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Creamy Corn Soup

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to be able to get along with uncertainty and stress. Because I’m finally beginning to truly accept that worry, pain, and uncertainty is an inevitable, constant part of life. It’s one thing to know that it is so, and I’ve known this for a long time already, but it’s another thing to truly accept it and realize that if I’m going to have any semblance of a happy life, I need to find a way to get along with such uncomfortable feelings.

I have a long way to go, lots to learn, still. But I know I’m making progress. And I’m thankful for that.

Lately, it’s been worry about my mom. But thankfully, some tests she had done were deemed normal today, and so we’re in the clear for now. Until the next crisis of course. And I’m feeling thankful for her continued health. I hope for many more days like this in the future. But I also know that it’s inevitable that one day, the news won’t be the one we hope for. And I’m beginning to accept that and be ok with that.

By ok, I certainly don’t mean that I don’t worry, or feel super stressed at times, but just that I’m beginning to develop better coping mechanisms. Better inner dialogue so that I can maintain balance in the face of pain and stress.

Recently, my good friend, Rupi, shared with me some advice she had been given. Her cousin had told her that we can have different “boxes” in which to put our many emotions, issues, and situations that we deal with every day. I know I tend to worry obsessively about things in part because I feel that when I’m worrying, I’m “keeping my eye on it”, doing something about it, that if I don’t worry, then I’m not giving it due importance and it might get worse as a result. In short, it’s my way of feeling like I have some semblance of control. I know it’s not logical, but it’s how I tend to cope. I am very aware that it’s an unhealthy way of living.

But with the idea of having “boxes” to put thoughts and situations in, I no longer feel like I have to keep it all at the forefront of my mind all at once. There is a time and place for each “box”, and just because I’m putting that box away for now doesn’t mean I’m going to forget about it or that I’m not taking care of things; I’m simply shelving it temporarily to make way for other boxes in my life. It’s still there, and I can take it out of the box anytime I want or need to, but I don’t need to mix it up with everything else in my life. In other words, I don’t need to let the negative things in my life affect the many good and happy things in my life.

This morning, as I fretted about, unable to concentrate on my usual activities, waiting for my mom to come home with results, I found myself on the verge of giving into my anxiety. But I remembered about the “boxes” just in time, and tried my best to put my worries into a box and shelve it for the time being, because there simply was nothing I could do to help at the time, and worrying wasn’t going to make the time pass by any faster.

I was relatively successful. It got better as I “shelved” and then got busy in the kitchen preparing dinner. It steadied my nerves to wield a large knife around. 😛 The result was a pretty tasty new soup recipe:

Creamy Corn Soup

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 C)
  • 2 large carrots, diced (about 1.5 C)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 – 6 C water (depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (about 3 C)
  • 3 C frozen corn kernels
  • 130 g silken tofu
  • 1 C skim milk
  • finely sliced green onion for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Stir around and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften and develop some brown colour. Then add basil, salt, and pepper. Stir.

Now pour in the broth and water. Dump in the cubed potatoes.

Crank up the the heat to high and cover. Watch carefully though, you don’t want to let it boil over! Once the soup has been brought to a boil, lower the heat to med-low, give it a couple good stirs, and cover again. Let cook for about 10 mins, or until the potatoes are soft.

Now add the corn. Turn up the heat to high, cover, and cook for a few minutes until the corn is hot. Take the soup off the heat, and set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, make the cream-less “cream”:

I used about half of this tube. Blend in a blender with the milk until smooth and well-combined. It will be thick, like the texture of cream, but without the fat!

Ok, back to the soup… Using an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a blender), puree the soup to the desired texture. I only half-heartedly pureed because I like a chunky texture to my soup.

Now return the soup back onto the stove. Pour in the “cream” mixture and heat gently over medium heat until soup is hot, stirring often. Serve garnished with green onion.

The soup was creamy and so sweet from the corn, and the potatoes gave it a hearty and rich texture.

I think the making and consuming of delicious soup is a fine coping mechanism for life’s stresses as well. :-)

 

Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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Lentil, Yam, and Kale Soup

After all the decadent eating from last week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, I’ve been craving simple, veggie-centric foods. So I set about today to make a soup with some of my favourite healthy ingredients: lentils, kale, yams, spinach, and Chinese sausages. Ok, that last ingredient is not healthy like the others, but it is the very lean kind, and they’re one of my favourite comfort foods from my childhood. Inspired by the Chinese sausage, I also used miso paste and garnished with sliced green onion to give the soup a hint of Asian influence. The result was a unique combination of savoury and sweet flavours that was satisfying and comforting.

Lentil, Yam, and Kale Soup

  • 1 C red lentils
  • 2 Chinese sausages (I used the extra lean kind made with pork and chicken)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic (I used 2 large cloves), minced
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 C low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 C water
  • 1 TB mild miso paste
  • 1/2 large yam, cubed (about 2 C)
  • 1/2 large can of crushed tomatoes (398 ml or 14 fl oz)
  • 1 medium bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped (about 5 packed C)
  • fresh baby spinach (a handful for each bowl)
  • garnish: 3 thinly sliced green onions

 

(I started this soup a bit on the late side and was rushing to finish before leaving for work. So I didn’t manage to take any photos of the process, only of the end product. Sorry!)

Rinse lentils and soak in water while you prep the other ingredients.

Thinly slice the sausages.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Lightly brown the sausages for a few minutes. Stir them around continuously because they burn easily! Remove from pot and set aside (they will finish cooking later in the soup).

Dump into the pot the usual soup suspects: diced carrot, celery, and onion. Stir around for a minute, then add the minced garlic. Keep stirring and cook for about 5 minutes, until they soften and start to develop a bit of colour. Then season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir around for 30 sec or so.

Drain lentils and add to pot. And the cubed yams too. Pour in broth and water. Crank heat up to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Then add the miso paste. Give it a good stir to let the miso melt into the soup and make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom. Turn down heat to med-low, cover, and let simmer  for 10 mins.

After 10 mins, add the crushed tomatoes and sausage. Stir, cover, and simmer for another 10 mins. Then add kale. Cover and let the kale wilt down for about 5 – 6 minutes. Taste test, adjust salt/pepper if needed.

To serve, place a handful of spinach leaves in the bottom of a bowl.

Ladle in soup on top and garnish with sliced green onion.

 

The sausage gave an enticing salty flavour to the soup. There was a lovely contrasting sweetness from the yams. The lentils made the soup thick and hearty. And the kale and spinach were delicious from soaking up all the flavours in the soup. It was lovely and comforting! We had it with a side of my favourite bread, fresh calabrese. Yum! :-)

 

Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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