Soup’s On

Before moving to Washington, I didn’t eat soup very much. I thought it was time consuming, and not worth the effort to prepare ingredients. My mother makes a mean minestrone, but I am now convinced that it took me moving away from my home with all of my mom’s wonderful baking and cooking that actually inspired me to start cooking things I had never before cooked. Aside from mom’s minestrone, I would order clam chowder in a bread bowl when visiting Monterey, San Francisco, or some other city close to the Pacific Ocean. Other than that, I pretty much avoided the stuff. Now that I live in a city where blustery days are quite common, my soup consumption has increased exponentially.

It all started when my friend flew up from San Jose last month for Halloween weekend.She wanted to make some chicken noodle soup, so when she arrived at my place on Friday night, that was the first thing we did. We chopped veggies and meat, put it all in a pot with some chicken broth, stirred it from time to time, and waited about half an hour. The soup was pretty delicious and warmed us through. Since that day, I have taken on several more soups, both in the crock pot and on the stove top. That chicken noodle was just the beginning. It has now been followed by:

Out of these six soups, my favorites are the Herbed Potato Soup, and the Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup. The first one was the main dish for one of my weekly Wednesday Night potluck dinners with some girls on my AmeriCorps team, and the potato soup just sounded good on Friday. The Wild Rice and Turkey Soup was pretty good, and I am glad that my father shares that opinion, as he had some for a “birthday meal” a couple of days after his actual birthday when he and my mom came to visit over Veteran’s Day weekend. The Vegetarian Chili was also part of a Wednesday night dinner, and the Basil Ravioli Soup I made tonight was an adaptation from a recipe in an  old Joy of Cooking magazine one of my coworkers gave to me.

The soups are a great contrast to the cold, rainy weather outside. There’s only one problem with them: one batch makes a lot of soup. If I’m not having people over to help it eat, that means I’ve got meals taken care of for 2-3 days, lunch and dinner. My roommate helps me out some, but there’s still more soup than I know what to do with. I could make half recipes, freeze some of it (as I did for the first time tonight), or have company over more often. It is rather convenient to have ready meals when I come home from work, but I’m not a huge fan of eating the same meal more than two times in a week. Even after all these years, I’m still trying to figure out how to cook for one. Maybe I need to have dinner parties more often.