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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Ahhhhh!

I'm home now after spending many hours at school sitting in an uncomfortable chair. When I finally started daydreaming about being at home in my pajamas, eating a ginormous bowl of pasta, I knew it was time to leave. So now I'm sitting at home, in my pajamas, eating a ginormous bowl of pasta. I thought this would be the perfect time to answer E. McPan's question on soup. But not before I take a minute to extol the virtues of a good bowl of pasta.

I love pasta. Buttered noodles, macaroni and cheese, linguini and clams, spaghetti - doesn't matter. I don't care what anyone says about carbs, there's no greater comfort food than a good bowl of pasta. I would always get to eat macaroni when my parents left me with a babysitter - it was a treat, though I'm not quite sure why, because we ate pasta pretty regularly anyway. But then, most kids could live on macaroni. Or at least mine could. So, as I enjoy my bowl of shell pasta, with lots of real butter and freshly grated parmesan, I'll also write about soup - one of my other great loves in the food world.


E asks if I cook soup. Indeed, I do! It's so hard to choose a favorite soup, but if I had to pick, I would say my specialty is Barley Beef Soup. The base recipe is straight out of the Better Homes and Gardens "New" Cook Book on p. 464. You know - that red and white checkered cookbook that pretty much everyone has in their kitchen.* I typically add beef broth (instead of just bouillon), and I use bouillon that my mom sends me from Germany. Even though you can buy Knorr beef bouillon in the states, it isn't the same. I use a better cut of meat, don't add potatoes (they get too mushy - especially when you freeze the soup), and I don't like to use frozen vegetables. Fresh zucchini, green beans, celery, and lots of carrots. When I say I use this as the base recipe, it's because I really only use it as an ingredient list from which to deviate. I add more of everything than they say and season by taste. I always make this in huge batches and freeze it in gallon zip-lock bags.


I also make an excellent lentil soup (Base recipe on p. 473), wild rice and mushroom (p. 474), and potato leek (a different cookbook).


My other favorite doesn't come from a cookbook - it's my mom's recipe for French Onion Soup. Lots of onions sauteed in lots of butter, then simmered in water with beef bouillon and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Topped with homemade croutons and a decent swiss cheese, and then put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Served with fresh baked bread. Can you believe that no one else in my family likes this soup?!! So I rarely make it. Vanilla Gorilla can vouch for the tragedy of this.


The pasta is now long gone, so excuse me while I spend an hour or two detailing what's wrong with our state's intestacy law. And now I'm really hungry. For soup.

*Except me. I didn't have it until I married Mr. Q - though it was appropriated from his apartment long before we actually married. If we ever divorced, I would have to buy him a new copy because this copy is so marked up with various post-it flags and notations on how to improve recipes, that it would take me too long to re-do. Better to just remain married. If it's not on your shelf - go out and get one - it's an excellent all-purpose cookbook.

ps - if this shows up all messed up, it is NOT MY FAULT. I have no idea what Blogger is doing with my fonts and spacing!

Comments:
We have TWO of those cookbooks!! My partner (we're not married, and aren't getting married) had one before we moved in together, and brought it over one day to cook for my kids and I, and left it at my house. I comandeered it, and instead of arguing, he just bought himself a new one. now we have 2! and we refer to it constantly.
 
well I can't stand lentil soup (and I had to eat more than my fair share growing up, as it is my mother's favorite - blech). But I think I want a bowl of that french onion soup right now. Alas, the library calls.
 
I'm always happy to cook up a big batch of soup for friends. And you all know that after July, I'll be headed to DC, if you're ever in the area....

I promise I won't make lentil soup for you, Sciolism.
 
Yes, I will personally vouch for LQ's French Onion soup! In fact, thinking about it has made me so hungry I think I am going to cry.
 
Yay soup! I am SOOO hungry right now and it's a cold and damp day today. My stomach just growled really loud. People are looking at me.
 
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