If you’re anything like me, then you are nested comfortably in your home, by a fire or beside a bottle of tantalising red wine. There’s something so comforting and delightful about the first rains that accompany fall in Vancouver. From a natural perspective it makes sense- we, as creatures of this earth, are pleased that our land and vegetation is being nourished and given one of nature’s most amazing gifts (water!) From a twenty something year old dwelling in a high rise in the middle of downtown Vancouver, it’s almost as simple- there’s nothing better than using rain and the cold as your excuse for being “lame” and staying in, on a day that in the summer would be peer pressured into a ‘night out with friends’.
So here I am, sitting by my fire, jamming to Alanis Morisette (yes, that’s right- Alanis), and settling into writing another soul baring blog post, alongside a glass of an organic red wine of course! This is becoming a routine I am very fond of, I must say. There’s something about writing for me that is so therapeutic. I have always written diaries, since I was much, much younger. It’s crazy that I think of this, somewhat, as a diary- because back in High School I would’ve crucified anyone that found their way into the deep, emotional, torrential pages of my writing. Now, it’s almost liberating- to be able to share with whoever it is that is reading, what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been feeling and what I love. It’s a way of connecting with the world, and someone- without actually connecting with them. I think it’s pretty fabulous!
Tonight I was graced with my brother’s presence (brother, otherwise known as Sam). Who better to test out recipes on, than one of the world’s biggest picky eaters. I’m talking, biggest! Let me tell you- when we were younger, living in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) we would stop at Mcdonalds (I know, I said it, its like saying Voldemort) just so that we could get a 6 piece chicken nugget meal for Sam to eat while we went to one of the restaurants in our neighbourhood (also known as Bangsar). There is also the times when we would go to one of our favourite family restaurants, where Sam had managed to find ONE dish that he decided was worth his taste buds, and even though it eventually was taken off the menu, he would insist on getting it every time we went (straight up spaghetti carbonara, with a plain white creamy sauce and ham). Yea, I invited this guy to dinner! Haha. To be fair, he has evolved a lot since then (it has been like 15+ years, so lets hope so), but still, sometimes this picky manners emerge from out of the middle of nowhere.
What did I make? Well- tomorrow I will be joining my best friend, Paulina, at her office for lunch- and suggested that I would make some lunch for us. I asked her what she would want me to “health-i-fy” for her, or what she was craving, and she blurts out “CEASER SALAD!” What’s a girl to do? Make ceaser salad! Luckily, in class recently the idea of making mushroom soup came up (nutrition school— fall—seasons changing— detoxifying mushroom soup- you get the thought process right?) and I decided that tonight would be the night that I would make it.
I’ve already mentioned in previous posts how much I love soup, warm stews and cooking- but I haven’t talked too much about the nutritional aspect behind certain soups and foods. I won’t get into too much detail, but I definitely think it’s good to point out some of the wonders of a mushroom soup, especially when fall has begun!
Why mushroom soup? First and foremost, one of the most important things to keep in mind with cooking and eating is to try to be as seasonal as possible. With the way the world works, transportation, globalisation, import/export- it is so easy to live on the same food all year long without question. However, there is something so inherently incorrect about that. It may seem very foreign and strange to think like that, but the strange thing is actually that human beings are eating the same food product all year long, in locations that go through so many different seasons and weathers and climates. Before all this technology, globalisation and corporations- humans used to eat and cook in season. Fruit is something that you eat in warm/tropical climates and/or the summer, soups and stews were for the winter/colder months. So why seasonal? By eating and purchasing your food seasonal, you are supporting your local farmers, you are supportive the earth/environment around you, you are probably paying less and you are supporting your body’s innate ability to take care of itself- given that it has the right types of foods and nutrients.
Aside from seasonal- another great thing about mushroom soup in fall is that mushrooms are amazing immune system boosters- by increasing the production of antivirals and other proteins that are released by cells, while they are trying to protect and repair the body’s tissues. Also, mushrooms are great sources of antioxidants, which are substances that help our body to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. What else? They are wonderful sources of some of the important B vitamins including B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin)- helping to kick start and increase your body’s metabolism and it’s energy sources. These are just a few of the amazing wonders of the mushroom- but really, I just insist- mushroom soup! Aside from all of the powerful health benefits, mushroom soup has such a comforting, layered flavour. This soup was no exception!
- 3 cups of assorted mushrooms
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 leek (whites), chopped
- 1 packet of chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
- 1/2 green onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 6 cups filtered water OR organic vegetable stock
- 1 cup almond mylk
- 2 serrano peppers, minced
- Combine all the mushrooms, onion, leek, garlic, serrano peppers, chives, rosemary, thyme and green onion in a glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven (350 degrees) for around 35 minutes
- Meanwhile, wash and chop the zucchini, place in a smaller baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and some salt- place in the oven
- Once the onions are translucent and there is a clear juice from the mushrooms, cooking- remove from the oven- place in a pot on a medium-low heat and add the vegetable stock and green onions
- Using either a hand blender, a food processor, or a vitamix (whatever you have handy, I used a hand blender)- blend the ingredients into a consistency that you are happy with, I blended it up so that it was slightly creamy but still had some texture and mushroom forms in it. Add the almond milk, bring the heat down to low, and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes
- To serve, sprinkle the soup with chopped green onion- and if you would like to be fancy, drizzle some good quality oil on the top such as avocado oil or a really good olive oil! Enjoy