Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How I Make Soup

My favorite recipe at the moment is Cheesy Asparagus Soup.  I use this one: The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup from Averiecooks.com.  I found it through a google search...I have not read any of the other posts on the blog.  Broccoli and Asparagus are both dark green, and I like to cook meals and add foods to meals based on color.  So, clearly they are inter-mixable.

Josh and I don't like asparagus normally, but as a good friend taught me once, all gross vegetables are good if you cover them in cheese.  Enter Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan. Right now, asparagus is in season and locally grown, so it is as fresh and as cheap as you can get food, which means we should eat it, even if it's not our favorite.  It's only around for a month or so anyways.

The recipe has you make a roux with butter, flour and fat free half and half.  WHAAT?  I never read that when I cooked it, I don't ever have half and half.  But fat free?  What IS that?  How can that be? Is it more like half skim milk half water?  Let me tell you, I make this better.  Take your two cup liquid measure cup and add sour cream and plain yogurt.  Or just one of those.  I mix them until I get one cup of thick creams then pour in one cup of milk and mix it together.  You could do just half a cup of sour cream.  Or probably cream cheese.  Just use a white delicious full fat food. 

Okay back up.  So sorry.  I add two cups chicken broth to the butter and flour roux (if you want to know how to make a roux, you should probably google or youtube it), THEN add the two cups of the white creamy liquid milk.  For the broth, I happen to have fresh broth on hand I made a few days ago.  But I would do two cups hot water with two bouillon cubes dissolved in, and be very careful how much salt I add in later.

In the recipe, the author has you cook the onions and garlic and then set them aside.  I don't have that much room or dishes to do that.  I just cook the onions and garlic in the 1/4 c butter I use to make the roux and just keep the onions there as part of it all.  I can't see a difference.  Once all the liquid is added, it is boiled/simmered for 20 min.  I don't know why.   I do it so that I can take the time to wash all the dishes I made dirty to get to this step and cut up the vegetables.  I would not have thought to add carrots to a soup like this.  Carrots are orange and cheese is orange...too much color similarity.  But it adds a nice texture change to the soup and a little sweetness.  I added red pepper to the onions because I had it and needed to use it up.  I didn't like it, but I don't really like bell peppers in soups.  I would have added a delicious jalapeno but I didn't want to make it too spicy for Lilly.

You add all the veggies and spices and boil it for another 20 min.  I don't think you should skip the spices for this soup.  The recipe suggests paprika and dried mustard powder.  It's very good.  In the future I might add cumin too, or a curry powder.  Be careful about the salt though.  Some chicken broths are very salty and cheese (which hasn't even been added yet) is also salty.  For this I added just less than a full teaspoon.

Cheese.  I pick yellow cheddar, but I like cheddar cheese for soups.  Josh's mom brought us a great smoked cheddar cheese that I added and it provided a nice smokey flavor to the soup.  Just shredd it and add it and stir and then serve the soup when you are ready.  I served it with tiny steaks that were 2$ at the grocery store.  Meat on the side!

Cheese Story:  The other morning I got to sleep in!  Josh got up with Lilly and I stayed in bed.  Lilly came in and brought me the unopened package of smoked cheese.  I thought Josh gave it to her as a surprise for me, so I opened it and shared it with her in bed.  I called Josh in, and he was soo surprised! Where did the cheese come from?!?  Apparently it was all Lilly's idea, and she also learned how to open and close the fridge.

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