner AND lunch the next day.
YOU WILL NEED:
1 1/2 cups stock (chicken, mushroom, veg)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (from a can is fine, just shake it up a ton first. You can freeze the rest or use in smoothies etc)
1 teaspoon dried turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala, Ras al Hanout, or even regular curry powder is fine
1 1/2 roasted butternut cubed
1 clove garlic
1/2 sliced onion
Sweat the garlic and the onion in a little oil until just translucent. Add the spices and gently toast. Add the stock once things start to get a little sticky in the pan, and bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk and butternut and simmer gently 5 minutes. Throw it all in the blender, or use a stick blender so you don't have to do more dishes. Season with salt and pepper. You can add a little cauliflower for texture if you like. Serve with the last of your veggies and rice if you like.
I've been cooking since I was seven. Institute of Culinary Education grad and NYC trained chef. Food dork. Health nut. Bounty Hunter of beige foods. I don't think there needs to be a separation between food that's good and food that's good for you.