Friday, October 31, 2014

The Stovetop Cooking Challenge: Soup Edition

I haven't hit my stovetop as hard over the past couple of weeks as I did when I first moved into my oven-less apartment because of my economical culinary discovery in...(ince ince ince)...SOUP!

Furealz, soup is the bee's knees. I like soup for the same reason I like cereal, salad and frozen yogurt: a serving of each takes a long time to finish and there's variety in each bite. Will I get a noodle in this spoonful or just a piece of celery? (Poll: does celery contribute anything to soup?)

I've been trying to make a different soup every two weeks. They've gotten progressively better since the first episode because I cheated and started doing my cooking in my parents' kitchen. I haven't touched their oven though so the principle of the stovetop cooking challenge remains intact.

Here's what I've been cooking up:

Week 1 - way back in September (time flies when you're single and making soup in your spare time)

Still an amateur in the post-work grocery scene below 14th Street, I head to the Union Square Trader Joe's to buy soup makings: chicken broth, carrots, celery, and chickpeas. I could've easily found such basics at Key Food but I'm hungry for a free sample and Chelsea Market wasn't handing out the ravioli I usually stop for after work. I enter TJ's and do an initial scout for cute boys but there are none so I put my bitchy resting face on and nudge my way through the crowd. After I down a pumpkin-themed free sample, I get my veggies and scan the soup aisle for chicken stock. They're all out of chicken stock and I almost cry because I'm hangry. I settle on vegetable broth and get in line.

Two hours later, my soup looks pretty unappetizing. It lacks the jaundice of chicken stock and instead has a murkiness that can only be attributed to ... I don't even know what. It's exactly the type of soup I imagine to have been served at Soviet prisoner camps. In a Slavic spirit, I toast a slice of rye bread and use it to soak up my soup.

I add some steamed spinach the next night to give it some flavor, if not a bit of color. It resembles a bowel movement even more so than it did before.

Week 2 - October (time still flies when you're still single and making soup at night)

I've found the most cost-effective and time-saving place to grocery shop: my parents' kitchen. It even has a personal shopper service that lets you put in a request for say, almond butter a few days ahead of time, and it'll be waiting for you on the counter upon arrival. Huzzah.

I do what I always do right when I walk into my parents' apartment, which is scan the contents of the refrigerator. This time I have a mission other than snacking: to find soup ingredients. My mom has an offensive amount of kale taking over the vegetable drawer that's on the verge of going bad, so I resolve to use it in my recipe. She has more chicken stock in her pantry than Trader Joe's did (one carton), as well as cans of cannellini beans and crushed tomatoes. I combine it all with the vegetable equivalent of basic bitches, carrots and celery, in a pot and let it simmer. This soup tastes absolutely delicious compared to the first one, probably because I used a Whole Foods recipe and not one of my own imagination.

Next soups on the stovetop include curried lentil, chicken noodle, and butternut squash because who doesn't love to eat seasonal?

No comments:

Post a Comment