I am usually not the type of person to order soup at a restaurant. Ordering soup at a restaurant, in my mind, is equivalent to ordering water at a bar. You just don't do it. In a world where sandwiches and pizzas and stir-fries and pastas exist, why order liquid in a bowl that you have to clumsily eat with a spoon? It just seems so intangible, so un-American. (Hehe). I mean, if you like soup, you might as well move to Europe to live with those other soup lovers on their fancy soup farms. While you're across the pond spilling half of your lunch on your doilies, I'll be atop my horse in the blazing American sun eating something solid (topped with chili and cheese and jalapenos. And mustard. And beer. And America sauce.)
So, when I returned home from work this afternoon, I began questioning my street cred (and my citizenship) when I found myself desiring soup, of all things. The prissy nature of soup defies cool on many levels. But, since I am already very aware of the fallibility of my coolness--after all, my students remind me that I am not cool almost daily--I reluctantly accepted my soupy desire.
Soup! Oh, Soup! I had you all wrong. It's just that most of my encounters with soup have been of the canned variety. Or the watered down restaurant variety. This afternoon's rendezvous, however, has opened my eyes to the possibility of a real, long-term relationship with soup. (If soup shares my feelings, of course. Can you talk to him? Maybe? I mean, don't tell him I asked you to ask him or anything. Play it cool.)
After assessing what my kitchen had in stock, I decided to do an Asian twist on Butternut Squash Soup. I will try to remember how much of each ingredient I threw into the pot, but this recipe is definitely flexible (much like my national identity, I guess).
Ginger, Apple, Tofu and Butternut Squash Soup
1 TBS olive oil
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced ginger
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup rice milk
3 TBS. soy sauce
1/2 cup water
more olive oil to taste
1 can butternut squash
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
nutritional yeast to taste (optional)
more olive oil
1 package extra firm tofu, diced into tiny cubes
1. Heat olive oil in a pot & then toss in the garlic, ginger, apple and red bell pepper. Toss for 3-4 minutes, or until ingredients soften a bit.
2. Add black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Toss until all ingredients are covered with spices. Add rice milk, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
3. Add squash, red wine and nutritional yeast. Stir. Keep at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
4. Pour soup into a blender or food processor, and blend for 2 minutes. Return soup to pot, and continue cooking at a simmer. At this point, you can add the diced tofu (and maybe some powdered ginger, salt to tast, black pepper to taste, and more cumin).
5. Simmer for 5 minutes after adding tofu. This will give the tofu the chance to adopt some of the flavors of the soup.
Once you have poured your soup into a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sesame seeds. Or, you could drizzle a bit of cream on top. Or soy sauce. Or love. (But, beware: this soup is my boyfriend. Don't get too friendly, girl.)
4 days ago