Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soup's On

Or: How my Carrot-Dill Soup morphed into Pumpkin-Curry Soup.

Or: why I shouldn't be allowed near the spice rack some days.

Let's begin with snow, for after all, that's how my morning began. At least four inches of new powder on top of the older layers of snow. This time though, it was windy all night; there was snow up to the front door, up to the back door, in my windowsills. Even the Art Heads on the front porch were wearing little caps of snow. So I shoved some paths in it, got all sweaty and out of breath, and decided the driveway could wait until later. Much later. Like Spring.

My brother came over, he brought me a couple of his ravishingly beautiful handmade porcelain marbles, a belated birthday gift. He's doing well, his bloodwork was such that he didn't have the shot they usually give him each week. Human Growth Hormone, I think. I lose track as he has different shots and treatments different weeks. He's on his off week for chemo, so he's not fatigued. Still working, still needs a new used car for the family. They're refinancing the house for the gazillionth time. I worry.

Soup sounded perfect for lunch. Mmm, carrot-dill soup, that's the ticket! A short batch, the recipe makes many monstrous servings. I knew I had baby carrots in the fridge, although you and I know they aren't baby carrots at all, but shaved carrots, whittled carrots. Anyway, I diced up an onion, threw it in butter in my big pan, and added the dried dill. I know, this soup calls for fresh dill, but I'm right out. Dried works. I sprinkled in some ginger, because I like to punch up the taste. Went to grab my bag of frozen chopped celery. Oops. No celery in the freezer. Hmm, celery seed, it will do. So into the butter that goes. Smells yummy, fabulous. I grab the carrots and dump them into the strainer for a quick rinse. Uh-oh. They've gone over. Ack! I turn down the heat and scurry down the stairs to check the pantry. One sad can of carrots. No carrots in the deep freeze. Okaaay, then, I have to do something with that sizzling goodness upstairs on the stove. Hmm, canned pumpkin, big cans. Not pie filling, just pumpkin. Hey, orange and kinda sweet, very much like a carrot, no? So I toss in the lone can of carrots, two cans of chicken broth, and the can of pumpkin. Tasty, but too sweet. I add graham marsala (Indian spice mix) and some yellow curry. Better, but flat. Cayenne, check, the recipe calls for it anyway. And cumin, because I like cumin. And some more curry powder.

After the soup heated, I turned it to simmer, covered the pan and let it go for 40 minutes. The timer dinged, I grabbed the big spoon and tasted it, very yummy. The next step is to cool it and puree it, but I was very hungry. I dished it up and topped it with grated white cheddar. Horseradish cheddar at that, which sounds wrong with the curry and ginger, but worked beautifully. Yes, I know, the recipe calls for creme fraise, but I don't have any darn creme fraise, not even sour cream, not even yogurt. The soft cheeses kill my arthritic joints, so white horseradish cheddar it is. I didn't mind the lumps and bumps of carrots and onions at all, I enjoy texture in my food. However, I will puree the rest of the batch. This soup is so hearty, I could dump it over rice and it would be great.

Hint: you will cry tears of stupidity if you touch your face after handling cayenne pepper, cumin and curry powder.


archersangel said...

lovely marbles.
i noticed a cat's paw in the pic. i'm sure they know by now that they are for looking at, not playing with.

MaggieMayDay said...

I used the kitty condo to take pics in the sun. Yes, I had to keep putting the marbles back.. Harry kept helping me! They're now safely in the display case with the others!

k-bay said...

Those really are beautiful marbles, very unique. I'm glad to read that your brother was able to pay you a visit.

I completely understood how your soup morphed. One of my favorite juices has carrot, mango, and sweet potato; and since sweet-potato pie can be very much like pumpkin pie, well, there you go. And if you enjoy a touch of horseradish, you use it in things other people might not. And as long as you enjoyed the results, then it sounds like you were well-rewarded (except for the misfortune of burning eyes, ouch) for an incredibly creative Adventure in Cooking.

- I wonder how many people actually have creme fraise on hand. ("Oh, of course, right behind the clarified butter on the specially chilled dairy shelf above the radish rosettes.")