A few months back I had the opportunity and luxury to take a break from being in the kitchen and travel to the sunny northern California Coast. A company called Futurewell hosted speakers on regenerating the soil in relation to just sustaining our soil. Our human connection to food and nutrients is just beginning to make waves in our country and throughout. The famous Alice Waters, who put farm to table into our restaurants was there speaking along with Paul Hawkin who started Smith and Hawkin and the gorgeous but extremely expensive Erehwon Market (think Wholefoods jacked up times 100). They were there encouraging and fighting for the health of our earth and humanity.
The energy and/or ingredients that are put into our soil is directly related to our own well being. If we are drinching our soil with poisons, if we are polluting our water that feeds our soil then that is exactly what we are ingesting. If we are spraying our lawns with roundup to kill weeds, it is running off into our rivers, lakes and drinking water. None of us should feel as if the poisons we are spraying are not coming back directly to us. We are feeding ourselves and breathing in the very poisons we put out. I am certainly guilty of using the easier methods of eliminating bugs with chemicals. A lot of farms in the beautiful California are drenching thier plants in chemicals and tilling thier land until nothing useful is left.
The beliefs of these new studies (sustainability vs. regeneration) are that when our soil is completely beaming with good bacteria which comes from an ecosystem that has all its natural elements, then our vegetables, fruits and grains grow with a measure of nutrients that they don’t have when grown on “unfertile soil”. Also, our soil is left in a better shape than when we first used it. I like to compare this to a person on antibiotics. The antibiotics kills the bad bacteria but it also kills the good bacteria in our gut. Tilling, over use, and pesticides strip all the good orgainics away from soil. We must replace the good that we have stripped away.
A head of organic broccoli is greater in nutrients than its sister head of broccoli depending on the soil. That measure of goodness is also the “energy” passed to us. That goodness and energy I am talking about is the vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and fiber. I like to call all of that goodness “energy” because really that is exactly what it is- energy. It is the “thing” transferred from sun, soil, plant, animal, us and so on until it is recycled right back into the earth. The greater this energy is the greater we feel, we live, we produce, etc. The greater we feel then the greater we can expand this energy to other people who may need our help, which our world needs so desperatly. The beautiful circle and bounty of life. This is very basic but not the easiest. It does take work to buy the best from our local farmers rather than the convenient stores right around the corner.
Today, in hopes to rejuvenate myself, others and the earth, I will make a most delicous vegetable soup. This soup is for all those who are watching what you ingest. It is for all those who are omiting gluten, dairy, sugar, meats and grains. This soup is your reset to feeling great. Try not to omit the thai pepper as it gives you a nice spice down the throat and it is an anti-inflammatory. Topping the soup with avocado adds great fat that your body needs for healthy thinking. Lastly try using all organic or locally farmed vegetables, as they will be the most nutrient dense.
1 yellow onion medium diced
1 leek cleaned sliced lengthwise and chopped
4 large celery sticks sliced lenghtwise and chopped
4 large garlic cloves sliced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
salt and pepper
4 carrots peeled and chopped
8 -10 ounces shitake mushrooms stems trimmed off and mushrooms sliced
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 lb yellow fingerling potatoes sliced and halved (clean but don’t peel)
2 fresh red thai peppers sliced thinly (careful not to get seeds or oil on your skin)
1 large zucchini diced into bite size
1 large squash diced into bite size
4 cups spinach
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 fresh avocado
Sauté on medium to low heat your onion, celery, leek and garlic in olive oil until onions are fragrant and soft in a large soup/stock pot. Try not to brown or burn them. As your veggies begin to cook, add a large pinch of salt and pepper. Add carrots and shitake mushrooms sautéing for about 5 more minutes.
Once your base veggies are sautéed, pour 8 cups of filtered water, thai pepper, potatoes and tomatoes into pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes or until your potatoes begin to soften.
Lastly, add spinach, squash, zucchini and thyme. Cook for about 10 more minutes. Taste, adding more salt and pepper. I add around 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to mine to really bring out the subtle flavors of all the vegetables. Lastly, take out your thyme sprigs and ladel your soup in bowls. Slice your avocado just before serving and use as a topping.
This is a great soup to make on Sunday and have in your refrigerator for the week. Or, you can freeze it for up to a month. It makes a good healthy 6 dinner bowls.