By now, dinner time was long overdue and I was running on fumes. I needed something fast! The combination of cold and hunger left me craving one thing: soup. And where's my typical "fast food" joint these days? That's right, Whole Foods, where the hot bars are hot, the cold bars are cold, and the soups are steamin'! Unfortunately though, today's options (cheesy broccoli, black bean chili, chicken noodle, beef stew- containing wheat...) left me with an empty bowl and there was no way I was eating cold salad bar... again.
Time to get creative, I though. I'll make my own soup, just the way I want it; something brothy, spicy, warming, fresh, and satisfying. I tracked down my ingredients, not really knowing what would come of it all. Beef broth, yes. Ginger, yes. Jalapeno, yes. Meat, yes... I'm tired of chicken. I walked to the butcher block and found some local grass fed stew meat on sale. Bingo. "I'll take a handful of the stew meat," I told the butcher and asked, "how do I cook it so it's really tender?" I knew the answer, but I wanted to hear something other than, low and slow. "Low and slow," he said, "probably can't get started tonight." He looked at his watch, "I'd let 'er cook for two or three hours..." No way man! This girl is hungry now! I had a plan. Lime, yes. Here's what I did...
1 box beef broth
1 Lesley-sized handful of stew meat, about 1/3 lb
1 shallot, diced fine
2 large garlic cloves
2 inches fresh ginger
1 box of to-go salad bar, loaded with spinach, some julienne carrot, a few cherry tomatoes, and some onion, green and red in thin crescents... and two dolmas to eat in the car on the way home.
1 green zucchini
five or six raw cashews
Dump the beef broth in a pot and turn on the heat. Thinly slice the stew meat as thin as you can, couple centimeters thick against the grain. Squeeze some lime, sprinkle some salt and grind some pepper on that juicy mound and let it marinade.
Add the diced shallot to the broth. Grate in the ginger and garlic. Let the flavors blend in the simmering broth for about five minutes. In the mean time, slice the zucchini and jalapeno very thin (zucchini into rounds, jalapeno in strips, or however you like). When the broth has full flavor, turn the heat down a bit and add the meat and the rest of the veggies (zucchini jalapeno, and the contents of the salad bar to-go box). Don't let the soup boil again. Sir gently and let the meat cook until the rawness is gone. Turn the heat off and let it sit a few more minutes while you heat your bowl. Dish up, top with a few cashews and ... Alakazam! It was SO good.