Posts Tagged ‘soups & salads’

In Sickness: Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I feel terrible. Like I’ve been run over by a gaggle of marauding geese with nothing better to do than peck out my throat for fun.

I have become fixated on the thought of soup.

And not just any soup, but the most comforting kind you can imagine – chicken noodle soup. When you are sick, there is nothing nicer than broad egg noodles slumped inside a broth made from the last life-juice of a chicken’s bones. A tinge of garlic, a tingle of ginger – and if you find a bone or two, well, “parts is parts,” as my great grandmother used to say. » Continue reading this post…

How to Make Your Co-Workers Jealous, the Salad Edition: Roasted Sweet Potato and Salmon Salad

Roasted sweet potato and salmon salad (Eat Me. Drink Me)

Pre-packaged salad sucks. I know, because I work in a part of town where the lunch options are neither pretty nor cheap and very rarely healthy. A pre-packaged salad from the grocery store looks sad with its already wilting lettuce, mealy tomatoes, uniformly cubed cheese, and waxy kernels of corn recently freed from a canned prison. And a good-looking salad from that organic café down the street will set you back a whole 10€. So I’ve taken to bringing my own salad to work.

I think we often get stuck in a salad-is-boring state of mind. It’s just lettuce and vegetables. But a finely crafted salad can be as interesting as any other entrée. What about a salad that balances fruits and nuts, pecans and sweet pear with tangy blue cheese – or a salad that substitutes stale bread for lettuce, but is softened with olive oil and feta and tomato. Or what about a salad made from strips of bologna, spiced up with cracked kernels of black pepper and pepperoncini?

And even if you don’t have much to stuff your salad with, you surely have the ingredients on hand to create myriad salad dressings. » Continue reading this post…

Thai on My Mind: Spicy Thai Coconut and Ginger Soup

Spicy Thai coconut-ginger soup (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I’ve been thinking about Thai food for weeks – ever since I had a bowl of relatively mediocre soup on my lunch break at work. For some reason, Thai soup has never really been on my radar. I’m more of a spicy green curry or peanut sauce girl. But even through the blasé of my work break soup, purchased from one of Berlin’s ubiquitous pan-Asian fast food chains, I could taste the intriguing combination of sweet and sour, creamy coconut and spice. It got me thinking. Or rather, it got me craving – and craving got me cooking.

Even at the most worldly (read: expensive) grocery stores here, non-standard ingredients are hard to come by. There are no corn tortillas, for instance. And good luck getting your hands on a bag of brown sugar. (Also, there’s no corn syrup, which is not exotic and probably better for your body, but hey, when you’re trying to bake like an American, it can be a bummer.) So gathering the ingredients for this simple soup was a bit more time consuming than I’d imagined.

I went to a Turkish shop for dried lemon leaves (forget fresh), spent a fortune on lime (one lime is a fortune here – oh, how I miss the ten-limes-for-a-dollar days in Brooklyn), and had to traipse into the high-end market for Thai chiles and lemongrass. It took three separate trips to the grocery store before they’d re-stocked the cilantro.

sweating the garlic and shallots (Eat me. Drink Me.)

I made the soup after a long day at work, which was both good and bad. Good, because I enjoy a multi-process cooking session to unwind after a long day, and bad, because it had been a long day, and I was hungry.

It’s beautiful to build something cohesive out of so many different parts. With one  hand, you’re making a chicken stock and tearing shreds of meat from the bone. » Continue reading this post…

Stew, Baby, Stew: Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian goulash (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

How can you go wrong with a recipe that has both bacon and wine? You can’t, as I discovered making this variation on Hungarian Goulash. Authenticity aside, this hearty, heavy winter stew was exactly what I needed coming back to Berlin after two weeks on a beach in the north of Colombia.

Here in Berlin, where I find myself wearing all of the clothes I own at one time, there’s no action too petty to warm up. Like showering multiple times a day because it’s the warmest place in the apartment. Or reneging on sunlight because it just might be warmer with the shutters closed. Or begging my boyfriend never to leave the bed just so that it’s always warm when I want to go to sleep.

veggies for Hungarian goulash (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

beef chuck in the pot (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

About a month or so ago, my uncle sent me an email, which is worth reprinting:

i am making soup as I type.

i have some smoked ribs i made a month or so ago that i just won’t eat so i figured i would cook them off the bones.  of course, I have no recipe as I just do jungle cooking – onion, celery (love it for flavor), green pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, garlic cloves, Cajun seasoning, and some beef bullion …i will let it cook for four or five hours and then taste and add seasonings as required.  tomorrow after it cooks overnight, i will peel the meat off the bones and add some carrots… finally, i will add some noodles and make some fresh bread to serve with the soup…

soup is a wonderful way to get rid of leftovers while creating a new meal …kind of like making wine out of water and that friend yeast thing Mom use to raise…just kept going and going… can see why humans still make pots of soup and just keep adding to it (no this tradition didn’t stop after the mid-evil ages… there are billions who are thousands of years behind us and still live this way – look at WV… yuk yuk…)

p.s. » Continue reading this post…

If on a Winter’s Night: Easy Winter Lentil Stew

easy winter lentil stew recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I haven’t taken my hat off for days. I’m beginning to wonder if I still have hair, and if I do, whether or not it matters. I’m supposed to be working. Instead, I’m chipping the nail polish from my fingers, staring outside at the falling leaves, debating whether or not to buy a monthly metro pass. (At the end of the story, I will end up buying one. I will not regret it.)

Some days it rains and in the coffee shops the crowds grow a low murmur. Outside, the smell of damp leaves and everywhere, I swear, I smell a roasting turkey. I’m reading a book of short stories by Italo Calvino and at the same time a Harper’s magazine from May I’ve been working on for months. In the news, it’s a blur of politics and hurricanes and I wonder what I’d be doing in New York if I were still there. I think of my McKibbin apartment, where I didn’t close up the three-inch hole in the window with duct tape until winter.

sliced peppers for lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

garlic for lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

What I most look forward to are afternoons wrapped up in a blanket and my love, a movie laughing in the background and sleep in my limbs.

Don’t tell anyone, but I like these days. The damp, the leaves, the candles lined up on the windowsill. The snuggled in slippers, the garish green hat.

chopped vegetables for winter lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

When I cook on nights like these, I cook for comfort. I want the seeping smell of garlic and spice. I want to feel the thin skin of a tomato crack beneath my knife and hear the familiar sound of a peeler’s swish against a carrot. And when I eat my stew, I want it to mean the day is done. The shutters can be let down and soon, soon, I can go to bed. » Continue reading this post…

Soup Time/Winter Time: Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup with Lemon-Parsley Drizzle

Lentil soup with lemon-parsley drizzle (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Let’s not get technical. I know it’s fall. But unless you too are living in Berlin – waking up every morning moaning about having to leave the comfort of your covers, wearing your winter coat inside, and wishing the heater went up just a few more notches – and want to argue with me, it’s winter.

It’s winter and I’m cold and all I want is a giant, warm bowl of soup. (And a new pair of glasses, pumpkin muffins, and a pedicure – but these are totally unrelated things.)

The great thing about soup is that it’s a totally addressable need. It requires very little energy to make – and make masses of. In mere minutes of work, you have a pot contentedly bubbling filling your living space with the warm aroma of – what is the aroma of soup? It might be a feeling, like saying, “I feel like soup smells.”

Bacon (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Chopped onion (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I made my first soup of the season the other night. A lentil stew sweetened with carrot and sweet potato and brightened with a touch of curry and berbere. I might have gone a little overboard with the lentils. By the time I’d added everything to the soup, it filled the pot. I will be eating lentil soup for years, I thought.

Berbere (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Lentils and carrots (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

What I forgot is that it’s winter, and that in winter, everyone is craving soup. That night, a few friends met at my apartment before heading to a party, and when I checked the soup pot the next morning, everything was gone. » Continue reading this post…

Plans: Carrot, Sweet Potato & Sunchoke Soup

my little Hercules (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I was thinking, as I rode my bike rather recklessly the other day, about how much we rely upon the reactions of other people. As I sped down the hill at Hallesches Tor, I skimmed past a man weaving his way along. He was whistling, his step in lazed anti-tune to the sound. And I, too, was feeling the spring breeze in Berlin, letting the bike, brakeless, coast. We were close as I passed. I heard his tune; he surely felt my speed ruffle it out of place.

We expect someone in a straight line to continue in a straight line, without thinking that perhaps their plan had been, all along, to veer suddenly to the left. We continue on our way, taking for granted that the other person’s path runs smoothly within our plans. So we plan and we plan and paths snake along in perpendiculars until one day, they don’t. The man on the sidewalk veers to the left. You crash into him on your bike. It wasn’t the plan.

I don’t want to write a metaphor for happenstance. I just want to observe that we are constantly assuming the outcomes of others’ reactions, when those other people are planners themselves, planning our reactions back at us. It’s dangerous to do too much planning at fast speeds. Dangerous not to allow the veer its own possibility of chance.

We are natural planners – and it is good so – otherwise, how would we build cities, invent, bring our creations into being. We plan our lives, our futures, and these things are good. Still, we can plan and plan and plan and still plan a reaction wrong.

We’ll never drive less recklessly down the hill past Hallesches Tor. We’ll always assume the man to the left will walk in a straight line.

» Continue reading this post…

Fall Homage, In Memoriam: Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve bathed my laptop in liquids one too many times and I have killed it. Killed it dead. Marley was dead: to begin with, as my dear, dear Dickens said. And it’s getting to be that season anyway, though the weather is unseasonably warm here in Berlin. I took a long bike ride today, partly because the weather was so nice – and partly because I had to go to O2 to see if they could get the internet to work on this wonderful computer my dear friend Elisabeth has lent me – they can’t.

So, my laptop, my love is dead. My internet does not exist. I am shut off and out of the world. And here’s a secret. When, after two hours, the nice man at O2 told me the internet wasn’t going to work, I cursed the heavens silently, first, and then I felt – relief.  Although I don’t know if that is exactly the right word. There should be a word that means something in between resignation and freedom. So don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I’m upset to be shut off and out the world. I can feel my brain blossoming.

Of course, the only thing to do the night I broke my laptop was to leave the apartment. To find my way to a champagne party whose address I wasn’t quite sure of since the internet had failed before I could plot my meticulous way across the city. To leave the scene of horror, half-sopped liquid still puddled on the floor, and go to meet people and drink champagne with berries and talk it out and then go dance it out. I know nothing more cathartic than hip hop and sweat. But the next day, my first day, waking up to a laptop pried open and drying on a chair, battery expunged (I learned that much from the first time I dropped a drink in the keyboard…), I didn’t know what to do. » Continue reading this post…