Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kale and Chickpea Soup

Spice Blend from Sarasota
I may have mentioned that as a personal goal this year, I decided to get a yoga teaching certification. The first level of certification is a 200 hour program. As of this evening, I hit a milestone and have made it to the halfway point. I now have 100 hours of training under my belt! I am excited to have reached this point, but truthfully, it's not all about getting to the end. I'm not even sure if I'll teach when I'm done. Mainly I wanted to deepen my own practice and to take on a challenge that would engage me both mentally and physically. This process has turned out to be exactly what I wanted it to be. I am amongst a great group of fellow yogis, learning about asanas, alignment, Sanskrit, anatomy, the history and philosophy of yoga, and about myself. We have a great blend of teachers with many years of experience to guide us along. I look forward to the next 5 months and the lasting effects this experience is likely to have on my life.
Helps to digest beans
As if I wasn't already exhilarated enough when I got home, I then put a concoction of ingredients into a soup pot, cooked it for less than 30 minutes and was rewarded with a tasty meal. There is something very satisfying about doing this. I often follow recipes or at least look at recipes for inspiration. So, when I can put together a variety of spices, veggies, grains and beans that work well together and it works, I get pretty jazzed.
I wouldn't recommend that you run to your kitchen and make this. It's not THAT good, but I did want to record it for myself. I never measured any of the spices, so I'll just take my best guess. Speaking of the spices, I should mention something about those. I used two spices I recently tried from Penzey's. One is called Ajwain. On the label it states that "Ajwain is especially useful in vegetarian lentil and bean dishes, partly as a flavoring, partly because ajawain has the ability to temper the effects of a legume based diet." I thought they stated that very nicely. I found myself wondering how long it took them to come up with that wording and whether there were any chuckles in the office that day as they came up with other possible ways of communicating this message. I will say that I have tried it a few times and have found their claim to be accurate, and that's all I'm saying about it. The other ingredient I used from Penzey's was Toasted granulated onion. It smelled so good in the store I had to buy some. I've found it pretty useful in marinades, salad dressings and soups.
I also decided to use a dried mushroom and spice blend I bought last year in Sarasota that's been sitting on my counter untouched, just looking for an opportunity to liven up a meal. I liked it and could see myself adding it to other soups, and would also like to come up with some other uses for it.

Kale and Chickpea Soup
1 tblspn olive oil
1 carrot, sliced or diced, depending on thickness
1 small or half a medium onion, diced
4 cups of veggie broth
1 small russet potato, diced
1 tblsn nutritional yeast
1 tspn toasted granulated onion
1 tspn ajwain
1 tblspn mushroom paradise blend
2 cups loosely packed chopped kale
1/3 to 1/2 can of chickpeas
1 tspn white wine vinegar
Bragg's liquid aminos to taste
1 cup cooked quinoa

1.  In a soup pot, over medium heat, sautee onion and carrot for about 5 minutes.
2. Add broth, potato, nutritional yeast, granulated onion, ajwain, mushroom blend. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add, kale, chickpeas, salt and pepper if you want, and vinegar. Let cook about 10 more minutes to wilt kale.
4. Serve over quinoa. This waters down the flavor a bit. I might cook the quinoa in the broth for a bit next time or add more seasoning.

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