Twenty/20: Soup

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Look everyone! Free advertising for Progresso! (c)2013 Reese M.

Day 12: Soup

My Impression:

I’ve been looking forward to this section for some time now. I’ve had a long head-over-heels love affair with soup. It can be simple or complex – take all day to prepare or be ready in minutes. I’m a big believer in the concept of soup-as-a-meal. It’s one of my very favorite things.

Ruhlman agrees, of course, about the endless possibilities and loveliness of soups. Following his now familiar format, he dives into the nitty-gritty of different types of soups, breaking down the components in an easy to follow way. He even has a discussion of what part garnishes play in different types of soups. It pulls in some of the lessons from the other sections beautifully – highlighting Think, Water and Acid:

[Soups] nourish us by capturing all the nutrients in the ingredients and transferring them to us spoonful by spoonful down to the last swipe of a crust of bread. 

What makes this happen is the magic of water, its ability to extract flavor and nourishment and disperse them throughout the soup, to carry any garnish, and to receive any seasoning. 

…The most important skill in making delicious soups of any kind is learning how to evaluate a soup. Think about it. Taste it, and think some more.

…Ask yourself if the soup would benefit from a little acidity. (p. 216 – bold for emphasis is my own)

It’s probably just a trait of mine to read passages like that and get all giddy about the way the material ties together. I’m a nerd, what can I say? Still, it’s nice to have passages that call back to lessons from earlier sections. Makes for a very “Hey! I am learning something!” moment. :)

Recipe: Sweet Bell Pepper Soup

Oh my goodness, you guys. This turned out so well, I can tell you that it will go into my regular rotation for soup nights. It is a fairly simple preparation, and it was ready in no time. Just a few notes:

The recipe called for the soup to be blended in a blender, but I elected to use my wand blender in the pot. It worked out just fine.

The recipe also called for it to be strained, which I did at first, but ended up not straining the second half of the batch. Call it a personal preference, but my husband and I actually didn’t mind that the soup had a bit of texture to it. I did taste the strained part first, and it was smooth and heavenly – so either way is superb.  Here’s the lovely photo of tonight’s meal:

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Tonight’s meal – easily a highlight of the book. YUM. (c)2013 Reese M.



Categories: Cooking, Foodie, Twenty/20

4 replies

  1. After reading your blog, I would like some soup. I would like the cookbook. Yum-uh-ummm

  2. I’m a soup lover. I have soup for lunch most days — even in our hot, humid summers. Occasionally I’ll have a cold soup, but I’m not as fond of them as hot soups.

    I don’t recall exactly when I started to learn about cooking as opposed to just following recipes (though I still follow recipes). Learning about cooking has made a huge difference in what comes out of my kitchen. I still follow recipes, but it’s more so I don’t forget something than anything else.

    • Interesting point re: following recipes vs. learning about cooking. You’re right, when I began to learn about cooking – the nuts and bolts of why things cooked in the way that they do – there was indeed a difference in what “came out of my kitchen”. With this book, I feel like I’m either dusting off old lessons, expanding on the old lessons, or learning new things entirely.

      And yes, I’m a soup lover from way back. I’m not sure I’d eat a hot soup in the height of summer humidity (if Northern California had humidity to speak of), but I do love it. It’s one of my most favorite comfort foods. :)

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