Sometimes I think I should just chuck this whole musing-whilst-I-blog deal and make this a recipe blog.  It’s not very consistent (but I have made a promise to myself and whatever blogging world is out there that I will regularly update, once I resurrect the Garden of Stillborn Blogs), and depending on a musing mood to strike makes it less so.

But I’m home now.  And cooking.  I’ve cooked twice in the four days I’ve been home, plus run errands galore.  And I’m not cooking from recipes.  Nope nope!  In my family, recipes have always been more like guidelines anyway (thank you, Pirates!)  In fact, one very distinct New Year’s Eve comes to mind: I indignantly yelled, from the kitchen to the family room, at my father who was on the other end of my sister’s phone call (supervising a church dance no less), “You didn’t tell me I’d have to add more onions!!!”  His response of, “Well, yeah!” was not unexpected, though frustrating.  Would it kill someone to make a note in the recipe book (don’t worry, I did)?  But I digress.  Even this sort of experimentation is not the type of cooking I am doing.

I am cooking from scratch.  Look-in-the-fridge-and-find-the-meal-hidden-in-these-ingredients scratch.

Raised as I was in the “recipes are guidelines” atmosphere and having a sister who attended culinary school have contributed to a wonderful knowledge of cooking and flavors that go together.  This is not to say my instincts are always right.  I still shudder to remember the lasagna noodle disaster that discouraged any scratch cooking for about three years.   Thankfully, that stage has passed.  Some of my experiments have been wildly successful (souvlaki with tzatziki sauce anyone?), others merely nice.  I’m beginning to learn to write out my recipes rather than just throwing it all in a pan and crossing my fingers.  I’ve lost a lot of tasty, healthy stir fries to the ether that way. It’s taking a bit of the joy out of scratch cooking, but at least I’m not loosing my favorite meals.

Thursday night was just such a night.  My school could do nothing right with food, except three or four dishes.  One was a genuine tomato soup, none of this “cream of” nonsense.  I sought to recreate it, and make it a little better (there weren’t enough vegetables).  I won!  I love cooking!  Somehow, out of nowhere, I managed to guess my way to a wonderfully acidic result (tomatoes, wine, and lemon were the base liquids . . . yum yum yum).  Half of us found it delicious, half of us felt it was more of a side-dish soup (I served it as the main meal).  Oh well.  I can live with that.  Everyone liked the taste, and I was able to adjust the recipe for an optional meat-lover’s version for the other half.

Unfortunately, I don’t do this very often.  I don’t have the time to scratch cook enough to maintain a blog.  Or even cook enough to post recipes that I used for the nights I do stand at the stove.  So . . . there go my dreams of doing a recipe blog.  But once in a while, between the methodically mad musings of me, I’ll probably post a recipe.  I love cooking from scratch.  It’s a delightfully edible form of creation.

I’m a fan of edible art.

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Chunky Tomato Soup Recipe by Joie (Feeds four)

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried lemon peel
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Italian spices
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh garlic
  • Sugar
  • Ground pepper
  • Peppercorns
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • White wine
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes with juices
  • OPT: 2 cups of cubed chicken

Cover the bottom of a soup pan with a thin layer of olive oil.  Add 1/4 tsp: garlic powder, dried lemon peel, and dried basil.  Add a shake or two of salt.

Cook in the oil/spices on medium-high heat to al dente: 2/3 cup chopped carrots, 2/3 cup chopped celery, and 1/2 cup rough chopped onions.  The celery and onions will cook fairly quickly, add them later than the carrots.

Add 1/4 cup: white wine and lemon juice.  Let boil for two minutes.

Add: 1 1/2 tsp italian spices, 2 1/2 tsp of fresh chopped basil, 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic.

Add the 2 cans diced tomatoes and juices, 2 TB of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp sugar, 5 peppercorns, and 1/2 tsp ground pepper.

Stir and let come to a boil.  Boil for 1 min without the lid, reduce heat to medium-low, add lid.  Let stew for 15 min.

OPT: Cook 2 cups of cubed chicken in the oil/spices first, then add in the veggies.  The recipe should feed five comfortably if the chicken is added.

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