On the occasion of my dear friends Bart and Lisa’s (yup!) wedding, I just spent an indulgent weekend in Des Moines, IA. Sound like a non sequitor? Well, there’s a thriving local food and restaurant scene in Des Moines, not to mention an explosion of local breweries dreaming up all kinds of delicious hoppy substances.
A few of the outstanding things to be tasted in Des Moines are the handmade pastas and steak at Lucca, the pupusas by Pupusas El Salvador and a zillion other prepared foods at the Saturday farmer’s market, and the not-to-be-missed potato pancakes at the Drake Diner. An incredible selection of eclectic microbrews—local and non—can be found at El Bait Shop.
The upshot of all this deliciousness packed into a few days is that by the end of the weekend, I didn’t feel quite my best. When I got back to New York, I knew I wanted to do a cleanse, but one that would be enjoyable, not tasteless torture. I’m happy to report that I’m on day five of my cleanse now and I’m not miserable! My basic approach is to shop at the farmer’s market and buy the gorgeous produce that’s in season, then throw it in the blender either raw, or briefly cooked without oil. Sometimes there’s a salad or a nori wrap in there as well. When I feel the need for some fat, I add a small amount of nuts, seeds, nut butter, or avocado to whatever I’m making.
Here’s a soup that I’ve been blending up different versions of daily. It’s full of natural flavor, and only needs a little salt and pepper to bring it alive. It’s especially good if you have time to make vegetable stock with all of the flavorful vegetable trimmings. Below is the “recipe.” Now is a great time to do a gentle cleanse, because there’s so much local produce at the peak of its flavor.
Cleansing Pureed Vegetable Soup
1 medium tomato
1 clove garlic
1 ear corn
1 large handful fresh herbs
Optional: 1 tablespoon almond butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dice the vegetables and put them in a saucepan with water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Throw in the herbs and cook for a minute, until wilted. Transfer the soup to a blender and add the almond butter if using. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature.