National Soup Month started with a bang on New Year’s Day — lentil, enlivened with a couple hot Italian sausages from our boutique sausage outlet here. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe, doubling the lentils because I like a lentil soup you can stand a spoon in.
It was great. Really good, really flavorful and it had that wonderful lentil-soup benefit, which is to say, it was as pleasant leaving the body as it was entering it, and let’s speak no more of that, shall we?
But it’s hard to go wrong with lentils. I used the rest of the bag on a Madha Jaffrey lentil-and-Basmati-rice recipe, with lots of cardamom. Yum.
Pot No. 2 was tomato. Here’s the problem with tomato soup: You want it when the weather’s cold, but then you can’t get really good fresh tomatoes, and I’m sorry, but it’s taken me this long to admit that I’m not a canner and likely never will be. Fortunately, modern food processing has taken care of that, and I was able to make a very nice cream-of soup using the Cook’s Illustrated master recipe from one of my Christmas cookbooks. I believe I’ve mentioned before that my husband once worked at a northwestern Ohio factory run by the company that came up with the whole idea of National Soup Month. He saw too much there, and won’t touch anything made by them, and as their tomato is a mainstay, it means he doesn’t get too much tomato soup. He really liked this one. You can eat it with a grilled cheese sandwich, or just some cheesy croutons.
(I have to say at this point that other than the stockpot, the kitchen utensil that gets used more than anything else during National Soup Month is my immersion blender. It really is one of those things where once you get it, you wonder how you lived without it. Also, you drink way more smoothies.)
Pot No. 3 was a cream of cauliflower, only with no cream. Milk of cauliflower doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? I used this recipe, because it allowed me to throw a couple of potatoes in there, and I’m always looking for a way to use up the last couple of potatoes in a bag. It came out nice and thick and rich-tasting, but like many great soups, wasn’t particularly rich. It was, however, a bit farty. Not enough to not make it worth eating, but, y’know, be advised.
The final pot of the fortnight was spicy sweet potato, and the closest thing to a disappointment so far. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping for. The Russell Street Deli here in Detroit makes a sweet potato bisque that makes you want to lick the bowl. I once asked the waiter what the secret was, and he said, “Oh, those North African spices,” but couldn’t really elaborate. I will continue my search for its equal.
Tonight, at the fulcrum of the month, it’s chili. And I’m open to suggestions for the second half.
I’ve been unaware of the so-called Sandy Hook Truthers in all but the vaguest sense of the term. I mean, of course there are people who believe that Evil President Muslim somehow ordered the execution of 28 people so HE COULD TAKE OUR GUNS!!!!!!, but you know, I’ve made my peace with that. Crazy is just part of the landscape, and while I’m sorry this is happening, I get it.
This, however, is another kettle of fish. Maybe J.C. or Basset will weigh in on this new wrinkle in local news — the local lunatic who feeds the Crazy under the nominal cloak of respectability. In many ways, l.l. Charlie LeDuff does the same thing here, only without the paranoia, only the egomania. Is this a new Fox consultant thing? I’m a little baffled. (This breed — the super-conservative TV reporter — is quite common otherwise, in my experience. So much for the liberal media.)
We need a palate-cleanser to close out Hump Day. The Martin Luther insult generator, hell yeah. I bet even Tim Goeglein would approve.
Happy Wednesday, all.