TYPE: Weekday Detox
MENU: Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro
You could say my mother instilled in me at an early age a love for vegetables. But really she just made me a food snob, exposing me to haute baby food by asking the waiter to run her leftover veal scallopini through a blender to bring home to me or ordering the vichyssoises at family dinners out instead of cutting up baby pieces of bland chicken breast for my ease of consumption. Having grown up with my grandmother’s green beans with hollandaise sauce (one of her few memorable dishes) my mother’s food habits evolved into a hybrid of gourmand and health nut—forever conscious of cottonseed oil and aluminum, but never shying away from a pat or two of butter. And though I may have needed the occassional airplane to the mouth enactment, I imagine that I shared the same enthusiam as I do today for her cuisine, be it in liquid or solid form.
Now I am no longer of the age where I need to pretend that I am a giantess and my broccoli little trees below me, but there still remains one limit to my consumption: the detox soup. Growing up I remember spotting these saran wrap-covered mugs of green goop in the refrigerator. I assumed that this soup of sorts—what my mother viewed as her secret humpty-dumpty food—served some medicinal purpose beyond the fact that its ingredients were inherently good for you, for my mother did have a tendancy to sneak strange homeopathic drops into my normal food.
Regardless of what it was, I deemed it too scary, and too healthy, to sample—way more along the lines of the neti pot my parents are constantly trying to get me to use than the green beans of my childhood.
It wasn’t until a weekend over the summer that I came home totally in need of some pampering and detox, that my mother called upon the cure-all graces of this soup, and I obliged. It turned out that like most humpty-dumpty concoctions, the soup was delicious.
This past weekend I was again in need of a little healthy regression and decided to escape to the little barn my parents have been renting upstate. My first request, followed shortly by one for a foot massage, was for this soup. It was wonderful, if as vile looking as ever, and certainly got me back on my feet for another long week of work and an inevitable weekend re-tox.
From my small kitchen, where my mother still gets me to eat my vegetables, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro
Makes 3 Servings
1 bunch swiss chard stems and leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stem ends removed, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken stock (or veggie)
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
In a medium dutch oven, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the chard stalks and simmer for 4 minutes, or until they start becoming tender. Add the chard leaves, zucchini, and salt. Replace lid and simmer for another 4 minutes or so. When the vegetables are beginning to soften, but are not completely cooked through, add the cilantro and cook for an additional minute (you just want the herbs to wilt slightly).
Remove greens from pot, and set cooking liquids aside for another use. Blend the greens in a food processor or blender, adding some of the liquids as necessary to obtain your desired texture.
Add the lemon, cayenne, and taste for seasoning.
Serve in a mug or bowl, and enjoy.