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Austin Empty Bowl Project tops $1M; new book touts Zen of soup


COOKBOOKS

Splendid Spoon founder’s new book uses soup to connect mind, body

If eating better and mindfulness are on your resolution list, you might check out Nicole Centeno’s “Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan” (Rodale, $24.99), which offers a little Zen with her zucchini-filled ratatouille.

Centeno, who grew up in a family of doctors with a strong curiosity about our bodies and our habits, started the soup delivery company Splendid Spoon (splendidspoon.com), which ships soups across the lower 48 states. Each delivery for the full program includes 10 soups, five for lunches during the week and another five that are meant to reset your body’s optimal organ function. Four of those soups are lighter, drinkable soups such as carrot turmeric or a vegan broth that you can sip hot or cold, and other soups include cauliflower coconut, pumpkin pear hempseed and tomato basil.

If you want a smaller delivery, you can also order just the five lighter “cleanse” soups or the five lunch soups. You don’t get to choose each week’s soups, but you can order them one week at a time ($95 per week, including shipping) or pre-pay for one, two or three months ($80 per week).

More than 70 of Centeno’s recipes are in the book, but it is the author’s beginning chapters and side notes where you get a real feel for her mission. You can use the book simply as a set of recipes or as a guide to a set of new habits — eating more plant-based soups, intermittent fasting and increasing general awareness about your mind and body.

This green curry soup with broccoli, for instance, comes with this message: “The Buddha taught, ‘Mind and body are united. What I think I become.’ Before you soup, close your eyes and stretch your spine so you are sitting or standing tall, as if a string is holding up the crown of your head. Silently repeat to yourself. I am strong, I am confident, I am at ease. Your souping habit is helping your body strengthen, which will increase your confidence and put your spirit at ease. You are doing this now, so go ahead and claim that full mantra in present tense! Sit up tall and repeat it again at the end of your souping ritual, or whenever you have a few moments.”

Green Coconut Curry with Broccoli

Light sweetness from the coconut’s rich milk and oil combine with green leafy flavors from broccoli and bok choy and fresh curry spices. The most beautiful curries are the ones made with freshly ground spices, but if you don’t have time, you can find green Thai curry paste at an Asian grocer or order online.

— Nicole Centeno

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (use gloves if your skin is sensitive to hot peppers)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. green curry powder or paste

1 head broccoli, broken into small florets (about 4 cups)

1/4 cup plus 1 quart water, divided

1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk

Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 head bok choy, green leaves only, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the onion and pepper, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.

Stir in the green curry powder, broccoli and 1/4 cup of the water, cover and cook for 5 minutes while occasionally stirring.

Add the coconut milk, salt, black pepper and the remaining 1 quart water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to simmer. Add the bok choy and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli and bok choy are tender but still al dente.

Enjoy warm or chilled topped with the cilantro, if using. Add a few slices of fresh jalapeño for more heat.

— From “Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan” by Nicole Centeno (Rodale, $24.99)

With new cookbook, Austin Empty Bowl Project celebrates 20 years, $1 million raised

The Austin Empty Bowl Project celebrated its 20th year with a big milestone: surpassing $1 million for the Central Texas Food Bank and Meals on Wheels and More. This year’s event raised $46,000 for both the food bank and Meals on Wheels.

As the organization was announcing that it had raised exactly $1,000,200 over the years, it also announced the release of a cookbook to help raise even more money to fight hunger in Central Texas.

Released last month, “Austin Empty Bowl Project: The Cookbook” features dozens of recipes from Austin-area cooks and chefs, including Charles Mayes, who shared his fire-roasted artichoke tomato bisque. (We last published that recipe in 2012, and I’ve reposted it on my blog at food.blog.austin360.com.)

You’ll also find soups from Jam Sanitchat of Thai Fresh, Iron Cactus chef James Blanton and Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen, and breads and muffins from bakers, such as Jodi Elliott of Bribery Bakery. (I submitted the no-knead bread recipe I like to use.)

The spiral-bound book costs $20 and is available through the Central Texas Food Bank, Meals on Wheels or by emailing austinemptybowl@gmail.com to arrange to buy one directly from the organization.

Cioppino

1/4 cup olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 cups white wine

6 cups fish stock

1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 lb. firm, white-fleshed fish

1 lb. clams or mussels

1 Tbsp. dried savory

Salt and pepper

Prepare seafood by cutting fish into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. Clean clams/mussels. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, thyme, basil and crushed red pepper. Stir well. Once mushrooms have released their juices, about 10 to 15 minutes, turn the heat to high and add wine. When wine is evaporated, add fish stock, tomatoes and their juices and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat to high and add all the seafood and savory. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes until fish flakes off at the touch of a fork, shrimp are cooked through and clams/mussels are all open. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

— From David Ansel of the Soup Peddler in “Austin Empty Bowl Project: The Cookbook”



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