Sometimes when the weather is chilly and you have consumed 10,000 calories in the past two days thanks to Chicago Restaurant Week, all a girl wants is something easy on the tummy.
On lazy Sunday nights like these I like to make stew, chili or any big meal that will feed me throughout my busy week. If I could eat soup every day of my life, I think I would, especially in winter. Something about being able to drink my lunch appeals to my lazy-girl cooking-style. Canned soup however is ALWAYS lack luster, with too much salt and not enough flavor. Assuming you have some sort of a blender, soup is one of the easiest things to make and most difficult things to screw up. It’s all getting blended together in the end, so mistakes are easily covered. Why settle for something better used in an Andy Warhol painting than eaten?
Below, find the recipe for the delicious pot of potato-brocolli soup (adapted from here) that is now chilling in my fridge.
I live about twenty minutes from Great Lakes Naval Base. This means that train rides into Chicago are made much more entertaining on weekends when all the navy boys ride down to the city to escape training and return drunk. Usually, we treat these experiences like an amusing side show, but occasionally there is some audience participation.
(Such as the lovely winter day a few years ago that began with two friends and I going to Millennium Park. Alas all the seats on the train were filled. Six gentlmen in uniform saw our stuggled and invite us to sit with them. We returned their hosptality by inviting three of them to go ice skating with us. It was an interesting day where we learned about life on a military base and the regulations for courting a woman while representing the United States Navy. Some of the rules included never letting her walk near the street and not holding hands but rather linking arms. Who says chilvary is dead? The day ended with us walking through the train station wearing their white hats).
The best part about cooking, besides eating, is being able to say, “Hell yeah I made that.” I love cooking with people and for people. Human naturally bond over food because it carries a lot of tradition and sentiment. Recipes travel down from generation to generation and become representations of heritage. This is not one of those meaningful recipes, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. It’s a party staple that guests swoon over.
There are certain food that are so good you know they have to be more a product of chemicals than nature, but you don’t care. You also know these foods are more likely to make a home in your thighs than stomach, but you still don’t care. Like Oreos, these food can turn a day around. There’s an Oreo commercial on TV right now with a little boy waking his dad up for an Oreo as the clock strikes midnight on Father’s Day. It good because it is simple, and Oreo has made itself a symbol of the happy, nuclear American family.
When I lived in London my favorite place to spend an afternoon was in a cafe called Sacred. They served the most amazing organic coffee imported form New Zealand. All it needed to go with it was a good book and one of their spinach and feta muffins. It was always the prefect combination. When I returned to the states I scoured in internet to find a recipe to replicate theri savory muffins. After several attempts I gave up until I made these spinach, roated red pepper and feta muffins. They balance the saltiness of the cheese and veggies with the sweetness of the muffin base. My sous chef, Allison Mickel, and I enjoyed them with a bowl of soup, but you could devour these on their own.