The title of this blog is not an imaginative little quip that will tie in later and make you have an ah-ha moment. It isn't an analogy or metaphor about writing or life. Mostly because, this blog is actually about vegetable soup. Homemade vegetable soup, to be exact. The reason for this is, moments ago, I got up to fetch a pair of scissors and ended up making a batch of veggie soup. Don't ask how I detoured over to the stove and started cooking whilst on a mission for the magic, handheld paper cutters. My mind works in odd ways.
Truth: there is nothing better than homemade vegetable soup.
Well, except homemade baked goods, like pies, cakes, cookies and...if I don't stop here I'll end up not finishing this blog and slipping into a diabetic coma instead. The thing about homemade vegetable soup is that it's one of the easiest dishes to serve up. Oh, I don't mean putting it in a bowl with a spoon and crackers. I mean making it.
First, there are only two steps.
Step one: bring ten cups of water to a boil and four bouillon cubes.
(I use vegetarian chicken bouillon cubes, which means there isn't actually any poultry in them. They are fairly tasty. Side note - I find it weird when people use real chicken stock in vegetable soup. I mean, it's VEGETABLE soup, for crying in the...well, soup.)
Step two: dump whatever else you want into the pot and boil until cooked.
Some more skeptical folks might scoff at this recipe. Mostly because, it isn't a recipe at all. But there are some things in life that you don't need to follow a guideline for. Making vegetable soup is one of them. Another one is sex, which has nothing to do with this blog. It could, but the chances of me crossing lines, offending people and embarrassing myself would sky rocket and, while I enjoy doing those things, I feel I should try to stay on target tonight.
Where were we? Oh, right, the guideline for what we don't need guidelines for.
The reason we don't need a recipe or a guideline is because no matter what you put into that pot, it's going to be good. Well, if you use your common sense. There are a few hard and fast veggies that simply belong in this kind of soup. For one, onions. You will need one of these and it will need to be diced. It might look like a lot on the cutting board, but once it's in the water and boiled down, you won't notice. This adds flavour. Something we all enjoy. Two other things I put into my soup as the base of the stock are carrots and celery, also for flavour.
From here, I'm much like Pocahontas. I go wherever the wind takes me.
In the soup I made tonight, I tossed in green and orange pepper, zucchini, cauliflower and mushrooms. I would have put broccoli in, but mine had gone bad, much to my annoyance. Broccoli and cauliflower don't seem to make an appearance in a lot of people's soups unless they are creamy. This, my friends, is a shame, because these best veggie buds, who always seem to go hand-in-hand, are simply delightful in a clear broth soup.
When selecting vegetables for your soup, try to think outside the box. There are a plethora of tasty veggies out there, and a lot of them seem to get neglected. In the past, I've put potatoes, corn, peas, sugar snaps, radishes, leeks, okra, asparagus, gai lan, bok choy, bean sprouts, tomatoes and even eggplant in my soups. Variety is the spice of life, and not just in the bedroom.
Honestly, when choosing what to put in the pot, I only have one rule. Make it pretty. The key to a fantastic soup, is colour. If you keep it vibrant and interesting, your tongue will thank you. And I'm not only talking about when you're slicing them up on the cutting board. It is pertinent that you keep an eye on them while they are simmering in the pot. If you overcook your veggies, they will lose their colour and crunchiness, which means their taste will suffer.
The truth is, most people do not know how to cook their vegetables. Not just in soups, but in stir frys, stews, and even when steaming and roasting them. Personally, I think this is why a lot of people don't like vegetables, because they are cooking them into nothing, taking away the colour, crunch and taste, not to mention those oh-so-important vitamins.
Once you have the vegetables boiled for a very short amount of time, like fifteen minutes, if that, you can add a little something extra to bump the calories up a bit. Tonight, I added lentils, because legumes are our friends, and a bit of orzo, which is a pasta that goes very nice in soups. I don't recommend a lot of pasta, but go wild on the beans, they are an excellent source of protein. My most favoured legume to put in soup is actually chickpeas. I know, I know. When we think chickpea we think hummus, but this little bud of awesomeness is perfection in vegetable soup, and salads too, actually.
In the end, the beauty to homemade vegetable soup is that you can use whatever you find in your fridge. Toss it in a pot. Bring it to a boil. And, just like that, you're a domestic diva. Or something like that.