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Creamy, garlicky soup

hi, all--

I threw this together this evening, and it is delicious.  as transcribed
below, it's a bit thai in flavor, but the seasonings are easily modified
or adapted--if lemon grass or hot sauce or cumin don't appeal to you,
just leave them out; it'll be just as good.  the operative ingredients
are veggie broth (for which i use bouillion, but use your own homemade
if you have it), garlic, pearled barley, and soy milk:  with these,
you'll get a lovely, creamy, rich-tasting soup with nice body, no matter
what how you spice it.  great stuff for cold february nights.



Creamy, Garlicky Soup
(two generous servings, or three or four smaller servings)

3 C. water
3 veggie bouillion cubes (i use maggi)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
6 or 7 pressed garlic cloves (to taste)
hot sauce or chili paste (to taste--omit if you like)
a stalk of lemon grass, cut into 1" lengths (optional, or add a small
squirt of lemon juice or vinegar)
1 meduim carrot, sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 plum (roma) tomatoes or 1 medium tomato, diced
a pinch of ground cumin
approx. 1/3 C. pearled barley

simmer everything together gently until barley is cooked through, about
20 or 30 minutes.  add:

1 1/2 C. light or fatfree soy milk

warm through gently (don't boil) until thickened and creamy.  would be
good w/ chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish.  i wanted a bit more salt,
so added some bragg's amino acids, which worked well.  miso (a spoonful
stirred into some hot soup, then added back to the pot and warmed--not
boiled!) would also be a healthful and delicious addition.  i'm
fantasizing about how this would be with a healthy pinch of saffon added
to the simmering pot before the soy milk... maybe a glug of sherry...