Monday, October 31, 2011

water with various foods floating in it

Oh, doesn't that sound appealing? Unfortunately, that's about as accurate a description of the soup I made yesterday as I'm going to get. In the middle of the night, as I was cleaning the kitchen,* I decided to finally make the soup I had been thinking about. I needed to use up a bunch of spinach that was threatening to slimify (so not a word, I'm sure, but there it is). I sauteed several cloves of garlic in the bottom of the big soup pot. And, when I say saute here, I actually mean it. For once, I didn't burn the garlic. Then, I started adding spinach. I was afraid the garlic would turn on me and blacken, so I added some low-sodium vegetable broth also. I'm pretty sure I didn't let the spinach wilt enough before I added the rest of the broth. I also added a teakettle full of water and a can of black beans, a can of white beans and a can of butt peas (er, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, whatever).

That's it. Yes, I should have realized that the soup would be incredibly flavorless. Especially as I rinsed the beans. Perhaps I should have added that liquid. Hmm.

I thought I'd be extra fancy and blend some of the soup and pour it back in to thicken the soup, but it was still pretty watery. This morning, when I told Cardo, "Last night, I made soup! But, it's pretty tasteless," he responded, "Like usual?" Oy! I'd be more hurt, but he's right. I tend to seriously underflavor food, especially because I don't like a lot of salt.

I ate the soup, with some sourdough toast, for breakfast. I tried to make it better by adding a wedge of Laughing Cow garlic-something-or-other cheese as the soup was heating. As the cheese melted, it did make the soup cloudier. Overall, the soup is serviceable. I did get a decent serving of vegetables first thing today, and that's what I'm really focusing on. But, really, I'd like the food to taste more...tasty. Alluring, enticing, scrumdiddlyuptious. Something.

I shudder at the idea that I need a recipe to make soup. (Really, I just shuddered.) I feel like soup is simple and I should just be able to make it. So, what's the deal? Do I just need to be adding salt? I don't often cook with meat, so I don't have that to add, but I could try something with turkey bacon, perhaps, which I'll be using later this week anyhow.

Suggestions, please.

Also, while I'm thinking about it: I was lamenting to Cardo this morning that eating well is difficult. I totally get why we can so easily overindulge on salty and fatty foods -- they've got flavor! I have to make a conscious effort to give my body much-deserved healthy foods, especially fruits and especially especially vegetables. About one second after I finished moaning over my breakfast, Pic walks out of the back of the condo and cheerfully says, "It's easy to be healthy! I'm eating a pear!" Oh, to be six and to not have funky food issues.

Related: I'd like to write about things I really shouldn't write about here. For now, though, I'll say that I'm tired of hearing things along the lines of "People are overweight/obese/fat/whathaveyou because they are lazy/they don't like to exercise/they don't eat well/they deserve it." I'm obviously paraphrasing here.

I don't eat as well as I should and I probably don't exercise in the most effective manner (but, damnit, I do exercise daily, even if that only means I've walked), and I still have a lot of excess me that I'm not always (or ever) comfortable with. I'm making small changes that I hope will help in the long run, because I am thinking "long run" here, but I've long since grown weary of the assumptions. I'd like to write more on this, and solicit kindly-phrased advice, later, but the topic is on my mind right now, so I thought I'd bring it up.

For now, I'm considering my ever-evolving relationship with my body to be an important part of my own life learning. I'm working on improving myself and I'm trying to patiently see what changes result. I know there are easier solutions, but I'm trying to do what is right for me and quick fixes and I don't get along in the long run.

I feel like I should end with some upbeat affirmation: I'm bettering myself every day in every way. Or something. I'm trying here, but, geez, can it be lonely.


* Oh, cleaning the kitchen. There's an argument right there for never eating at home. It's kind of like cleaning laundry: an argument for going bare.


I'm thinking this post has been brought to you by the punctuation mark the comma.


Finally!: send along soup recipes please! Heavy on the vegetables, light on the meat. Grazie mille.


kate said...

This is one of our favorites. The original recipe calls for you to add pepperoni but I don't think that's necessary. It also says it's a crockpot recipe but I'm sure you could make it in a regular soup pot.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
•2 cans (one 28 ounces, one 14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
•2 cups water
•2 medium carrots, sliced
•1 medium onion, chopped
•1 medium zucchini, chopped
•2 teaspoons minced garlic
•2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
•1/2 teaspoon dried basil
•1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
•2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
•1-1/4 cups cooked elbow macaroni
•Shredded Parmesan cheese
•In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 10 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until vegetables are tender.
*Stir in the beans, spinach and macaroni. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 7 servings (2-3/4 quarts).

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/2 cups (calculated without cheese) equals 276 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 974 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, 15 g protein.

v said...

Thanks! I'll try this. And, this reminds me, I have another vegetable soup recipe from another friend. I'll try this sans slow-cooker and see how it goes. (I only used the thing twice in over two years and had to get rid of it for sanity's sake. Sometimes, I feel like I just need some kitchen appliances on loan.)

Kat said...

I am not going to submit a recipe per se, but some advice on flovoring soup without adding salt, fat, or meat.

Recently I have begun make a vegetable puree as a base for my soups then adding the broth and the "stuff that floats on top." I chop carrots, onion, garlic, and celery really fine (sometimes I even put it through my food processor). I sautee the veggies until they are really soft. I add broth (vegetable or chicken) and simmer until the broth is flavored by the veggies (I also use chicken or turkey peices, but you can omit that part if you like). Then I use my hand mixer to blend the broth. Then I add my chunky veggies, (meat if I am using) herbs and spices, etc.

v said...

Awesome, Kat. I was thinking to make my own broth (Katie, above, gave me a recipe). And, because we now have a very powerful blender, I was thinking to just puree the "leftover" vegetables and add that to the soup. (I hate the idea of throwing this stuff away and, if I can use it, I'm going to deprive the compost of it.)

I will figure this out! First, though, I have to eat the spinach/bean soup.