...is what happened to my place, when the flat downstairs went up in flames. So now I find myself with far less stuff, staying with friends, and kind of shell-shocked from knowing first hand what it's like to be pulled out of my kitchen window at 2.30 am in my jammies by a fireman. The only things I grabbed between my bed and the window were my glasses, and then, only because I instinctively put them on as I get out of bed.
So, I give you the most comforting soup in the universe, which is what I've been having most nights. It's very loosely based on the "behead the chard" soup in Don't Feed The Bears. My sweetie and I just call this The Soup. I think that The Soup has magical powers to make any situation seem better.
In a pot:
-Crumble some dried shitake mushrooms (say 3 of them) and a few dashes of soy sauce (maybe 1 tbs - go easy, because you can always add more later, but if you oversalt the soup at the beginning, it's harder to save) into enough water to make you a giant bowl of soup
-Set it on the stove to boil, and while it's heating up, add 1 heaping tsp of nut butter or tahini (I've been using walnut butter lately), as much chopped garlic and ginger as you want, a dash of mirin or white wine, and a healthy pinch of dried chili (chipotle is especially fun, but anything hot works, really).
-When the soup is boiling and the nut butter has dissolved, add one serving of rice noodles
-When the rice noodles are nearly done (say, when you've got a minute left), add in whatever veg you want + some smoked or marinated (or fried...whatever you want, really) tofu in cubes. I like to use a green veg (broccoli or kale) + mushrooms + whatever bits and bobs of leftover cooked veg are in the fridge. Sweetcorn is oddly good in this soup
-In your serving bowl, dissolve a tbs of miso in some soup broth that you ladle out of the pot.
-When the soup is done, ladle it into the bowl with the miso. Stir. Add herbs if you've got them (cilantro or basil or both)
-Taste. Adjust seasoning by adding more soy sauce or more mirin, and then add a drizzle of sesame oil. A nice variation is to use walnut butter as the nut butter and then walnut oil at the end, in which case fresh parsley is amazing.
-Try replacing the noodles with cubes of sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and miso are best friends.
The whole thing takes about 15 minutes from the time I walk into the kitchen until I have a wonderful bowl of hug in front of me.
Lessons learned this week:
1. Never get all your Xmas chocolates made in an organized, early way. This is the first time I've managed to get everything ready by mid-November and my FRIKIN' FLAT WAS SMOKED TO DEATH. Next year I will resume my sending-presents-late routine.
2. The fire dept is amazing.
3. My friends are amazing.
4. Eat soup. It helps.
Dancing along to: Mink, Schmink by Eartha Kitt. November is an Eartha Kitt kinda month, no?