It was a perfect place for a teenage party: green shag carpet, a white formica bar with an electric burner, a “conversation pit” with a brick fireplace, and a “record player.” In the early 1970’s, we had “albums” and “singles,” we smoked “pot,” and the hot pink, neon orange, red, and green wallpaper in the bathroom was “psychedelic.”
But…I wasn’t really popular enough to throw parties. I think my parents were actually disappointed. I spent my time in that basement dipping long pieces of string into scented liquid wax to make tapered candles, listening to Bookends and Dark Side of the Moon.
I remember those long solitary hours, lost in creative concentration, focused on my task, absorbed, relaxed, energized, fully alive. Revisiting those moments in a recent interview for 5 questions for the artist, I realize that I fell in love with the flow state. Today, I structure my life to provide space to create the same sort of experience more than 40 years later.
So, last week, when Bob left for a trip “across the pond,” to present his research at Oxford, I planned a sort of artist retreat for myself. I often do this when he is away. I made a big pot of my favorite soup so that I could warm bowls of it for meals for the four days he was away. I thought I’d run in the morning and then spend all my time in the studio making porcelain spoons, bowls and plates, coming out only to eat and sleep.
As it turned out, I was glad I had made the soup, but my retreat was sort of compromised. I wound up with some sort of dreadful respiratory infection, which destroyed my comfort, energy, motivation, and most of my good will. I did make a few pots, but mostly stayed on the couch with Sadie, reading, eating soup, keeping warm, and coughing. A different kind of retreat…
So, in honor of the colors of my psychedelic youth, I share with you the recipe for my soup.
Psychedelic Veggie Soup
I like the veggies in really big slices and chunks, so this is almost a stew. But if you prefer, you can cut them smaller.
Paleo folks, leave out the lentils. You might consider the partial puree variation; it will provide extra body to the soup.
1 tbs. neutral oil, I like walnut
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 head cabbage, shredded (I like savoy)
1 carrot, sliced
1 large parsnip, sliced
1 small rutabaga or medium turnip, peeled, and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 cup puy lentils
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake here) or broken into pieces
1 box frozen artichoke hearts
½ bunch dill, cleaned
1/3 cup white wine
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen)
1 quart stock (chicken or veg)
optional: add a parm rind with the tomatoes.
Choose a very big pot or dutch oven. Heat the oil over high heat and add the onion. Get that warmed up and then throw in the cabbage. Let each ingredient brown just a little before you add the next, up to but not including mushrooms. After the lentils are warmed up, add the wine, then the tomatoes and stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Add the dill, reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering, and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes.
Now, add the mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Cook for another 10-20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked through but not falling apart.
All sorts of serving ideas:
Puree all or part of the soup with a stick blender or machine of choice (see photos).
Add a fried or poached egg to each serving.
Add some leftover or freshly cooked meat, poultry, shrimp, fish, or tofu for extra protein.
Top with Crunchy Bits.
Top with grated parm.
Use bone broth to add additional flavor and nutrients.
Use other herbs like parsley or cilantro instead of or in addition to the dill.
Skip the turnip or rutabaga if you are afraid of them (Mary and Martin).
I love to hear from you. Leave me a comment. Let me know how you like it!!