Saturday, January 16, 2010

Homage to Aunt Shirley: Chickenless Noodle Soup

Tonight I learned that my aunt passed away. These are the times it is hardest to live so far away. I spent some time today remembering her.We worked together at a group home where we assisted three developmentally disabled adults with their daily routine. She was the mother figure in many ways-cooking, cleaning, etc. while I was able to do all the fun stuff-take everyone dancing, to concerts, or to the movies. I fondly remember one day when we had a meeting to attend with the folks from the house and she was making soup for everyone. She made me my very own pot of chicken noodle soup...minus the chunks of chicken. Of course it was all chicken broth, which to a vegetarian counts as meat. I was so very touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness that I ate it anyway! It was the one and only time I knowingly consumed chicken in 22 years of being vegetarian. My point is, it was a soup created in love, thoughtfulness, and generosity - all of the traits my Aunt Shirley embodied. I will miss her.

Tracy's Chickenless Noodle Soup

Ingredients (vary amounts according to how much soup you want to make)

~olive oil
~chickenless broth or vegetable broth
~eggless noodles, or any wide noodle of your choice
~optional: firm tofu


1. Chop equal amounts of onion, carrot, and celery. I like to play around with wafer thin slices of carrot and a small dice on the celery and onion, but if you prefer chunky that works great too.
2. Saute vegetables in small amount of olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.
3. Add broth and bring to a boil.
4. Add noodles and cook until tender, stirring with love, compassion, and kindness. (I often stir intentions into my food :-)
5. Add optional tofu and let simmer until tofu is heated through.

Share with someone who is under the weather, needs cheering up, or is the target of a random act of kindness.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Best Brown Rice...Ever

I am kicking off this new food blog with a staple. It doesn't get more basic than brown rice. You know how brown rice can get super sticky and clumps together? Not in this recipe. I got this from my mom's friend Barbara about a zillion years ago (OK maybe more like 20). In fact it was one of the first things I learned to make as a new vegetarian. Perfect every time if you follow the directions.

My favorite meal on earth is brown rice (or quinoa, millet, or any other whole grain), beans or lentils, and vegetables (steamed, roasted, or grilled) with a miso-tahini sauce. This is THE rice for this perfect meal.

The Best Brown Rice...Ever

2 1/3 c. brown rice (brown basmati will make your house smell amazing!)
1 T. olive oil
4 c. boiling water
Salt to taste

1. Rinse the brown rice and put water on to boil in a kettle or separate pot.
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot. When it is hot, add the rinsed rice and saute until water is evaporated and rice smells nutty.
3. Add 4 c. of boiling water to the rice and let boil uncovered for 3 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes. Do not lift the lid, and DO NOT STIR.
5. After 45 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Resist the urge to lift the lid, and you guessed it, DO NOT STIR.

The rice is done! I usually make a double recipe and freeze half in plastic freezer bags. If you freeze the bags on a cookie sheet, they will freeze flat and you can later stack them like books to save space.

Change of Pace...or Maybe Not

Off and on over the years I have been tempted to write a vegetarian cookbook. I am clearly obsessed with the topic. Today a light bulb came on in my head: Why not a blog? I can record all the recipes I create, or the ones I try out and love, and post them for friends and family to share. Brilliant! Maybe I will even take a few photos too. Stay tuned...this could be fun!