We are on week 2 of the newly implemented weekly menu/grocery shopping/prep plan. So far, so good. Compared to last month’s figures, I’ve already saved over $200.00 in food cost. I’ve thrown out less food than I have in the past, and I’ve actually used up almost every single vegetable I had in the house. I’ve got a few tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 green pepper, 1 yellow onion, and some lettuce. I’m inspired by this new plan and how it is working. We’ve stayed on target with the menu, with a few adjustments here and there. I did get sick for two days last week, and even though the menu schedule shifted, there was no additional expenditures, no running out to a restaurant for quick eats. I had made enough food on my days off for the Partner to survive a sick day or two.
I had some left over vegetables from the weekly cooking, so I let loose a soup. I love making soups, and there is usually more soup made than can be eaten. Not this time. I’m sure this Weekly Kitchen Sink Soup will go fast. It’s been rainy and gloomy for two days now, perfect soup weather.
This soup goes great with salad, or when it’s cold and rainy. The combination of ginger and clove is powerful, add the fennel into the mix and it becomes a potent hummy soup guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest appetite.
½ fennel bulb, shaved (left over from previous meal, found while rummaging around in fridge)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins (if you prefer you can dice the carrots)
broccoli stalk, peeled and diced (left over from previous meal)
½ inch ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
6 mushrooms (button or crimini), sliced (left over from salads and such)
½ head of cabbage, sliced thin (left over from making Bund Gobi)
½ tsp fennel seed, toasted
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander, ground
Pinch of clove, ground
Prepare all the vegetables. Toast fennel seed. Set aside.
Heat up a soup pot, add sunflower oil. Turn heat down and add fennel. Cook until fennel starts to caramelize. Add carrots, ginger, and broccoli stalk. Saute until vegetables become tender. Add 6 cups of water, mustard seed, fennel seed, coriander and clove. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage and mushrooms. Cook until cabbage wilts, and mushrooms soften.
There has been an abundance of eggplant here in the Valley of the Sun, so I thought I’d make a vegetable dish without using the cookbook. I followed steps I’ve learned, toasting the seed spices, soaking tamarind, and stacking flavors. I found a name for this recipe, and I think I like it. Let me know if you do.
You are probably wondering how to find some of the ingredients I use in this recipe. I have the advantage of having a Vietnamese Grocer several blocks from the house. I can buy some of the specialty items there, split mung beans and eggplant especially. For the bulk spices I go to the Herbalist down the street. They carry a decent supply of fresh herbs and spices. Their cumin is fantastic. When I need to find the exotic, there is a super chain called LeeLees that specializes in International foods. They have a great produce section as well as a selection of the Indian Spices I use. If you can’t find some of these ingredients in your market, check online, there are several reputable companies with reasonable prices. You can look into Chakra 4, they ship throughout the U.S, and to some other countries.
Soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes. Break up the tamarind and strain. Reserve the tamarind Juice.
Heat a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the oil. Add onions and ginger, saute until onions become soft. Add sweet potatoes, saute for another minute or two. Then add eggplant, drumstick, and chilis. Cook until the vegetables become tender.
In another sauce pan, place mung beans and 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer. Cook until mung beans become mushy.
While vegetables and beans are cooking, toast each spice seed separately. Place in a skillet on low and toast for 3-4 minutes until seeds release their aroma.
Add the turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, amchur powder, and tamarind juice to the vegetables. Cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the spices are incorporated.
Serve hot over the Mung beans, with flat bread or crackers.
note I added cherry tomatoes to this recipe because I needed to use them up. You can use Romas or regular cherry tomatoes.