Sunday Night is All Right for Soup
November 12, 2006

I was awake at 3:45am this morning. By choice.

The boyfriend had a field trip for his Nature Photography class this morning. A sunrise field trip. In Pescadero. I sometimes tag along on these trips for fun. In this case, it had to do with Duarte's. We arrived too early for soup, and that's really the best reason to go. So after a very cold morning and a mediocre breakfast, I was craving a nice warm soup.

I had read about Deb's experience with Tomato Soup earlier in the week, and Sunday was the prefect excuse to make some. But I've also been meaning to make a recipe from the S.O.U.P. cookbook that a friend bought for me last year. When it came down to it, I really only had one option. Make both.

I'm not shy about admitting my love and adoration for Cook's Illustrated. Mum and I refer to their published works as "the bible". The recipes are so tested and so detail oriented, that they're almost fool proof. I've never had anything turn out bad. This can also cause a problem because if a recipe isn't from Cook's Illustrated, I usually won't make it. I've become a recipe snob, but I'm okay with it.

Deb already gave the tomato soup a glowing review, and it was from Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. I had more assurance than I needed that this would be stellar tomato soup. I was a little wary of the other recipe I had chosen though. Carrot, ginger and orange soup sounded pretty good, and the recipe seemed easy enough, but would it all work together?

I started on the tomato soup first, and as I had suspected, it was delicious. Even before I added the small amount of cream, it was divine. Next, I started on the carrot soup. The recipe was much less detailed, but I managed to get through it. I got to the puree stage. At this point we had the carrot and ginger portions of the program and the soup wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty good. I continued to follow the instructions and added frozen orange juice concentrate. Here's where I have to pull out the old "hindsight is 20/20" cliche. As I was writing this it occurred to me that instead of adding ALL the orange juice at once, I could have maybe started out with just half? The soup was edible as is, maybe I didn't have to add a ton of juice. As you have probably guessed, I got to the last step in the recipe and added the full amount of juice. The soup I had just finished making now needed a new name: Orange Carrot Ginger soup.

I expected it to look orange, but I didn't expect it to taste Still, it wasn't bad. With the recommended garnish (green onion and a little sesame oil), it was very edible. Not a total disaster. I think with a few minor tweaks (and a lot less frozen orange juice), this soup could become a regular in the ol' recipe repertoire.

The tomato soup though...oh, the tomato soup. When I mentioned that I was going to be making some, the boyfriend proclaimed he wasn't a big tomato soup fan because it was usually like eating watery pasta sauce. This soup changed his opinion pretty quickly. I can assure you that we'll be fighting over the leftovers. It's the best tomato soup we've ever had. So go on, give it a shot. Even if you think you don't like tomato soup, it's completely worth the minimal amount of effort to make this. And if you don't like tomatoes? Well then you have another problem entirely.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.