Friday, January 09, 2015

Clean and Delicious Soup for One

Happy new year, my darlings. I am popping in on this arctic day to offer up this absolutely savory bowl of soup that you can make for your very own lunch! Or dinner, if you happen to be doing a weird cleanse, which I happen to be doing. It's the second year in a row, and I won't go on and on about it. Like, I won't tell you that I mostly do it to clear up a weird rash (TMI!) or because by the end of the year I am on the verge of drinking too much (TMI!). (Extra credit if you know the rhetorical device praeteritio. Thank you Latin IV!) Also, annoyingly, I find that eating like this gives me more energy than I tend to have on my usual diet of kale and pastries and lattes and quinoa and Cheezits and grapefruits and IPA. Sad but true. That said, I am only doing it for 2 1/2 weeks, instead of the prescribed 3, because we are going to New York. And I am not completely crazy.

I only bought cashew butter because Trader Joe's was out of almond butter, but I like it.
This soup, though, is unconditionally wonderful, cleanse or no: an umami bowlful of tender mushrooms and bursting celery and robust greens and rich broth and wallops of flavor. The nut butter lends a nice hit of protein, and the cider vinegar and cayenne keep it all just this side of unctuous. If these things in the picture are all things you already have in your house, the soup will come together in about 10 minutes. Otherwise, you should probably skip it, because it's probably not worth all that. Although it might almost be.

Edited to ask: Is Dr. Bragg secretly the same person as Dr. Bronner?

Clean and Delicious Soup for One
Serves--wait for it--1

Needless to say, you could easily multiply this recipe to cook like a normal person for a normal amount of people. 

3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 cups boiling water (or very hot tap water, if you're lazy)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large clove of garlic, minced or put through a press
1 cup water
2 large handfuls baby kale or chopped kale (or spinach or another green of your choosing)
1 (slightly heaping) tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon cashew or almond butter (peanut would take it in a different, but maybe great, direction)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A splash of Bragg's or tamari to taste

Put the mushrooms in a heatproof boil and pour the boiling water over them. Put a small plate on top if they want to bob to the surface. Leave them to soak while you prepare the rest of the soup.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Saute the celery and garlic until outrageously fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water, then simmer another 5 minutes, until the celery is just on the verge of being tender. By now the shiitakes should just about be soft enough to sliver, which you should do (discard the stems). Add the mushrooms to the soup, along with a cup of their soaking liquid and the kale. Simmer another 3 minutes, then turn the heat off.

Stir in the miso (this is easiest if you first dissolve it in a little broth, but I always forget), the nut butter, the vinegar, the cayenne, and the salty thing, then taste and add more if it needs it.

Serve to your own self!


  1. Aargh - no other comments yet? I am dying to know what the Ben and Birdy Blog folks say about Dr. Bragg secretly being the same person as Dr. Bronner.

  2. Bragg and Bronner go way back, old partying buddies, for sure.

  3. Catherine - this has nothing to do with your delicious soup, but I just saw it on reddit and had to share it with you! How to choose the perfect board game:

  4. Anonymous12:50 AM

    Cruark, that chart is awesome. And rather overwhelming, though I impressed myself with how many names I recognized, courtesy solely of reading this blog. And the ones I've actually played? Ditto, all this blog.

    Also, Catherine, do you have inspiration to give regarding school lunches? And breakfasts, for that matter? I hate hate hate making lunches. And while my kids aren't uber-picky, they're not exactly kvass and kidney pie types either (didn't you have a hilarious straight-faced aside about that once?). Inspiration, I'm just looking for a little inspiration...

    ~she who owes you marmalade

  5. I have not one of these ingredients in my house. Not ONE. Oooh, except peanut butter.

  6. Is your salted caramel popcorn a part of this cleanse? Because then I would definitely consider it... ;)

  7. Ok, I'm officially obsessed with this soup. I've already made it twice, and I recommend peanut butter instead of almond butter (both were good, but peanut butter was SO GOOD). I've also used bok choi in place of the celery and greens. Trader Joe's has prewashed packs of bok choi and they're just the perfect size for making a double batch of this.

  8. AND, my 2 1/2 year old is obsessed too. She just climbed up on my lap to try some, and pronounced it, "the best soup in the whole wide world."

  9. Totally unrelated - We gave our 9 yr old Counting by Sevens for Christmas and she is really enjoying it. Thank you for the recommendation - also gave Sushi Go as a gift exchange. :) I love your recommendations.

    I'm not a that kind of cleanser - my insides will just have to remain dirty. ;) Hope the New Year is treating you well.

  10. Anonymous3:01 PM

    What I love about Catherine's site is its 70's feel. My childhood epoch. I wish people still wanted to make knitted christmas trees and christmas decorations, and, play board games all of which I did as a child. I bought 3 board games for this Christmas and no one wanted to play or had the time to play. Clue, Cluedo and some other game that I had never heard of. Where is the "slow" (down) button in life? I find it on benandbirdy. Best wishes for 2015. Kim from BCN. PS. Will try the soup very soon!