Thursday, January 3, 2008

Souptacular Update

Almost a month ago BooMama hosted Souptacular, where women from across the globe posted their favorite recipes. I posted Taco Soup which I am sure you have all made by now (and if you haven't, what's wrong with you, girl?)

Since then I have made it my personal goal in life to try every last one of them that made me go "UUUUuuuummmmmm......" upon reading. Ok, caveat. Since Walker and I have both pledged to try and regain the svelte figures we had on our wedding day, I woefully skipped the ones that looked like they had a million calories per spoonful. But I still got plenty. And - I shall report my findings back to this here blog. Consider it my personal act of community service. My contribution to the planet. And all.

So far, I have tried four recipes. Not bad, that is like one a week! Actually, considering I spent two of the last four weeks in bed, that is more like two a week. I told you I was committed. Three have been outstanding. One was pure crap. Now I am not going to post what it was, because obviously whoever posted it thinks it is fabu and I certainly don't want to burst her bubble. I'll let her petulant teenage daughter use it during an argument she's losing: "Yeah, well, Mom, nobody really likes your soup! So there! (door slam)" But it was really yucky. Even Maggie would barely eat it, and Maggie eats poop.

But on to the yummies.

The Kid Fave:
The first one I made was Frazzmom's Quick Sausage Soup. I made it (well, my mommy made it) because (toot) I had everyone of the ingredients here (toot) already, including Healthy Choice turkey sausage, which (toot) was used in this test kitchen. T-errific. I was raised on (toot) beans so for me, this was absolute comfort food. Suggestions: rice or cornbread and BEANO (toot). Trust me on that one (toot toot).

The Mom Fave:
Number two is Melissa from Having Patience's Potato and Corn Chowder. Oh. My. Gosh. This may be my new favorite soup. It might - might - even trump Taco Soup. There, I've said it. It was just divine. My suggestion is to double it, because there were no leftovers the next day when I was craving another fix, plus I bet it is the kind that gets better the longer it sits. I used Jimmy Dean sausage with 50% less fat and it was delicious.

The Husband Favorite:
Then tonight, I made Beth at The Natural Mommy's Crockpot Split Pea Soup. I wanted to try this because split peas just sound so healthy and I don't know if I have ever had split pea soup. Definitely not a Texas thing. Let me tell you, this was gooooood stuff. Kids loved it, I loved it, and Walker just about flipped. I made cornbread with it and he said, and I quote, even though I always quote so I don't know why I need to put that in there but anyway, "An exceptional, hearty meal." Mom comfort food. I think this will become a staple. Very, very lowfat too, hallelujah. I used 3 cans of chicken broth and about 4 cans of water. I cooked it on low for 6 hours, and I think if it had gone any longer it would have gotten too mushy.

Speaking of cornbread. Cornbread has something of a place of honor in my family. Grandma and Chester (why'd you call your grandpa Chester? Cuz that's his name) had it with every meal. Being that I got totally gipped because my grandma died when I was only 11, I don't really remember her's, but Chester was around until the week I got engaged so I know for certain that his was the absolute best. It was perfectly dark yellow and crispy black on top. I can't seem to get the crispy black on top down. Chester taught me to eat it like this: piping hot, you swab it with butter, then take one bite of cornbread, but before you start to chew, you take one bite of homegrown tomato. Friends, that is what Heaven tastes like. Ok, I just made myself cry. Anyway, I am not sure of the recipe and since my mother is on a cruise now to Jamaica (it's 45 degrees here, by the way) and my aunt has not emailed me back yet, I can't share it now. Besides, my mom has gotten totally lazy and just started using Jiffy mix. I had too, and it is ok, but the other day I read that Partially and Fully Hydrogenated Soybean Oil was number three in the ingredients, Jiffy made its way onto the ever-growing "Dangit, dangit, dangit! I can't buy this anymore!" list. (If you don't know what that means, google it. Bad stuff, stuff you don't want your babies to eat.) My short story long point is, I decided to make some tonight, from scratch. In fact I have decided to make it from scratch from now on, and so I need to figure out how to make it like Chester did, and fast.

One thing I do know, southern cornbread DOES NOT HAVE SUGAR. Putting sugar in your cornbread is like, grounds for disinheritance - no mismatched china and 20 extra teaspoons for you. And it is best when made in a cast iron skillet that you heat oiled in the oven first. I have Chester's skillet, which surely is older than I am. So for tonight, while I wait for the family jewels, I found this recipe. While it was really really good, and Walker absolutely loved it, it wasn't quite right. But I recommend it for the above soups. Sans the sugar.

If you have tried any of the other Souptaculars, please share your reviews!

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