That was how I was supposed to spend my birthday.
Then I got really sick and spent the day in bed. I ordered this big, beautiful vegan/gluten-free red velvet birthday cake, then drove my sick butt 20 minutes across town to get it. I took it home, set it on the kitchen counter, and just looked at it mournfully before putting it in the fridge downstairs.
I think I got sick because of the perfect storm:
+ Went to chic bars two days before moving. (Side note: I'm mostly mentioning this not because I think it made me sick, but because I want to brag on the internet about how I went to a New York City speakeasy with leather couches. Yeah, it had a mahogany bar.)
+ Dug through the attic moving boxes
+ Seasonal pollen
I woke up on my birthday feeling rotten, so I decided to make a slow-simmer dish to justify laying on the couch watching Law & Order for five hours.
- + leek soup + -
My guide to stocks will be helpful before making this dish. Don't just buy veggie stock boxes. I promise it will taste much better homemade. If you do use a box stock, make sure it doesn't have tomatoes or sugar. That will alter the flavor significantly.
+ 2 leeks
+ 1 gallon spring water
- stock -
+ 2 carrots
+ 1/2 onion
+ shiitake stems+ scallions
+ 1/4 cup rough-chopped parsley
+ 1/4 cup rough-chopped cabbage
+ 1/4 cup napa cabbage
+ 2 bay leaves
note: The above ingredients are what went into my stock. Yours can have anything. Again, see my guide to stocks link above for details.
- stock seasoning -
+ 2 tbsp. mirin
+ 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
+ dash ume vinegar
+ sea salt and tamari to taste
Bring gallon of water to boil in a large soup pot. Add stock ingredients, lower heat, and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. After 45 minutes, check on the water level in your pot (it should have descended between 1-2 inches) and add your stock seasonings. Simmer another 15 minutes or as necessary.
In a separate soup pot, stir-fry chopped leeks until bright green. If you're going oil-free, you can water-saute them. I used olive oil.
Pour soup stock through strainer into your leek pot, covering your leeks and oil with soup stock. Throw away or compost stock veggies. Simmer soup another 10-15 minutes, taste for seasoning, and serve!
This was one of my favorite recipes I've ever made.