Posts tagged ‘soup’

The Story of Celebration Soup

Don’t you love it when good news comes in the form of an email? I sure do. Yesterday one such happy message popped up in the ole inbox and it brought about a the biggest bout of happy dances, hand claps and elation whoops this side of Valencia St.

(Is this not the most unappetizing bowl of soup you’ve ever seen? Such is my luck.)

My original pursuit, fulfilling an offer to make a sick friend soup, turned into a spastic exhibition of joy. Instead of ignoring the good news and bucking down, why not call the rest of my soup making what it is? Celebration Soup! (Stick with me here, folks.)

I’m not going to post the whole recipe for Michael Chiarello’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. I didn’t really change anything. After giving the recipe an initial once-over, I finally sat down to read it in it’s an entirety. Wait a sec, this is a friggen rabbit hole recipe!

You know the type. Starts off easy enough until you reach the ingredients list and it says “1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash recipe.” So you skip down and read the recipe for this Roasted Winter Squash. A few seconds later, you’re greeted AGAIN with “2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows.” Ughface. This better be good. (It was.)

Let me break it down: I want to make this soup. But first I have to make the roasted squash mixture. But even before that I have to concoct the spices. Dagnabit recipe writer, I just want soup! What’s with the THREE recipes needed to make your deceptively short Roasted Butternut Squash Soup?!? Luckily I had everything on hand, and despite my initial frustrations, plowed ahead.

So that’s the start of my Celebration Soup. Not an auspicious takeoff, but the beginning was that of sheer amazement someone pushed this giganto batch of recipes through.

Working from the bottom of the webpage up, it was spice time! And these are the good guy spices: fennel, coriander, peppercorns, red chile flakes, salt, cinnamon, chili powder. The house was going to smell like a pizzeria and only an insane person wouldn’t be ok with that.  Look at that beautiful start of the toasted spice rub. It’s enough to make a girl want to cry (from not turning on the oven fan and inhaling heated red pepper).

With the spices out of the way, time for squash prep. Mid-peel, I heard a ding from my laptop upstairs in the craft loft indicating a new email. Generally I would ignore it but my curiosity got the better of me. Grabbing my iPhone off the kitchen table, I glanced at the email. What I saw next included “pleased” and “offer.” I threw down my iPhone and ran upstairs to read the whole thing.

WAHOO!!! I DID IT! I GOT THE JOB I VERY MUCH WANTED! Sure, it’s for a short 4 months but I’ll take that. Who wouldn’t want to work with the incredible people at Chronicle Books? It was (and is) my #1 heart’s desire. There’s no pretending, I wasn’t just happy with the news of a job offer but I was also incredibly thankful that it wasn’t rejection. With 5 months and 1 full read of “What Color is Your Parachute?”  under my belt, it was time for a change. I’d come within an angel hair’s of getting several other really sweet gigs but  I’m convinced that this is what the universe had waiting for me. Happy, happy, happy! After a few appropriate text messages and phone calls to family and friends, I had to get back at the task at hand. Soup? Nope, it’s a celebration! Struggling to focus on what I was doing, I decided the hell with it, this soup was gonna be a party for 1. So what’s next?

The spice rub is all done. It must be time to roast the butternut squash. Remember these guys from the CSA box? Turns out they are a combined weight of 3 pounds which is exactly what the recipe specified. One hour of caramelized cubed squash, butter, spice mix, some fresh sage, balsamic vinegar, sugar and brown sugar (sub for unsulfured molasses) later, the Roasted Winter Squash recipe is rarin’ to go.

FINALLY, TO THE ACTUAL SOUP. It really was a snap to put together… once I’d completed the other more strenuous parts of my mission. I ground up the squash bits with my wand mixer, chopped up some CSA carrots, and an onion. They sautéed with a cinnamon stick until soft and then doused in chicken stock, simmered for awhile longer. Cinnamon stick removed, squash added, salt/pepper to taste. Soup poured in a thermos for easy transport and I was OFF for delivery.

I rushed to get this soup out the door. After all, it was time for celebration cocktails.

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Poopy Diaper?

I don’t know what it is about orange soup that is so damn unappetizing. Everyone loves a good pumpkin, orange or carrot. Why can’t you then cook, partly puree and deliciously present ANY of those thing?? Such seems to be my burden and orange soup curse. The good news is that the knock-your-beanie-off flavor of this soup totally makes up for the fact it looks like something that came out of a baby diaper.

Sweet potatoes
(Let’s take a moment to admire the deep pink-red color of freshly scrubbed sweet potatoes. How lovely!)

What’s the name of the soup that inspired this rant? What is so delicious and yet photographically grotesque?

Sweet Potato- Leek and Spicy Sausage Soup

adapted from Eatwell member Josiah Bragdon’s recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed in 1” pieces
  • 2 leeks, thoroughly washed, tough green leaves removed, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups+ chicken broth
  • 2 large spicy Italian sausage, remove casing and cut into medallions then quarter

In a stock pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, leeks and garlic. Saute until the leeks are soft. 7 minutes? More or less.

Add the sweet potato cubes to the cooked leeks and pour in the chicken broth.

Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft. If at any point your broth is running low, feel free to add a dash more.

While the sweet potatoes stew, cook the sausage. In a skillet, brown the sausage nuggets in oil. When finished, let them drain on a paper towel.

Time to gross-ify your soup! Use a Cuisinart wand hand blender to puree parts of the soup. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you want. You could also remove parts of the soup and use a blender.

Add the sausage to the soup and salt/pepper to taste. Allow your soup to simmer, with a lid, for 10-15 minutes and then serve. Enjoy!


I hereby decree yesterday’s CSA recipe iou NULL and VOID! This great recipe used not uno but dos items from last week’s box. Celebration! Now to find a way to eat two whole winter squashes.

Seriously San Francisco (internet?), I DARE YOU to try and take a tasty looking picture of this stuff. Can’t be done. I’ll definitely keep trying… just as long as I get to eat the completed soup attempts.

The Internet Project Roundup

There’s an amazing process I’ve observed here on the internet. We have the ability to make stuff and share it with other people, or admire things other people have made. We post about it on our blogs, put it on twitter, bookmark it via Delicious, with the intention of making it ourselves or giving a hat tip to someone’s effort. There are people around the world, who you and I will never talk to, will probably never meet and may otherwise not exist at all except that they shared one thing with the web that they made and then allowed it to take on a life of its own. It’s those recipes, ideas, tutorials and inspirational blog posts that help me decide to do with my extra 10 pounds of tomatoes or make me search for project-specific materials in the area. This post is for you, oh contributors to the internet. And to the readers and makers of said projects, for actually taking the initiative to start and finish the projects in imitation and collboration.

Here’s what I’ve made recently:

Spicy Roasted Tomato & Black Bean Soup from Poppytalk and Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

This soup was simple, delicious and easy to make. Head over to Poppytalk for the full recipe but it was essentially roasting tomatoes, garlic and peppers set to simmer in sauteed onions, celery and chicken stock with an after addition of black beans. After tasting post-roast, I only used 1 Poblano pepper and substituted the dollop of sour cream with some queso fresco. It was so hearty, the end result was deceptively like was veggie chili. Best part of this recipe? Leftover soup and getting to use a CSA Poblano, tomatoes and basil in it.

Leather chain necklace tutorial by Cucumbersome

For this next project, I sadly don’t have a photo of the finished necklace. My sister had an important birthday last week and in my rush to overnight her a birthday package (featuring almond and orange biscotti dipped in chocolate and this necklace), the camera was left behind in the rush. It turned out fantastically! Sister loved it and I loved it. Perhaps I’ll snag a pic of it in the next few months when I see her. I’d strongly recommend heading out to your local scrap shop (like I did) and picking up some leather pieces to make it.

My only tweak would be to look for thinner leather as it seems my grey was significantly thicker than what Cucumbersome features in her tutorial. The template you print up also was no where near scale that she had mentioned so this necklace so you end up sizing it yourself. That means there are quite a few size variations you could try. I’d like to try making the necklace with both smaller and larger chains. I closed by necklace loop by cutting the bottom looped chain in half at the center and re-gluing it together with the lead chain inside of it.

Both these projects were fun and I’d recommend not only the recipe and tutorial but the fantastic Poppytalk and Cucumbersome as blogs to follow. Enough about me, what’d you make last week? What’s up to bat in your craft room or kitchen for this week?

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