Fall Soup


I wrote this a few weeks back to go with some pictures that are now on flickr. That orange-y soup and the picture of cheese? They go with this story

I improvised a fantastic soup the other day. I wanted something homemade, and something I could make in one (small) pan. What I really wanted was some hot soup. Not ramen, not hot and sour, not local. I wanted my mom’s potato-cheese soup. I had everything I’d need except for milk and potatoes. Our local supermarket likely wouldn’t have potatoes and they’re not everyday food here, so are a bit spendy.

There are, though…

Wait, I have to interrupt, I’m watching the most surreal thing on TV just now. It’s a game show, sort-of, and a woman was 1st challenged to hula hoop 8 hoops all lashed together while standing on a 20 foot (or so) tall podium. She did that, then, hula hooped in a large circle, hopping on one leg, and then, while hooping, picked up (off the ground) 3 razor blades and 5 nails, and now she hula hooping while also cutting out one of those Chinese cut-out-designs from red paper. It’s a butterfly. She folded the paper and cut out a string of butterflies while hula hooping folks. Every one of these activities was done to edge-of-your-seat type music. Maybe it’s a “weird talents” type show? There’s a new guy on and so far, All I can see that he can do is pour water from one glass into another. I’ll keep you posted.

There are, though, street venders selling roasted yams (or sweet potatoes) on nearly every corner in fall. So Jesse went out and got me a few of those and I went to work. Yam and Cheese soup doesn’t have the same ring, but I figured it would taste very autumn-y.

Oh my. there’s a man on TV squirting water out of his eyes and putting out candles with it. It’s coming from his tear duct that you can see there on the inside of your eye. He put out 12 pillar candles. It was…kind of gross.

OK, um, soup. You know what? I’m losing steam here with my soup story! The TV show is far more interesting, and I’ll bet if you were here next to me and I was telling you about my soup, you say “mmhm” a lot and then when I finished and said, “So what do you think?”, you’d say, “Huh? Yeah, potatoes sound great.”

So first I cut up a bit of bacon, browned that, and added some onion and garlic. It was important to let this stage brown a bit, as I wasn’t using stock and the flavor of some browned onion goes a long way. After a little, I added some cold water to the hot pan and scraped up all the brown stuff that had stuck to the bottom of the pan. I halved my roasted yams and scraped out the insides. This went in the soup. I then cut up only the skin of one half a yam and put it in the soup, because after that I realized the skin was really dirty. At home I’d have spread butter on the skin and then eaten it, but here I tossed it.

If you’re wondering about the show, some kid played the drums and sang at the same time and another did what I must assume was a comedy routine. But I think some strange stuff will be on after a commercial, because they showed a man standing in front of a row of maybe 20 small bowls with an egg yolk in each.

Can you pay attention to my story now? Uh…soup…browned…yam, right. So here’s where I stepped back and let it bubble for awhile (bubble, bubble), adding a lot of salt and pepper as they are the only spices we have so far. When it had cooked long enough that it tasted good (10 minutes?), I turned it off and added some grated “Tasty Cheese” (what? That’s what it’s called). Last in was some chopped up fresh parsley that I’d gotten on a whim for some pasta that was never made.

It was put in bowls, topped with more cheese and Jesse said it was delicious. So did I.

And the TV show must’ve ended because the news came on. I think it’s going to rain in Beijing.


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