28 February 2007

2 in 1 soup

February... brrrr....

This has to be the first time in my life I've seen what winter is for myself. For a girl who's spent all her life in tropical areas, and who thought winter was a cold 18 (Celcius). A Japanese winter was an... experience of sorts. Days that ended by half past four called for hot comfort foods, and soups were the ultimate comfort food. And Veggie Venture's February round-up of Soup Glorious Soup couldn't have come at a better time!

I'm a big sucker for visual presentation.... no matter how humble the food, but I'm always impressed by presentation, however pretentious! Hubby is someone who doesn't have time for fancy foods. There have been times when we've gone out to try new restaurants (back when we used to live in Singapore) and he'd finish a lovely (in my opinion at least) meal and then say, "I like your version better". Not that it isn't flattering, but sometimes I think great presentation is wasted on A!

Ah well! my husband, the typical south Indian, isn't happy unless as many square millimeters of his plate are filled up with as many varieties of something. Think tpyical south Indian traditional meal with 2 vegetables, appalam, vadai, sweet, rice sambar, rasam, kootu, 2 salads and pickle.. and let's not forget the rice and curds at the very end. Now you get the idea.

I digress... but it will (begin to) make sense soon. A few weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at an artistically presented 2-colour soup. The refrigerator was loaded with tomatoes and spinach. What more contrast can one ask for. So I made a lovely tomato soup, and a nice cream of spinach soup, and served it like this.

The Significant Other took a look, gave one suspicious sniff, went into the kitchen, got 2 bowls, served himself each soup in a different bowl, and declined to eat his spinach. His reasoning: 'Green soup?? No one drinks green soup.' Now I know for a fact he never watched Popeye cartoons! After a little cajoling, the 3 and a half year old, and the 3 and a half decade old admitted that they liked both soups, but the older one still wishes the spinach soup could be made in some other colour. Sigh.. I give up....

The Basic Roux
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Melt the butter in a soup pot.
Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened but not browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and stir until slightly thickened.
Discard bay leaf.
Divide roux in two equal parts. Keep aside.

Tomato soup
1/2 of prepared Roux
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups tomatoes chopped (fresh or canned)

Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to the roux, and bring just to a simmer.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool and puree.
Adjust seasonings and heat before serving.

Spinach soup
1/2 of prepared Roux
5 cups chopped, spinach
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 small potato, boiled, peeled and diced

Blanch spinach.
Puree with roux and boiled potato.
Return to soup-pot and bring to simmer.
Adjust seasonings.

To serve:
Two equal sized cups
Take one helping of each soup. Pour into soup plate from opposite sides, simultaneously.
Garnish with sour cream.
Serve hot.

1 comment:

Shella said...

That really looks lovely....I am really enjoying your blog. Glad to discover it.