Yesterday morning, as part of my campaign to slow down and make time for myself, I took a bath, an honest to goodness fill-up-the-tub-and-scald-your-girly-bits bath. I used a Lush bath bomb I’d been holding on to for a year or two, and it was glorious. Sure, I learned that the stopper in my bathtub’s drain doesn’t actually work very well, so I had to cover it with a sponge and anchor the sponge with my foot, and sure, my long, curly hair doesn’t take well to immersion-washing and might’ve turned into a bit of a rat’s nest afterwards, but hey, I spent twenty minutes soaking in hot, almond-y water and reading. So you know what? I’m calling it a success.
I used the in-tub downtime to start reading Mockingjay, the third and final book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve already shared my bibliophilic tendencies, and yes – those tendencies extend to young adult fantasy(ish) novels. I’m not ashamed; I think the series is great and definitely worth a read. They’re like brain candy; quick to get through and immensely enjoyable. As I read my book, MoFo was the last thing on my mind; I was more concerned with, y’know, the story’s plot. But then I read the following line and knew what I had to do:
“Either because the prep team’s incapacitated or I’m too on edge, Plutarch releases me from Mockingjay duties for the rest of the day. Gale and I head down to lunch, where we’re served bean and onion stew, a thick slice of bread, and a cup of water.”
There was just something about the idea of a warm stew that appealed to me yesterday, possibly because it was chilly, grey, and drizzly. So I headed into the kitchen to whip up District 13 Bean and Onion Stew:
1/2 [very] large yellow onion, thinly sliced (If I’d had a whole onion, I would’ve used it!)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 C roughly chopped mushrooms (I used baby bella)
2 C vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon’s Vegetable Base, but I think a faux-beef stock would work fantastically here)
15 oz cooked Great Northern beans
1 bay leaf
3/4 t dried sage (I used sage I’d dried during the summer… mmm!)
1/4 t thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a saucepot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Cook until the onions begin to get soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook them down for about another 10 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and the remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for another 30 minutes, until the onions are very soft.
Simple, yet so delicious – I was quite pleased with this stew! I didn’t think adding mushrooms was too much of a stretch from the book version, as I’m sure they could be grown easily in District 13′s underground gardens. Or, if not, Katniss and Gale could gather them during their 2 hours of sanctioned daily hunting time. And I bet potatoes would make another great addition to this rustic, homey stew.
I served this with the Dijon-Thyme Bread from 500 Vegan Recipes, which was not entirely successful. It was my first yeasted breadmaking experience (!), and I realized too late that I didn’t have either of the kinds of flour called for in the recipe. Really, though, the only problem was its failure to rise; it tasted just fine. I know Dijon-Thyme Bread is probably a little fanciful for District 13 – it’s more appropriate for the Capital, perhaps – but maybe my baking error humbled it a little bit.
Have you read the Hunger Games series? Do you ever read books that aren’t targeted to your age group? I’ve already said that I’m a diehard Harry Potter fan, so perhaps it’s not surprising that I’ve enjoyed the Hunger Games books so much!