Monday, February 2, 2009

Orzo Soup: The Best Homeopathic Remedy Ever

I knew the moment my alarm clock macerated the silence in my bedroom on Friday morning that something was off. It wasn't just that it was 6:19 am and I was getting up before the sun arrived, but something worse. I felt... bad. My head was thick with pressure, my eyes lusted for more sleep, and my nasal passages felt as though someone (bed bugs, perhaps?) had stuffed tissues into them. I knew when I pushed myself from the warm cocoon of my pink bedding that it was going to be one of those days when time seems to stand still and every work-related task grates against my nerves like sandpaper.

"Lord, please give me the strength to get through today," I thought as I pulled on my running shoes in a masochistic attempt to clear the fog in my head with exercise. By the time I reached my office nearly 2 1/2 hours later, I was ready to turn around and go straight back to my WeHo apartment to spend the day catching up on all the episodes of "Chopped" I have saved to my DVR. I somehow managed to put the mute button on the whiny internal voice that kept telling me to high-tail it out of there and actually made it to lunch time without screaming obscenities at the woman who called my line to announce she was suing the company for such and such nonsense. (I put the mute button on her too.) At 12:30, I made a quick jaunt to a local Mexican fast-food eatery specifically to buy one of the Mexican Cokes they sell by the bottle, and was immediately cured by the sugary caffeinated soda.

That is, until I crashed mid-way through the afternoon.

It was at that point that I surrendered to my semi-sick state and decided to make soup for dinner.

I selected the orzo soup recipe from 101 Cookbooks as my homeopathic remedy of choice because, a.) I already had everything on hand in my apartment, and b.) It was the first thing that popped in my mind.

While I wasn't completely sure how the soup would turn out (clearly, since I hadn't made it before), I was too lazy to come up with anything else, and have been making a concerted effort to try more new recipes this year. Luckily for me, I picked a really good one. It was easy, healthy and chock-full of so much deliciousness that I couldn't even be bothered to read my book or pretend to be concentrating on the important articles in the newspaper like I normally do when I'm eating dinner. I couldn't tear my attention away from the soup, glorious, soup, and by the time I finished my bowl, I felt ready to run a marathon -- to sing karaoke at a sketchy bar -- to dance naked in the streets!

Well, not really. But I did feel perky enough to watch both "Big Love" and "Friday Night Lights," before finally snuggling back into my pink cocoon with my book.

Orzo Soup
(adapted from recipe on 101 Cookbooks)
Serves 1

3 cups vegetable broth (I used a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon mixed with 3 cups water)
1/4 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1 egg
1 1/2 cups spinach, chopped
1 small vine-ripened tomato, chopped
Handful garbanzo beans
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Basil-infused olive oil
Sea salt
Parmesan cheese

Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until just tender. Stir in the chopped spinach and garbanzo beans.

In the meantime, heat the tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and the red pepper flakes in a separate saucepan.

Just before serving, slowly pour the egg into the soup, stirring quickly with a whisk. It should take on a raggy appearance. Serve the soup topped with a generous spoonful of tomatoes, a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil, and some parmesan cheese.


Alessandra said...

Ooohh - that sounds delicious! One Q, though: taking into consideration my dislike of tomatoes, do you think that I could leave them off, or would the flavor suffer too much? Can I substitute with something else?

Diana said...

I think it would be fine without the tomatoes. They are used more as a garnish than anything else, but if you want a burst of color, you could probably top it with some bite-sized roasted red peppers instead.

Esi said...

Ok, I am convinced. I may have to try it this weekend. Hope you're feeling better!

Heather said...

mmmmmmm. that sounds so good!!

Diana said...

Esi - Yes! Try the soup! I can't wait to see what you come up with! :)

Heather - So good! It's the perfect comfort food!

Elra said...

I like orzo, but never add this into soup. I should try this next time.

Kirby! said...

I always feel better after I make something from 101 Cookbooks, even if I'm not sick!! So much nutritious organic-ness and whatnot. Hope you feel better.... may I suggest more snuggling on the couch and more DVR?

The Blonde Duck said...

Great soup. I hope you're feeling better!

Diana said...

Elra - I think orzo works really well in soup - I hope you enjoy it!

Kirby - 101 Cookbooks is the greatest! I have been on a Heidi-kick lately -- she's a genius!

Duckie - Thanks! I am feeling a little better, but still not 100%! Must mean I need more soup! :)