Sunday, November 30, 2008

And now for The Worst Soup You Never Had...

When I typed the title for yesterday's post, little did I know that today's post would mirror it, but not in a good way! But that's the way of mirrors sometimes.

So the soup no one had was the rice-squash-apple soup. When it was done yesterday I told The Southerner, "'s okay, but not that good. Maybe if it sits overnight it will be better. Otherwise I'll spice it up tomorrow."

Today, I heated it up and added more stock because it had become the consistency of rice pudding. And get this...I had 8 quarts of it! After last week's sell-out crowd I wanted to be ready. So I added some spice...but basically it still was not good. So then I decided to really kick it up a notch and I sauteed a bunch of garlic in peanut oil with some curry, turmeric, and various other spices. After I added them, I tasted it 3:32pm, just 18 minutes before SS officially started, I jumped in the truck, raced down to the Village (by "race" I mean at a nice slow-safe speed because people here on the island are still quoting my letter to the editor about how everyone drives like maniacs around here, scaring the pedestrians, cyclists, and deer nearly to death), bought four white potatoes and two leeks and hurried home. By 3:48pm I had a pot of water boiling with diced potatoes and leeks. By 4:20pm I had soup. This Potato Leek soup (Julia Child's recipe) is by far the fastest, and one of the least expensive soups, I can make. It's also a big hit. It's also a repeat.

Here's the deal, when we started SS, my goal was to make a different soup every week for the first year. So far I have done that...and I did it's just that the new soup was hidden in the laundry room instead of on the stove when people got here! Julia always gave the same advice, "Serve your food and don't admit it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to." I think that's good advice if the food is still good, just not exactly how you intended. Sometimes though, you have to cut your losses.

So why am I admitting this here on the blog? Because there was a time in my life when a soup not working out like this would've been horrible, devastating, and I would've considered myself a terrible failure. I guess that part of the "take things as they come" philosophy is simply getting older and realizing it doesn't matter, but another part of it is the cook in me. You see, everyone has failures in cooking. And I've made approximately 30 successful soups this year. Some better than others, but all good enough to serve to guests. So what if one pot gets hidden in the laundry room? As long as we remember to compost it at some point, it's just a fact of Sunday Soup.

The cats are curled up on the furniture, giving themselves baths to wash off all that attention from the guests, The Southerner and The Irish One played guitar tunes for an hour and a half, and at one point I nearly teared up because I can't believe this is my wonderful life. I hope you are living a wonderful life too. And now I have to go save my knitting from The Orange Menace (Grinder) who is pretending he doesn't see it, but is inching towards it nonetheless. Have a great week!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Best Soup You Never Had

After a week of vacation, last week's soup seems so far away. I had to think hard to remember what it was. Maybe that's because there weren't any leftovers! Not only did 9 people manage to polish off 6 quarts of Seven Bean Soup and a loaf of Cheese & Onion bread, but I had to thaw 3 servings of the Spicy Split Pea from the week before so later arrivals, Roger & Steve O. got something to eat at all! That is the first time we've finished off the soup. We got awfully close with the Tomato Orange, but that's a very thin soup. The Seven Bean Soup was a hearty soup! I'm glad everyone enjoyed it though.

As for the Best Soup You Never Had, I'm referring to the soup I made for me and The Southerner while I was on my writing hiatus (I did a tonne of cooking and way too much knitting...I now have knitting-elbow and am hoping to avoid Tommy John Surgery). The soup is called Vermont Cheddar and Apple Soup. It is mostly apples (I used organic Jonagold), along with a bit of celery, potato, and onion. You saute all that in butter, then de-glaze with some white wine, add vegetable stock and simmer it for a while. Then you puree it and add 3 cups of sharp (Canadian, not Vermont) white cheddar, and half a cup of cream, salt, and pepper.

The first bite was just strange. The second bite was a bit better. And by the third bite we were both saying, "Hey, this is pretty good." However, what we discovered is it was almost a totally different soup the second day and it was SO MUCH BETTER! We can't exactly pinpoint why that is, but trust us.

The reason you all at Sunday Soup will never have this (unless you make it yourself) is because a 3 quart pan of it cost more than $10 to make. If I were to make enough for Sunday Soup, I'd have to shell out around $50. That, my friends, I cannot do. So sorry! One reason I came up with the idea of soup, as opposed to say...Sunday Sandwiches, is because soup can feed many people for a very reasonable amount and sad to say, I am on a budget. I mean, we all are, for the most part, right? Anyway, I think the least expensive soup I've ever made would be one where The Southerner and fellow gardeners supplied all the vegetables and the most expensive is probably the Tomato Orange, coming in around $30 for nearly 9 quarts. Ironically, I splurged on the Tomato Orange soup because it was Carol's birthday and it wasn't until months later that I found out that she can't eat tomatoes! There was cake though.

As for this week, I made a veggie rice soup with apple and butternut squash. It's pretty good, but I think that tomorrow I might have to adjust the seasonings a bit. We'll see how much it thickens up as it sits. It has abborio rice to make it creamy, but I have extra stock in case it gets too thick. I think it would be nice with crackers, but I'm not sure what everyone else would think if I cheated them out of bread. We'll see!

Have a great weekend and I'll fill you in again soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Break

I finished writing my new book yesterday. Because of that, I am taking a full week off the computer (sheer exhaustion!). I will recap this Sunday Soup when I post next week. Have a great week! Feel free to leave me veggie soup recipes or bread recipes in the comment section!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Memory of Calvin - November 18, 2008

Those of you who have either come to Sunday Soup, or are regular followers of this blog, know that our neighbour, Carol, was accompanied by her wonderful cat Calvin to almost every Sunday Soup, rain or shine. He came for the company, the catnip, and the food (no, not the soup...our cats' food!). He was loved by all, a sweetie beyond words...but this week he had to move on to his tenth life. We will all miss him at Sunday Soup. As will this deer who used to love to give Calvin a bath.

I am pleased to say that I was able to harvest the last five or six leaves of catnip and give them to Calvin before he moved on, and while he wasn't really eating any longer, he did nibble the leaves and rub my hand. Blessings to Calvin's family: Carol, Tigre, Hobbes, and Biscuit. Calvin, you will be missed, but always remembered at Sunday Soup.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Spicy Soup

I made a split pea with (faux) sausage. I used a recipe. It was really yummy. Except for using Tofurky Sausage, I actually followed this recipe to the letter. I don't know why except that it sounded good and I couldn't think of anything that needed changing. It was tasty, but it was pretty spicy from the cayenne (and I put the least amount recommended).

We had a nice evening with a fire and some good cornmeal honey bread (I've made it before) and Steve brought there was tea and brownies. And Cheryl brought dip in that cool bowl she has that I always hope she'll accidentally leave here and forget where it is (she did leave it here, but she knows it). Some of the regulars were there and a newbie from Vancouver Island...a friend and storyteller named John. He didn't tell any stories, but he brought fancy cheese and crackers and it was great to see him!

We closed up shop a half hour early so we could go to a music gig of The Southerner's. Just in case, we left Roger a note on the door telling him the soup was still on the stove and he should help himself (he often comes late because he has to close his cafe), but when I was being CD Girl in the lobby, I saw him there, so my clever note went unread.

All in all, a very nice evening!

Oh, and I did think of one way to help PHC (see previous post) through Sunday Soup. Since we always tell people they don't have to bring anything, but some of them insist, we're going to tell them to bring canned goods for PHC instead!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hot Water

I slept late this morning, but I'm glad I did because I was having an interesting dream. I was dreaming about Sunday Soup. In the dream, The Southerner had agreed to do a benefit concert for the food bank here on the island (aka People For a Healthy Community or PHC) at the last minute and it happened to be on a Sunday afternoon. I had not made any soup, and we had to go to the gig, and there wasn't time to cancel. Instead of making soup, I filled the crockpot with hot water. Then we put signs all over the kitchen explaining to our soon-to-appear guests where we'd gone and why. We told them that the hot water was all some people on the island had, instead of soup, and that's why we thought it was important to abandon Sunday Soup that day and go do the concert. We also put out a jar for our guests to leave money for PHC.

Of course, because it was a dream, I'm leaving out all the weird bits that are always in dreams, like I put out tea bags so our guests wouldn't feel totally cheated, and I was hunting around for bags of chips to leave too. And some of the signs didn't actually make any sense.

But anyway, when I woke up, I called The Southerner into the bedroom and recounted my dream. I am sure that I had this dream for a couple of reasons. First off, I just read that PHC is serving 14% more people this year, which means they'll have to do more fundraising and get more donations. The other reason I think I connected it to soup is because one of the restaurants on the island makes soup once a week and PHC hosts a Soup Social. Interestingly enough, one of the comments in the article I read was about how important the social part of the program is and how many people would love to have that every day because food and companionship go hand in hand. Isn't that the big idea behind Sunday Soup? I think so.

The Southerner and I decided that we should do some sort of fundraiser at Sunday Soup for PHC. It has to be a special Sunday because often we'll only have a few people and while $10 will help PHC, $100 would be better, right? I've already been planning a Sunday Soup Swap on the one year anniversary where everyone brings a pot of soup and containers and we all take soup home. Maybe that would be a good day to do a fundraiser too. I'm also considering writing an article for the newspaper about Sunday Soup and maybe asking others to host their own SS as a fundraiser for PHC. Or if any of you readers have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spicy Sunday

I did indeed make chocolate bread to offset the spicy soup. Actually, I made chocolate muffins with mint chocolate chunks in them. While I was baking, I contemplated the difference between a muffin and cupcake. I came up with two conclusions. The first is that a muffin is more like bread and less like cake because it doesn't have as many eggs or as much sugar. And the other difference is if you call it a muffin, you can eat it for breakfast, even if twelve of them have an entire bar of chocolate and almost a stick of butter in them. Whoever started calling these muffins is a genius!

It was a very quiet Sunday Soup and for once we gathered in the living room near the fire, instead of crowding around our tiny table in our small kitchen. It was nice and cozy. Both Steve O. and Ken are big time spicy food fans, so they were thrilled with the soup. Actually, even Carol who doesn't like spice that much, and me and the The Southerner who like it but have a moderate level of tolerance (compared to Steve and Ken) thought the soup was one of the best ones yet. Of course, I say that most weeks...maybe I'm getting better and better at this soup thing!

Just in case you want to add a little warmth to your winter evening...
This makes a lot of soup...about 6 quarts. Here's the recipe :
Spicy Cream of Corn Soup - original recipe
10 cups homemade vegetable stock
10 cups frozen corn (divided 8 cups & 2 cups)
2 large onions, chopped
2 TBS corn oil
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you can find these in most Mexican food section)
2 tsp of adobo sauce
2 8oz bricks of cream cheese, cut into one inch squares
2 cups soy milk (or regular milk, if you like)
salt to taste

Saute the onions in corn oil until soft. Add 8 cups of corn, diced peppers (seeded!) and adobo sauce. Saute 2 more minutes. Add vegetable stock. Let simmer for 20 minutes or so. Puree with a hand blender (or a regular blender, but cool slightly before doing that). Pour soup through a sieve to remove all the corn skins (?) and return to stock pot. Add soy milk and cream cheese. The cream cheese will soften but you'll probably have to hit it with the hand blender or whisk it by hand to make it smooth. Add remaining two cups of corn. Heat through. Season with salt as needed.

Just a can freeze the rest of the peppers (there are usually about 5-6 per can and about 1/8 cup of sauce) in their sauce for a long time.

So anyway, I hope you all like the new blog. I'm really happy with the way it looks! And thanks for stopping by!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I had a knitting workshop today...all day...I learned a lot, but boy am I beat! Luckily, I made the soup last night. It is one pretty soup. It's a sweet corn soup with cream cheese to thicken it and it's very deceiving. It's all golden and velvety and looks exactly like something you might share with a baby. If you HATED the baby, that is, because lurking in the creaminess, pureed so that you can't see it, are chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Now I didn't mean to make it so hot, but I did want to add a little kick, so I chopped up a couple of the peppers but I did seed them...I mean, everyone knows it's the seeds that are the hot part, right? So I was thinking of y'all when I did that! But then two little peppers in that big pot of soup just seemed so I added a couple of teaspoons of the adobo sauce from the can and WOWIE! That soup's got some zing, now! Yeehaw!

I've decided to serve it with red tortilla chips. I just like the colour combo and I highly doubt anyone except Ken is going to want me to add red peppers as garnish, so I think it makes for a great presentation. The Southerner hasn't tasted it yet because he was gone last night when I made it, so he's in for a surprise, although he was warned. All y'all are warned! Maybe I better make something chocolate for afters. Heck, chocolate is good even if you don't eat anything hot first! Maybe I'll try and find a recipe for chocolate bread!

P.S. I'm slowly moving posts over here from the other journal, so if you haven't read the old posts, they'll be easier to find now in the archives!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday 2 November

I'm really happy to be over here on blogspot since it's so much easier to use. I'm going to customize it and make it all cool and even repost some of the old posts, but for today, all I'm going to do is this update.

Yesterday was a very nice Sunday Soup. I made a roasted potato and mushroom soup. Does that sound weird? It was actually delicious. I got the idea from baked potato soup. I've been wanting to make baked potato soup (minus the bacon bits) for a while, but you need baking potatoes. It was too hard to convince myself to go buy baking potatoes when I still have ten pounds (or more) of The Southerner's home grown potatoes (red, white, Yukon gold). So I thought to myself, well, I could roast these potatoes and see what I get.

I roasted about eight cups of potatoes tossed with olive oil, garlic, and two roughly cut onions. When they were all golden brown, I added them to vegetable stock and let them simmer for a while. Then I used the hand blender to puree them and thickened it a bit with a white sauce made with Silk (soy milk) and butter and flour. After seasoning it, I was pleased with it, but it looked kind of like mushroom soup without the mushrooms so I sent The Southerner to the store on his bike (a task he loves!) to get some shrooms. I sliced brown mushrooms paper thin and added them to the soup with green onions and simmered it until they were tender. It was really good! I got the idea for slicing them so thin from a soup I had in Victoria last Friday when we went for the day.

The "event" was very nice. We had five guests overall, and The Irish One went back to her generous way, bringing fruit salad that everyone enjoyed. The soup was good, but the challah bread was the real hit. It's pretty amazing bread. I braided it and put it in pans this time, rather than on a cookie sheet and it puffed up and was really large and gorgeous. I tried to take the first loaf out too early though and it fell apart. Part of the reason it stuck was because last week my pastry brush died (fell apart) after making bread sticks. I sent The Southerner to get a pastry brush and he came back with the only thing they had, a rubber, high temp, basting brush. We're so not going to be roasting a chicken or basting a turkey so when I said, "No worries. We'll take it back next time we're at the store." he was out the door and on his bike like a flash! Anything to ride that bike makes him happy! He's a double star!

Anyway, yesterday I had to brush the egg wash on the loaves with a spoon and some of it leaked down around the edges and glued the bread loaf to the pan. I waited a bit longer with the second loaf and used a knife to loosen it and it came out beautifully. I'm eating some of that right now as cinammon toast. Yummm.... Ken liked it so much that he stopped by this morning and when I let him inside he said, "Got any more of that bread?"

Some neighbours are getting me a slab of stone for kneading bread on and so I'll be making them a couple of loaves of this as a thank you.

Anyway, that's about it here at Anthony Sunday Soup. I hope you like the new blog, and sorry to those of you who have RSS feed and have to change it, but I think this will be better!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome to the New Sunday Soup Blog

Hi Everyone. I couldn't get the "Sunday Soup" domain here originally, so I went with Live Journal, but they added advertising banners recently and it was really driving me crazy. Plus this is easier to use. so welcome! So now we're going with AnthonySundaySoup. That works!

More soon!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Books and Soup

I've been contemplating what soup to make all day. I've mostly done this in front of the woodstove while I read. I know...not much contemplation going on when I'm reading, but I'm reading a Diane Mott Davidson mystery and she's a caterer and her books have you never know.

I went to the farm gate today (once the summer season ends, instead of letting everyone into the farm where they have a big shed for produce, they just bring a bit out to the gate) to stock up on veggies. I got some lovely spinach, a butternut squash, some leeks, onions, and bok choy. I'm not sure that any of them will end up in the soup except maybe the onions. I've been craving a potato soup of some sort..which is good since we still have a lot of lovely potatoes that The Southerner grew. I make a killer potato leek soup (Julia Child's recipe), but I've already made that for SS and my goal is 52 different soups. I've already made 26 soups (including the one week that The Southerner made the soup), so I'm exactly half way there. I'm thinking tomorrow's soup should be special in some way. I guess I better get a cup of tea and sit in front of the stove and read some more! I wouldn't want to rush my decision. And then once I've done that I can ponder bread possibilities!