Sunday, June 7, 2015

Soup Challenge

It's taken over a month, but I finally feel like I've got my kitchen groove back.
Living alone this past year while in school I often had a bare kitchen. I love cooking, but I didn't have the time while writing my thesis. At Christmas break I thought maybe trying to make large batches and freezing portions might be a way to avoid those busy weeks where I don't have time for cooking and therefor eat out. Though well-intentioned, that plan didn't work out.

So the day before yesterday, feeling like I had nothing to eat in the house, I gave myself a what's-in-my-kitchen soup challenge. Kitchen Sink soups are great and I think I rose to the challenge quite well.

Food politics, as I call it, has been an interest of mine since I moved out in undergrad. Eating local in an environmentally sustainable way, but also in a way that recognizes that the cost of organic foods are not within everyone's reach. I currently live in a non-market rental situation in an expensive neighbourhood so my grocery store tends to be pricey. I prioritize what I buy organic using the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists (apples are the main thing I buy organic). A magazine article I read in 2009 even got me thinking about food waste beyond discovering something past its prime in the back of the fridge, but about the fact that many foods are still edible past their Best Before date.

I feel like I normally waste little food. I usually make trips to the grocery several times a week and buy only what I need for meals I have in mind. But with school and living alone this year, I've been a pretty bad offender. I've felt better about my food waste now that my building has compost because it's returning to the earth, but still (I'd been carting it to school in an old salad box to compost there during the fall term).

So what were the results of my kitchen sink soup challenge?

Chicken Soup-inspired Vegetable Soup
~3/4 of a red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3+ stalks of left over, wilted celery, including leaves, chopped
half of a leftover zucchini, sliced
~1 bunch of parsley
~1 cup of frozen peas
1 carrot, peeled and diced
~1/4 tsp each of thyme, sage, rosemary
~ 1 tsp poultry seasoning
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Chicken stock is usually my go-to for soups, but I didn't have any stock on hand. Instead I used of spices that google said are used in chicken soup, before remembering that I have poultry seasoning. I sautéed the onion and garlic in butter before adding the celery. After adding the other vegetables, I added enough water so that they were just covered, about two cups. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and correct spices as needed.

I blended the soup. To serve, I stirred in one spoonful of Greek yogurt to give it a creamy taste.


I think this soup challenge re-ignited my passion for cooking; now that I'm done school and it's not a functional chore, I can enjoy it again. Last night I made a Niçoise-ish salad for dinner (didn't have eggs), and tonight I think I'm going to try my hand at making a paella because I saw mussels were on sale for $2.50/dozen.

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