The Pleasures of Soup

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Cold days are perfect for a bowl of hot soup, and winter vegetables are great for simple soups.

I think that I have mentioned this before; I am a big fan of soups. My wife is of a different opinion. I think that she may be more willing to partake of my soups, since she has been attending classes on health. My wife works in a hospital, and she attends various lectures to improve her knowledge for patient care. Many of these lectures deal with becoming and staying healthy. She has taken particular interest in topics that touch upon our diets. What should one eat? Her concern has been snack foods. I am known for not buying sodas and snacks. I prefer cakes without frosting. My wife has traditionally indulged in these items. Seeing the effects of poor diets among her patients, she has become motivated to eat better. One of her discoveries was that eating more vegetables in a meal leads to a healthier life. I had been scaling back on the meat in a dish in favor of vegetables for some time with this thought in mind. During the winter, too many meals originating in the winter garden look similar, consequently becoming boring. Soup is a nice change for these vegetables.
    The other night at dinner, while I had my beloved soup and the rest of the family enjoyed a chicken dish, my wife took an interest in my meal. Upon trying it, she was impressed, so she wanted a bowl. I had stock for a hen that I had boiled. I have made stock from simply using vegetables taken from the garden. I always throw in a bay leaf from my tree, and maybe a few leaves from my kefir lime tree. For this soup, I melted a little pat of butter with a little dash of olive oil. A tablespoon of flour was added to make a rue. When the flour browned, I added the stock, whisking to prevent lumps. This causes the soup to be thicker, which is nice in the colder months. For warmer seasons, I use the stock alone. The next step is to make soup noodles. In a bowl, I mix about a cup of flour, a little milk, and one egg. I use my spaetzel press to create the noodles into the soup, but you do not need this piece of equipment. The mixture in the bowl should be like a batter that can drop off of a spoon. Take a little bit of the mixture, and drop it into the gently boiling soup. these glops will drop to the bottom, so gently stir the soup to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. My favorite ingredient to add to this soup is mustard greens. I chop the large leaves into smaller pieces. They go into the soup. Once the noodles are floating on the top they are done. I then taste the soup for seasoning.
    When I am feeling creative, I toast the spices when making the rue. My standard combination is cumin, red chili powder, sweet paprika, and ground mustard. The spices change, depending upon my mood. When adding spices at the end of the soup preparation, I go for salt and pepper. My next addition to the soup would be either a little milk or a beaten egg. Milk is the more common choice. In the end, I might add another small pat of butter. I really do mean small. The final product is a hearty soup that is quick to prepare. he nice thing is using a lot of vegetables. Right now, I have more leafy greens coming form the garden. Fairly soon, I will have kohlrabi, and then root vegetables, so the soup will change. You can add pasta or other noodles, but this soup noodle is so easy to make. It is also more like a dumpling, and a dumpling could be a great addition. Maybe I can make small changes to entice my wife some more. 

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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