The occasional observations of Carolyn Kephart, writer

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Beautiful Soup

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup! ~Alice in Wonderland

"You know, you really shouldn't take this secret to your grave." 

Of the many compliments I've received from everyone who's ever tried my homemade tomato soup, that one resonated most. While the Now is with me I'd like to make the following contribution to global happiness. Fiction fades, but everyone eats.

Like so many other American children I grew up on Campbell's tomato soup, only to avoid it in adulthood because my by-then experienced and impatient tastebuds craved something more authentic. One lucky day several years ago I managed to concoct my own version. Here are the instructions, step by step. Serves four or thereabouts. 

Ten-Minute Tomato Soup

1. In a large stainless saucepan make a roux by whisking over medium heat two or three tablespoons of butter with a quarter cup of flour, gradually adding a cup or so of milk. A few lumps won't matter.

2. Microwave a chicken bouillon cube in a half cup of water for a half a minute and stir it into the roux.

3. Dump in two cans of  stewed tomatoes. I've always used plain, not Italian or Mexican, but someday I might go wild and give them a try.

4. Smooth everything to a bisque using a hand blender. Add a bit more milk, or half and half if you like it richer (I do). Heat to a boil and serve.

That's it. 

Grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty much mandatory accompaniments. I make mine just the way I remember them from my time as a kid, only I use Cabot Sharp instead of Kraft Singles, real butter instead of margarine, and homemade bread instead of Wonder. Regarding the bread, I can't recommend enough the fabulous artisan no-knead recipe from King Arthur Flour, which I discovered only recently and deeply wish I'd known about all those sticky, messy, laborious ages ago.

Bon appetit!

Roses, Gems, and the Grace of a Dancer

Note to self: blog more. It's been an unconscionable while since your last post, and you always have some random observation to make that someone will chance to read and hopefully enjoy.

As I noted on Facebook today: April is National Poetry Month, but has only been so since 1996; T. S. Eliot can't be blamed for deeming it the cruellest month in 1922. For me, poetry is the breath of life, and I'd never have become a writer without having grown up amid the beauty of words perfectly woven. I'll celebrate with this haiku since my nickname is Kari, and in Japan kari is the name for wild geese, which symbolize transience. Yosa Buson lived from 1716 to 1784, and was one of the great poets of the Edo period.