Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun-Guy Soup

I know what you’re thinking. I can practically see the wheels turning in your head as you send me a snarky mental note.
Really Samantha?  Another soup? A) of all, that's an awful pun in your title.  B) of all, this isn't very Vagabond-y of you and, of all things, it deals strictly in mushrooms which don’t really taste like anything.  I see your adventurous side has taken to long walks in the forest while you search for things that only hermits eat, like nuts, berries, and mushrooms.  I need more than mushroom soup to be a happy adventurer.
Hoping you jump out of that soup bowl and into something more exciting,
--Anonymous Reader
WELL, anonymous readers, I do need to let you in on a little secret.  This ain’t yo mama’s mushroom soup (at least it ain’t mine, bc my mama never MADE mushroom soup. So there.) It especially is not, at all, a Campbells-esque style mushroom soup (which I don’t even consider as being mushroom soup.)  It is, however, from a New York City landmark restaurant, Balthazar, and it is a Cream of Mushroom Soup as you've never had before.  It is lush. It is earthy (which appeals to me since I’m a Virgo. Translation = Earth sign!) But it is completely, utterly, all-encompassingly, mushroomingly… perfect.

There are many riffs of this version in particular floating around the internet, but I foresaw the need to have the Balthazar cookbook on hand years ago when I ran across it in a used-book store, and to the original book I went. You can look a million things up online, but I swear, nothing compares to a soup-spattered page of a beloved cookbook nestled in your cabinets.  
And, surprise of all surprises, it’s pretty easy.  It has a lovely amount of herbs to make the soup juuust interesting enough without overpowering the mushrooms. I kid you not, this mushroom soup wowed my work friends enough to have my boss ask me to cook for her holiday party, featuring pretty much this, and only this, soup. (Turned her down to actually go home for the holidays, but don’t think I wasn’t tempted to spend my days before Christmas wrapped up in my kitchen making boatloads of this magical deliciousness).
I’m sharing this just in time for your Christmas Eve dinners, and as a special present to you this holiday.  I’m glad to have this blog, I’m grateful for your readership, and I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures we can get into together by next Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ginger Lovin

This is a bit belated, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY Vagabond Table! Three years and counting.  I cheers to you and your continued, well-written health, and may you continue to share recipes I love with the world beyond my front door.

I'd like to dedicate my first official Winter-timey post to soup.  Seems obvious, but I would like to defend this for a second, if I may.  Especially when this particular soup has already encountered quite a bit of disbelief in its greatness (ahem, MOM), but is really one of the best soups I've made in the past year.  Imagine something velvet-smooth, with the sweetness of carrot, the tang of ginger, a swirl of greek yogurt peeking through and suddenly you have Carrot Ginger Soup and you are not quite ever a fan of normal carrots anymore.  Not like I ever was, but this soup will sit you down, woo you, and make you a believer in the power of ginger.

Speaking of Ginger, I feel like both the food and real-life gingers I know need some winter lovin.  I'd like to proudly announce that, of my friends with babies, of which there are only two, they are BOTH Ginger Babies and both my favorite little ones out there right now.  Can we take a second to appreciate the pigtails below?  My friend Little Ginger as I like to call Miss Miriam, the first of my fave gingeroos? 

I'll share more pics of my new little friend, Blake, at some point when his ginger hair grows out beyond what would usually be called 'bald' on any man 40 years older than he currently is.  More ginger lovin to come, I promise you.

Ginger is also amazing for a sore throat (ginger tea! getcha some) and is nice surprise in this dish, kind of like an unexpected visitor that stays for a while, or a chance meeting with a friend on the street. You never know what might come your way, and I think that alone proves this soup deserves the spotlight in your kitchen on a cold evening. It also doesn't hurt that during these long days Carrot Ginger Soup is like a neon shot of bright orange straight to your kitchen table.

All that's warm and good in life, wrapped up in a bowl, from me, for you. Happy beginning-of-the-holidays and may this be the start to a season of only good things for you.