Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guest Post-- Of Soup and Storms

Stacy’s “Souper Sundays” are legendary. That all changed when Superstorm Sandy came to town. With her home destroyed and her family packed into her dad’s house, she had a lot of time to think about the connections between food, family, and home. She will have her first Souper Sunday since the storm next month.

Regardless of my mood or mental state, I can say with certainty that I truly love my family, not just the crazy blood relatives, but my extended family of neighbors and friends that prove time after time they are the stuff that holds my head on my shoulders. There was no truer test of this than the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. While my husband and I shifted through the rubble that was now our life, trying to pick up the pieces and make things normal again, my entire family was knee deep in the literal muck with us, clearing out our house and holding our lives together. As the new normal set in, it became important to me to re-establish old traditions, making whatever house we landed in a home. Being from a huge Italian family, those traditions all include food. Massive amounts of food.

When I have a gathering, it is never small. I mean, who do you cut out? The simple solution is to invite them all. And, when you are not a gazillionaire and you want to actually socialize with your guests, what the heck do you serve that doesn’t have you glued to a stove or grill? Well, for me, the answer became soup. And, so began a few years ago Souper Sunday. I make several different kinds of soup, cut up some bread, throw some bowls on the counter and we have a no frills hell of a time. And, I am pretty damn good at it, If I do say so myself. My soups are YUMMY.

Nearly a year after the storm, I unpacked a nice big green soup pot a friend gave to me and decided it was time to soup again. As a small thank you for the tremendous show of love, support, gift cards, baked goods, holiday ornaments and shoulders to cry on, I had some of the office ladies over to my house last weekend for our first Souper Sunday of 2014. Sometimes there is nothing better than having an all female crowd pack the house and this was no exception. I gotta say, I truly love these women. Regardless of career path, home town, fashion sense or marital status, we just gel. Souper Sunday was a prime example. And, while we bitched and drank and laughed and yelled, we ate soup. A LOT of soup.

I am going to try my best to spell out for you my favorite recipe of the day, maybe even give it a name. You see, I am not one for the order and precision required for baking and complicated meals. Cooking for me is a giant experiment that can always be fixed with the right amount of seasoning. Here is the way I made this particular soup it most recently, cannot say it was the same the time before. Be daring, throw away the measuring cups and check this out:

Super awesome chicken soup with coconut milk:

·         2 cups-ish of cooked chicken (I cannot stand looking at raw meat)
·         veggie broth (or chicken broth) – one of those giant cans should do it
·         1 can of coconut milk – whatever the standard size is they come in, similar to a can of veggies
·         2 sweet potatos  - I don’t peel any vegetables but you may want to
·         Normal size onion – white or yellow, never tried red
·         A big can of diced tomatoes – I used fire roasted this time
·         A bag of frozen corn
·         Some little grape/cherry tomatoes. I prefer the yellow ones and I like the number 12 so that is how many I halved and threw it
·         Curry power
·         Cumin
·         Fresh Cilantro
·         Lime
·         Olive Oil

I don’t measure so first step, get a decent size soup pot and coat bottom with olive oil. Dump in about a teaspoon of curry or chili powder and the same amount of dried cumin and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then add the veggies all diced – onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes and let them cook for a few minutes. Shred chicken and throw it in with the corn, diced tomatoes and broth and let it simmer/boil under fresh veggies are edibly soft. Lower heat and add coconut milk. Do not let boil. If you are a messy cook like me, you should probably just do this before you are ready to serve.  Ladle into bowls and top with some cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Yeah I said squeeze. Isn’t that “Souper?”

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the two vegetarian soups you made for the high maintenance souper (me). You both rock!!!