Daily Prompt: The Spice of Success
If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?
Last saturday I got a hankering for potato leak soup. Had gone out for breakfast and there it was the daily soup, potato cheese. Ordered a cup to go, ate it as an early lunch and wanted more. Well cheese soup won’t be acceptable in my house; there is a general prejudice against any and all cheese. So potato leek soup was my compromise, a decision made while at the grocery store.
So I guessed about the ingredients and missed a couple essential ingredients. Then started cleaning out the refrigerator only to find a dozen red peppers. A pound of Brussels sprouts, 5 pounds of carrots, an old rutabaga, a few more old potatoes and some sweet potato. And thus two new dishes were born.
The red pepper potato leek soup started out with a good smell as I slowly braised leeks, peppers, and celery in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. Added the potatoes and water, letting it cook for an hour until the potatoes were soft. But then the red flakes of bell pepper looked terrible in the soup. So I blended everything, making the soup a lovely orange color; adding a cup of Creme Fraiche (which is like sour cream). But it didn’t have a good flavor, so started adding other tastes. 3 cups of cheese to add richness. Cardamon which gives a musky rich flavor. Dark New Mexico Chili powder to add a bit of kick. A teaspoon of marmit hoping to add some rich saltiness to the soup. It wasn’t enough so more salt and pepper. A biggish dash of worchestor sauce and a quarter cup of red wine sherry to add tang. All helped, but the final element was an inch of molasses. Suddenly the soup tasted fantastic. Incredible blend of sweet, tangy, rich, spicy soup.
Success, wonderful delicious soup. I love the flavor. The catch, I have over 30 cups of soup and no one will eat it. Kate hates cheese and orange soup. Bob hates blended soups. Mary won’t eat things that are spicy. So there is a lot of soup for just me.
But it gets even better. Still working on cleaning out the fridge and using up what we have, I created another dish. 1 pound of brussels sprouts, quartered, 1 rutabega cubed, 1.5 pounds of carrots chunked and 1 pound of sausage cut into small pieces. Put it all in a pan, add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning–Voila a one pan dinner ready for roasting. But again, my entire family rejected this meal. Kate won’t touch sausage, Bob didn’t like the look of the dish, and Mary doesn’t like brussel sprouts. It was great and now I have a lot of lunches. Probably will substitute marinated tofu for the sausage next time and add pineapple. Add a lot more spice, I like it spicy. Since my family won’t even touch it, might as well customize it for me.
The almost great red pepper potato leek soup
6 cups red bell peppers sliced
6 large leaks, sliced
Half to whole head of celery, cut into pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
8-10 medium yellow gold potatoes, chunked
10-12 cups of water
1 cup creme fraiche
1 Tablespoon corriander powder
2 Tablespoons chili powder or to taste
1/4 cup red wine sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon marmit (vegamite or salt can be substituted)
several good sloshes of worchester sauce
more salt and pepper to taste
3 cups grated cheese (various kinds depending on taste, the stronger the flavor the better)
1 inch from bottle of unsulfured molasses
Gently sauté the leeks, peppers, celery with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft and smelling delicious. Add potatoes and water to cover. Cook for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft and falling apart. Turn off and let cool down for a while. Add creme fraiche and stir well. Blend the entire soup. Add cheese and put back on the heat. Stir constantly until cheese is melted. Begin adding seasonings a little bit at a time; checking the taste as you do. Stop when the soup tastes great. Your proportions of spices may be different than my taste.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with other things
1 pound or more of Brussels sprouts, quartered
1.5 pounds of carrots, cut into circles.
1 or 2 rutabegas cut into pieces
1 sweet potato cut into cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt, pepper, and seasonings to flavor.
1 pound sausage, cut into small pieces (optional)
Mix the vegetables, olive oil, and spices together. Put into roasting pan. Add meat. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, remove foil and check. If not done, put back in over for 15 minutes uncovered. Casserole is done when the vegetables are soft.
For amusement factor, use the colored carrots. They are guaranteed to cause a commotion in the most conservative of families. Feel free to change the mixture of root vegetables, anything fairly firm that cooks about the same speed will work. You can substitute anything you want for the sausage–other meats, marinated tofu or nothing. Also, a can of pineapple would add a lovely different flavor to the stew