At the house of mourning you are bound to eat foods you will later regret. They are all gifts from the heart (just not so good for the heart) - brought out of kindness and caring.
Here's what was on my list:
(Note: This was four years ago, after my mother-in-law's funeral. There's NO WAY I would touch any of these foods today)
Provencal Greens Soup - the Antidote
This soup comes from my favorite recipe source: The New York Times Recipes for Health, by Martha Rose Shulman. For the original version-I made changes!- click here.
I've already made this soup twice. You can have it on the table in 40 minutes flat! It couldn't be simpler, more delicious, more comforting, or healthier.
Hearty Whole Grain Seeded Bread
A Little Salt & Pepper
A Pinch of Freshly Grated Parmesan
"These are molecular nutrients; they're not macronutrients, and the reason that I'm focusing on them is that we're just beginning to realize that these plant compounds — the technical name for them is 'polyphenols' [but] I call them 'phytonutrients' — they play a role in every cell and system of our bodies, and every month, new information is published showing these phytonutrients are really essential for optimum health. ... [T]hese are the things we've reduced more than any of the other nutrients."
On why we should eat dandelions
"[G]o out and find a dandelion leaf, rinse it well, and take a bite, and pay attention to your senses. For the first 10 seconds you won't sense much at all, except you'll notice that the leaf is hairy, and quite dense, quite chewy. Then, this bloom of bitterness [will] come at the roof of your mouth and go down your throat, and it's going to stay there for about 10 minutes. And many of the wild plants that we used to eat had levels of bitterness similar to that dandelion. ... Compared to spinach, which we consider a superfood, [a dandelion] has twice as much calcium, and three times as much vitamin A, five times more vitamins K and E, and eight times more antioxidants."
Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, the late author of "Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life," has a section in his book that classifies the effects of certain foods on several specific cancers. He ranks them by their abilities to inhibit cancer growth, and garlic, leeks, and greens are near the top of the list.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) ranks the greens at the top of the list, as well.
4-6 generous servings
Recipe updated 7/19/13
2+ tablespoons of vegetable broth for sauteeing
2 leeks, sliced thinly. Here's how to prepare them: Cut in half length-wise, sliced, rinsed of dirt and drained on paper towels (I cut off the ends & about a 1/2 an inch of the green part, and used it all. For a short video on cleaning Leeks, click here -it helped me!)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
8 packed cups of chopped greens, like dandelion greens or Swiss chard.
(I used dandelion greens & Swiss chard and really packed in the 6 cups) Shulman recommends you use chard if you only want to use one green.
1 1/2 quarts good quality vegetable broth, like Kitchen Basics. (Shulman uses just water)
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 thin parmesan rind--about 2 X 3 inches (available in most grocery cheese departments--ask) The rind just adds a deep rich mellow flavor without melting into the soup. Remove before serving.
4 thick slices of a whole grainy bread, toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic (I used a sourdough whole wheat that was perfect complement to the bitter flavors of the soup)
Faux Parmesan ala Chef A.J. for serving (optional):
In a food processor, fitted with an "S" blade, process 1 cup of raw walnuts, 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast, & 1 tablespoon of a salt-free seasoning until a grated parmesan texture is achieved. Chef AJ (and I) prefer the amazing Benson's Table Tasty Seasoning. Order online here or through Amazon. Store in in the fridge. This is a wonderful condiment to have on hand.
1. Preheat a heavy soup pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable broth, and the chopped leeks. Cook, stirring, until tender, five to seven minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional), and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add the greens, and stir until they begin to wilt. Add the broth, the parmesan rind, and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender and the broth sweet. Add pepper, and taste and adjust seasoning. The taste improves upon sitting, so if you can make this early in the day, & let it sit in the fridge, it will be even more delicious.
2. Toast the bread slices and place one or two in each bowl. Ladle in the soup, sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons of Faux Parmesan on the bread.
Yield: Serves four-six, generously.
Advance preparation: You can make the soup through step 1 several hours before serving.
Nutritional Info is based upon four servings (very large), & adding the bread & 2 tablespoons of Faux Parmesan.