Monday, May 21, 2012

Nothing Soup

Tonight, after getting home from Cashiers and feeling achy and tired and wanting to battle that tickling feeling in the back of my throat, I decided I could not give in! I wanted to get to work right away on a soup. It could be my last good meal of the week if I catch a cold. So I looked in the fridge, there was nothing, well almost nothing. I looked in the freezer, same. The pantry produced a few canned goods, but nothing to make a full and filling meal. I really needed to go to the grocery store. I did not want cereal for dinner; not this time. Plus milk and dairy products are not that good for mucous and colds. So I have read anyway. 

It was either going to be me going to the store or me putting on my thinking cap and putting effort into a decent meal from nearly nothing. I have done this many a night when we had to stretch our bills and make it just one or more days until payday. 

Tonight, it wasn't because of a lack of funds, it was a lack of strength to walk down those twenty-five stairs to the car, to the store, and back up the stairs with groceries.  Nuh uh! Not tonight! I was going to make something and it was going to be great! 

I set about pulling out a nearly empty bag of carrots, three potatoes, fresh parsley that would not be fresh in a couple of days, half a shallot, two tablespoons of butter, two cloves of garlic, a can of tomatoes (which had habaneros in it and made me think about my tickled throat and a possible cure), a lone Kaiser roll, small chunk of Romano Cheese, and my pot, cheese grater, potato peeler, prep bowls, chef's knife, and my flimsy chopping matt. 

I was going to make a "nothing soup." I have had great success with them in the past. Making soup, and a lot of it, from almost nothing and the bottom of my fridge. All those things that may go bad soon get put into the pot and in a way that is necessary to make it taste good. I have stopped using dried herbs and spices a long time ago and use fresh herbs, fresh garlic, and onion for every dish. It is fun and makes me feel like a kitchen goddess, all powerful over the fresh foods and ingredients, and all knowing of how good the foods will taste when chopped with precision and blended how they should be. 

So I don't really know exactly how things will turn out, and tonight was just one of those nights I had no control over. Goddess-of-kitchen-bubble bursted.

I melted butter in my pot and then added the minced garlic and shallot and sauteed them while hovering my face over the pot and taking deep breaths (you should try it! It relieves sinus pressure, tickled throat feeling, and opens the airway passages). I love garlic! 
So after sauteeing for about three minutes and breathing deeply and with great satisfaction I moved on to dumping in the chopped carrots, peeled and chopped potatoes, and chopped parsley. I rolled it around in the pot for two minutes before adding in the can of tomatoes and a water/chicken broth/chicken bouillon mixture.
I did not forget to add salt to this pot, like I am very notorious for doing with most all of the times I had made "nothing soup." I figured it needed to boil until the potatoes and carrots were soft. Which was about twenty minutes.

I decided to try a small sampling taste after I let it simmer for ten minutes. My lips tingled, my eyes watered, my nose ran, and my mouth said, "OOPS!" I should have used only half the can. Maybe adding some romano cheese and olive oil will help some. So I did. It smelled lovely and delectable and almost a masterpiece. 

I let it simmer some more and cut the roll in half and grated some of the cheese onto each half before placing it in the oven to broil. I had the table set and ready for dinner with another cringe and very little hope as to whether Nathan will like the flavors or not. I was confident of only one thing, Ok two. One, that it will be very spicy, and two, that the bread was going to be great dipped in the soup. Maybe I could manage...NOT to kill myself. I knew Nathan would survive. But would I?

The result:
 Nathan loved it and especially the Kaiser roll dipped in it, but I got that feeling like I wasn't going to survive one bowl! I was slurping one spoonful per six gulps of tea and a mouthful of bread all the while telling him, "it's too spicy,  I can't believe I did that! My mouth, OH! My mouth! QUICK, more tea! HAND ME THAT CHAPSTICK!"

After Nathan finished his second bowl, I decided to try eating big spoonfuls in quick succession and then eat bread and drink sweet tea after it was done. That theoretical plan did not go over well. That is when I really felt like I was going to die! And I did not get close to finishing one bowl. ALL of the leftovers are for Nathan's lunch tomorrow and for whomever wants to take a helping if he doesn't finish it. 

 I have learned a great lesson!
Romano-cheese-toasted Kaiser rolls are my new best friend and tomatoes with habaneros are NEVER a good idea for a soup for two!

Tomorrow I am going grocery shopping! This calls for a remake and it will be in the crock pot with no peppers. Ok, maybe one very ripened and skinned jalapeno for flavor only, and maybe I will leave it whole so I can remove it and not eat it and I will write down my exact ingredients and amounts of each for future reference. Nathan can make his own pot the spicy way if he wants a replica!

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