Thursday, a (psychotic, to be fair) patient asked me if I was Mormon, because "you look like a Mormon!" Yesterday, some guy in the gym asked if I was a bodybuilder when I was repping a measly 110%-bodyweight deadlift*. I am now determined to craft an alter ego: the female Mormon bodybuilder, the Venom to my Spider-Man, if you will, complete with an awesome costume (Church-approved, please. Latex need not apply.) and moniker! St. Ephedrina, perhaps?
I'm trying a new approach to cooking: measuring the spices I add to food. Blasphemy, right? As a good American, I'm loathe to constrict your freedom to add whatever amounts of whatever the heck you want according to your tastes**. However, as a good future clinician-scientist, I disparage myself for not fastidiously recording my reagents. With that, here is a recipe--with accompanying photos--for
Well-Calibrated Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
1 med onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large poblano pepper
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced fresh tomato, with the juice; you want something nice and flavorful, not a mealy old beefsteak
5 c vegetable broth
juice and zest of 1 large lime
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, or 1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne, plus more to taste
Optional: 1 tbsp cilantro paste (if no fresh cilantro is available)
16 oz fresh or frozen corn
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed well
cheddar cheese, scallions, cilantro, Greek yogurt, and crushed tortilla chips for garnish
Optional: roast the peppers until black and blistered before chopping. Otherwise, chop the onions and peppers and mince the garlic. Saute with the cumin seeds in hot oil until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to release their liquid. Add the spices, lime juice, and broth--I like a very loose soup, so reduce the amount of broth if you want a thicker, more chili-like consistency--and boil 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are almost totally broken down. Add the corn and cook until thawed. Give the soup a few pulses with a stand mixer (Edit: I meant immersion blender. Thank you, Justin, for pointing that out.) , or remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the soup, depending on what consistency you want, and blend it in a regular blender or food processor, then recombine. Add the black beans and bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper, and adjust the spices if necessary. Serve topped with cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, scallions, and tortilla bits.
*In the weightlifting schedule we're on now, each day's main lift is accompanied with a complimentary "big but boring" workout on another lift; bench and overhead presses are paired, as are deadlift and squat. Thus, even though my top work set on deadlift is a little under 200 lbs, I do high-volume work on 135 lbs on my main squat day. I'm not being modest when I say it's measly; deadlift relatively easy to hit bodyweight on, especially for women. We have a slight advantage in hip drive.
**This is sarcasm. Just saying.