March 14, 2009

Six hours to simmer and other benefits of unemployment

Some amazing things are happening. I wake up easily. I'm not craving snacks. Doors of opportunity are opening. Unicorns are appearing in my living room. Ok, not that last one. But seriously, since my last post things are really going unexpectedly awesome.

A few days ago I was able to attend a meeting of a local group called Medford Health Matters. Since the meeting was midweek I was only able to attend because I didn't have to go to work! It was great to interact with real people trying their damndest to make a difference in the town they live in. (A far cry from the fancy 20th floor conference room meetings in my old advertising job about the best way to make a product sound healthy without actually making health claims because they aren't true.)

The group seemed authentically happy to have me there and we are working on ways to collaborate and bring some whole body health programs to our town. We met in a community center that was only a 5 minute walk from my house. I had never even known it was there! I met the guy who runs the center and now we are talking about me teaching a yoga class at the center.

Finally I am happy to announce that I think I have found my very first health counseling client! Hopefully we will start working together next week. I'm grateful to have more time in my day to focus on this and go through all the steps for the first time.

Ok, I'm ready. Where are the unicorns? I feel like anything could happen next.

But let's get to the talk about food, shall we? One of the other awesome things about not working 9-5 is I was able to use a lamb bone in the freezer to make some truly amazing soup, pictured above. I had no idea what I was doing and it turned out to be perhaps the tastiest soup I've ever eaten.

But where'd I get that lamb bone? I actually bought meat, yes, 1.25 lbs. of bone-in lamb the other week. Max and I made an Indian style stew with the meat and then of course the bone got put to good use. Both were excellent recipes, so read on:

Subz Gosht
This apparently means 'lamb with onions, tomatoes, yogurt and veggies' in Indian. I doubled the recipe and am giving you the big doubled version here. But instead of doubling the amount of lamb (At $9/lb.? No way!) I added lentils. For the lamb and all ingredients please use the best quality, sustainably farmed, organic options you can find and afford.

3 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or more for more spice
1" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 onions, chopped fine
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbl. curry powder
1" fresh turmeric root, peeled and minced (or use powdered)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1.25 lbs. bone-in lamb, cubed (keep the bone in the freezer for future use)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups butternut squash, chopped small
2 carrots, chopped small
20 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
4 potatoes, cut into 2" chunks
10 oz. sliced white mushrooms
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in large stock pot over med-high heat. Add cumin, red pepper, garlic and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds then add onions. Saute, stirring, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add yogurt and stir continuously for another 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 1 minute then add lamb cubes and cook in sauce for 10 minutes. Add all veggies, lentils and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1.5-2 hours. Mix in lemon juice and cilantro.
Serves 8ish. Tastes even better the next day!

Approx. cost per serving: $3.15

Michelle's Homemade Lamb Broth Soup
Making broth from animal bones is a great way to get minerals like calcium. The longer the soup simmers, the more nutrients will swim out into your broth.

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 onion, quartered
12 cups water
5 carrots, chopped into fourths
4 red potatoes, cubed
1 lamb bone or any odd animal bone/part
2 Tbl. sea salt
2 cups red cabbage, chopped fine
2 whole garlic cloves
3 cups arugula leaves and stems, chopped roughly

1. In large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and red pepper and cook until onions start to turn translucent.
2. Add water, bone, carrots and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn heat very low and cover. Simmer for as long as you've got – I did 5 hours.
3. Then add cabbage, potatoes and garlic cloves. Simmer another hour.
4. Add arugula and mix, the leaves will wilt instantly.
Serves 8ish.
Approx. cost per serving: $0.65


Margaret said...

Hi Michelle,
Sounds like you are able to do all the cooking you want to do now! To get even more calcium and minerals from your bone broths, you can add a splash of vinegar to the pot while it simmers.

Ricki said...

Wow--congrats on all those exciting happenings--and have fun with your new client! I guess cooking is much more enjoyable when you've got the necessary time to devote to it. :)

Not Another Omnivore said...

Yay for free time and doing things you actually love!


Maris said...

The soup sounds good! I've never heard of lamb broth. It sounds like being out of work is agreeing with you :) Congratulations on your new client!

Shannon said...

I love lamb. And lamb soup/stew is outstanding, especially with rosemary and garlic.

Culinarywannabe said...

I'm so very happy to hear that things are looking up for you! And that you are getting to enjoy something you are passionate about. And I made lamb stew yesterday as well!

Erica said...

hmmmmm great recipes. I am glad you have had such wonderful experiences over the last week. Congrats on the first client and I hope the yoga class works out too!

Lori said...

Hooray for your first client! Very exciting!

That was one good thing about my old job. Even though I was technically working I got to attend those kinds of meetings all the time b/c it was my job to represent our program. I really enjoy grassroots health efforts. I'm looking forward to getting back into it as an independant professional.

Erica said...

Hey girl! In terms of Boston bloggers- I know that Tina (carrots n cake), Bridget (yogurt and berries) and Shannon (tri to cook) are all living in the boston area!

Michelle said...

Margaret – Excellent! i forgot to add vinegar! Did everyone hear that? Add some vinegar to the pot! Thanks :-)

Ricki – Thank you. I am totally enjoying cooking more. Now if I just had time to post more of the things I'm making...

NAOmni – no kidding! :-)

Maris – I may be out of work but let me tell you I feel like I'm working all the time, getting my new biz off the ground. It's wonderful!

Shannon – Thanks for stopping by! Rosemary and garlic are delish with lamb for sure!

Culinarywannabe – I checked out your lamb :-) How funny, I have never made it before in my life, have you?

Erica – I hope the yoga works out too, man, that'd be great. Thanks for your support!

Deborah said...

I, too, love having time to simmer - now if only I had 4 arms!! This soup looks amazing!

Make Money Online said...

LOL, you love cooking so much?

Ritesh said...

Yoga is an art of discipline that was developed by an Indian Hindu named Patanjali. yoga Retreat about benefits of yoga exercises, yoga meditation, yoga practice.

sangeeta said...

hi michelle.
this is all my kind of healthy food n i loved it all.....i am really glad to know that you are a yoga n holistic health believer.....keep up and i surely will come back to your space here.