“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child
Home cooked meals from scratch (or mostly scratch) will almost always be healthier than eating out. And often cheaper. You’re aware of all the ingredients with which you’re cooking and the quantity you’re using. The process of preparing your meal instills an appreciation for said meal. Mindfulness, baby. Chances are that pan-seared steak you ordered at your favorite restaurant last week simmered in a buttery hot tub of a skillet, basking in salt. It’s doubtful you’d use as much.
Cooking requires time and work; eating out is fun. But finding the right balance between the two leads to a greater appreciation for how food is prepared, a better understanding of taste and flavor, and thus further respect for that chef who created the divine. Cooking teaches you to better assess quality. Food is omnipresent in the majority of our country, which is both a blessing and a curse. We evolved to scavenge. Upon hunting down food our ancestors consumed as much as they could, unsure of when they’d find their next meal. Those who survived ate like Labrador Retrievers. Due to evolution, in the land of food, we have trouble controlling ourselves from overindulgence.
If you’re going to indulge, it might as well be in something handmade. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”
Potpourri Curry Soup
* The name of this soup has nothing to do with the potpourri seen atop hotel toilets, but the fact that I used a random assortment of ingredients I currently had in my cabinet, fridge, and freezer. Apt to the title – if you have it, throw it in the pot.
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 1 tbsp turmeric root, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 zucchinis, zoodled
- 1 cup spinach
- 1, 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1, 15oz can coconut milk
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 scant tbsp coconut nectar
- Roast or sauté chicken prior to combining. I like to bake chicken breast in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Don’t hesitate to spice it up to your liking. Bake on 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.
- Cook quinoa in a separate pot per instructions on the bag.
- Heat olive oil to medium heat in a stock pot. Add carrots and sauté for a 3-5 minutes. Add turmeric and garlic. Cook until fragrant.
- Add the two spirilized zucchinis, let these soften for 2 minutes, and then mix in your red curry paste. Use more or less depending on your love for curry. Cook for a 2 more minutes, stirring.
- Drain the diced tomatoes and pour into the mix, followed by the coconut milk (shake the can of well prior to opening). Add water. Mix and continue cooking on medium.
- Once chicken is cooked, chop into bite-sized pieces and add to the soup.
- Stir in the quinoa.
- Add rice vinegar, coconut nectar, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add spinach. Mix for a minute or two.
*Broccoli is my favorite vegetable in curry, but I didn’t use here as I didn’t have any at the time.
*Garnishing soup with cilantro would be lovely.
*Store leftovers in fridge and eat over the next 3 days. Can also freeze it!
A few ways to whet the inner food animal:
- cook for friends
- eat meals with people, slowly and engaged
- know where your food comes from
- chew mindfully
- appreciate the meal in front of you. thank you carrots for growing so long.
- move that body of yours
- eat what makes you feel good. moderation.
xoxo, Caroline Frieda
*Banana bread recipe here.