Before my Andrew left for his AT hiking expedition last weekend, he said he probably shouldn’t kiss me goodbye on account of this scratchy throat he’d been developing. I responded don’t be ridiculous, demanded a kiss, and woke up the next morn, congested, unable to speak. Ah, married life.
As for my firm belief in the power of alternative medicine…
My Grammy made this fantastic chicken-corn soup that everyone always loved except me because I had never tried it—you know: chicken. Around high school, my Grammy started putting portions aside for me to enjoy, sans chicken, because, among many reasons, she was the greatest woman who ever lived. It tasted like love.
My sniffles and scratchy throat (a likely result of all these gosh-darn gorgeous blossoms) had me needing—and craving—soothing soup. Now you know I don’t invent recipes often (just a hair above never), but in this case I had a vision for something comforting and vegetarian and somehow reminiscent of this wonder she so often made in her kitchen. Specifically, if I recall, her crockpot.
I had onions and baby carrots on hand and thought that wasn’t a bad start. As you may have read in an earlier posting, I am not a vegetarian because I oppose animal consumption. Thus my choosing low-sodium chicken broth for my liquid (essential for re-creating the flavor of Grammy’s soup). I do enjoy both chicken broth and chicken stock, particularly as I find some vegetable broths too carrot-y. (When I don’t make my own, which is divine in taste, but a pain in the toosh to make some days).
So I diced one yellow onion, and a handful of baby carrots and sautéed them (a little olive oil, a little butter) on a medium-low heat so they wouldn’t brown. After softening, I added fresh garlic (two chopped cloves, but I would recommend more) and about two cups of corn. As you’ll note, I used a can of corn kernels. Typically, many canned products are a turn-off to me, but in this case it was less expensive to get kernels in a can (ensuring that these specific ones did not contain any additives: my no. 1 rule), and being on a tight spend-no-money-these-days budget, I decided to follow my Grammy’s example of making exceptional things from both a can and a coupon 🙂
I sautéed the corn a few minutes before adding the broth, which I simmered before adding these funky textured vegetable noodles. I don’t know anything about creating soup recipes, so please don’t apply my efforts here to any steadfast rules of soupmaking!
Even simmering the noodles very low, they cooked much quicker than in boiling water, and would have overcooked if I’d given them a full 7 minutes. Soggy noodles are gross, beware over cooking noodles in your own soupmaking endeavors!
A sprinkle of fresh parsley from my windowsill, lots and lots of pepper and then, oh what to accompany my little get-well delight? What about a sundried tomato-purple basil tapenade? Sounds like an appealing possibility…
I just had to find an excuse to serve my purple basil (if only to myself). As with my Oscar-night dips, I discovered the beauty of popping minimal, powerful ingredients into my mini food processor and creating magic. Much as in my goat-cheese roasted-pepper sandwich spread, I just put a few beautiful tomatoes from this jar (of TJ’s superior sun-dried tomatoes) with some extra-virgin olive oil, a clove of fresh garlic, and a small handful of fresh, PURPLE basil. Believe me, if my basil plant was big enough, this would have been a more significant handful.
A few pulses and voila, this suuuuuuuuuuuper flavorful accompaniment to my get-well soup—topped with some shavings of parmesan, naturally. And can I tell you something exciting? My chicken broth-corn concoction replicated the essence and flavor of my Grammy’s soup. It may have just been the sweet presence of the corn, but I think there was more going on here. Sure my hubby was off hiking, but on that Sunday evening, I don’t think I was alone in the kitchen.