*Okay, it’s a horrible pun. But I”m an English teacher. We’re genetically programmed to come up with groaners like that.
[Don’t forget you can still enter the Reader’s Choice Cookbook Giveaway until Tuesday! And the SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Kim and me (and featuring prizes from each of us!), will continue until the end of the month. This month’s ingredient is sweet potatoes.]
[Sorry about the bad lighting. . . by the time I got this photo, the sun–and the HH’s car–were long gone.]
Hope those of you who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. And for the rest of you–hope it was a great Thursday!
Well, we had quite a bit of excitement here in the DDD household while all you Americans were feasting on (perhaps) too much food and (definitely) too much football,* which is why I missed my usual MoFo post. Allow me to fill you in.
It was 8:37 AM and I was getting ready for a day of student appointments. I’d almost finished my morning smoothie (berries, kale, dandelion, beet, lemon, Sun Warrior and one garlic clove to stave off a cold that’s been threatening to erupt) when the phone rang. A quick glance at the call display revealed a name I didn’t recognize–wrong number or telemarketer. Neither one, I decided, was worth answering, as I was running a little late (gee, what a surprise) and wanted to finish eating, pack up my books, and go.
Knowing I’d be gone all day, I began to pack up an ACD-friendly lunch as well (my daily routine does seem to revolve a little too heavily around food, doesn’t it?). I was spooning leftover Butternut Tahini salad from a couple of days before into a container when the phone rang again (8:52 AM). Another unfamiliar name! With my first meeting set up for 9:30, I knew I’d have to get out of the house tout suite to make it on time. But something about getting calls from two wrong numbers in such a short time span–a rarity, to be sure–drew me back to the phone. I picked it up and was surprised to hear the familiar beep, beep, beep indicating a message waiting.
Well, you can imagine my astonishment** when I punched in the password, only to hear the HH ‘s voice on the other end!
In a nutshell, he’d been in a major car accident and his car was totalled. Apparently, another driver had rammed the side of his car so hard that he went spinning across two lanes of traffic (the stream of which was headed in the opposite direction), up over a sidewalk onto the front lawn of a bank, sliding to a stop less than a foot (30 mm) from the bank’s picture window. Almost unbelievably, he (as well as the two young women in the car that hit him, plus the woman in the car he inadvertently hit while skidding across the street) were all relatively unharmed (one woman suffered a split lip, but that was the extent of the physical damage). Another bit of luck was that he had just dropped off The Girls at doggie daycare moments before (since we had both planned to be out of the house all day); otherwise, they would have been in the back seat and could have been easily thrown through the windshield.
After racing out to pick him up and then spending the day in negotiations with insurance adjusters, the towing company and the car rental place, we settled down yesterday evening to a quiet dinner. Clearly, comfort food was in order. The HH selected pasta carbonara from the freezer, but I craved something a little more earthy.
Even though I hated beets as a kid, they now rate as one of my favorite comforts. Bulbous and deeply hued, their color reflects their contributions to one’s health as well, since beets are both blood cleansers and toners of the liver (not to mention a great source of minerals and fiber). I needed something that would leave my body more nourished, perhaps slightly detoxed of all the negative vibes from the day, and happily satisfied in the saporosity department. Borscht seemed just the ticket.
This is a recipe I adapted from Nava Atlas’s classic cookbook, Vegetariana. I love that she adds an apple in the soup. I’ve also included some cabbage, partly because we had it on hand, and partly because cabbage soothes the digestive tract. . . so even when faced with a day as stressful as the one I had yesterday, it won’t encourage any ulcers to take up residence in my duodenum.
The soup was just what I needed: warming, slurpy, soothing, nutritive. Like most homemade soups, the flavor intensified as I reached the bottom of the bowl, prompting me to ladle out a second bowlful. It really did help calm and comfort me.
“Mum, we’re glad that Dad is all right and it’s horrible that the car was towed. But, um. . . do you think maybe he managed to salvage that bag of treats he kept in the glove compartment for us. . . ??”
[Luckily, borscht only looks like blood–but we didn’t see any of the real stuff all day.]
Slightly Untraditional Russian Borscht
adapted from Vegetariana by Nava Atlas (suitable for ACD Stage 1 and beyond)
I’m guessing that the original recipe contains a typo, as there is no mention of adding any liquid to the soup. So I’m guessing when I say 6 cups; you can adjust to your own tastes. After the soup sits overnight in the fridge, the flavors meld and intensify for a robust Russian flare.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium beets, peeled and grated (mine were organic, so I left the peel on)
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated (mine were organic, so I left the peel on)
1 medium apple, cored (I left the peel on)
2 cups (480 ml) finely shredded white cabbage
4 cups (1 liter) vegetable stock or broth
2 cups (480 ml) water
juice of one lemon
1 heaping Tbsp (20 ml) dried dill weed
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sweet paprika
10-20 drops plain stevia liquid, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are extremely soft, 45 minutes to one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with a dollop of dairy free sour cream, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.
from Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://dietdessertndogs.com)
* I suppose that’s rather presumptuous of me to suggest that you may have eaten too much, isn’t it? Then again, it’s the holidays! As for football, though, I know I’m right about that, since any football at all is too much. 😉
**Astonishment (I): the HH never calls me (so of course I would would never have thought it was him). He absolutely loathes talking on the phone. When we were dating, he moved house once and didn’t get in touch for over two weeks, leaving me not knowing his new address or phone number (one reason why we broke up–the first time). Nowadays, after 14 years together, he still doesn’t call me: we speak once a day only because I pester him at work.
**Astonishment (II): the HH does not own a cell phone (see above). Naturally, I didn’t recognize the names on the call display, because he had to borrow someone else’s cell phone to call me each time. Hearing his voice when I expected a stranger’s sure was jarring, let me tell you. (Oh, and I have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting him for Christmas now).
Last Year at this Time: Lucky Comestible 6(5): Giant Baked Upside Down Apple Pancake
Two Years Ago: Extreme Meme, An Award, and an Injury: Some Non-Food Tidbits
Three Years Ago: I’m Not Pregnant, Just Fat