Sunday, October 26, 2008

Experimental Cooking - Dream Soup

One night last week, I had a dream that I was making a soup with carrots and cabbage. On the one hand, this was a pleasant dream because I absolutely adore cabbage; on the other hand, this was a vexing dream, because I started the soup with carrots, cabbage, and stock but for some reason could not decipher the rest of the recipe. Hmmph! Damned dream, teasing me like that!

I thought about this dream for a couple days and decided that I would make a cabbage soup concoction of some sort this weekend. Then yesterday I woke up with symptoms of a bladder infection (I've been steadily improving ever since), which caused me to consult various holistic healing sources about nutrients that might help ease those symptoms until the doctor's office opened on Monday. Some of the recommended foods were celery and winter squash. Could those be the magic missing ingredients I needed to complete my dream soup? I decided to experiment and find out.

Miraculously, my experimental concoction turned out so well that I thought I'd follow the lead of some of my fellow bloggers and post a photo and the recipe. I tend to cook by feel, especially when I'm making up something based on a dream, so what I'm posting below is more of a guideline than a strict recipe. If anyone out there is brave enough to try it, let me know how it turns out and if you like it.

Adrianne's Dream Soup

- 2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 small-to-medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into approx. 1-inch dice
- 1/3 of a large head of cabbage, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 cups homemade vegetable stock or other homemade stock (if you cheat and use store-bought stock, please don't tell me!)
- ground turmeric, to taste (I added it a pinch at a time until I thought things looked and tasted right, so I'm not really sure how much I used in total -- my best guess is 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)
- ground coriander, to taste (my best guess on this one is about 1 to 2 tsps.)
- ground allspice, to taste (I used enough to add interest and complexity to the overall dish without imparting an affirmative allspice flavor -- around 4 or 5 twists of the grinder)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced squash and saute 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and gently simmer, partially covered, until the squash is slightly tender but not yet cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the cabbage and spices and bring back to a simmer. Continue simmering until both the squash and the cabbage reach the desired level of tenderness. As the soup simmers, adjust the amount of stock as needed to achieve desired consistency. When the soup is done, taste for spices and adjust them to your liking. Serve hot with warm, crusty bread.

P.S. This soup is even better the next day -- the spices mingled nicely overnight.


Erik said...

And I thought I was the only one that dreamed of recipes!

Barbara said...

Looks pretty dreamy to me! I love all the ingredients. I think made-up recipes are some of the best. Can't wait to try it.

Reya Mellicker said...

Sounds delicious! As you know, I LOVE soup. I'll definitely try this and won't let on that I use stock from a box ... oops.

Cranberry juice is the best holistic medicine for a bladder infection. Hope the symptoms clear asap - they're no fun!

willow said...

I like the combination of spices you used here and am also a big fan of cabbage! This sounds and looks dee-lish. Fun that you dreamed it!!

Barbara said...

I just tagged you for a meme. Do it only if it appeals to you!

Janelle said...

YUMMY!! i also ADORE fires...where i am right now its so hot, dry and dusty and we're waiting for the summer rains...thanks for visiting me..and glad those zanzibari winds reached you,..much love x janelle

virtual voyage said...

I often concoct my own soups - this looks delicious and I've got a big butternut squash. One tip I've found is that if you have a clear soup that lacks flavour, squeeze the juice of approx half a lemon into it - (to taste)- gives it zip.

Barbara said...

I used Willow's idea of the lemon when cooking turnips and green beans (together) recently and it added a lot of pizazz. I saved the stock and used it to cook Israeli couscous, which also benefited from the lemon. Lemon is good in just about anything!

bulletholes said...

Darn it! "Dream soup"!
I was a Chef for many years and I loved coming up with names for soup. My best was
"He-Man Soup"...that one always sold.
I could sell some Dream Soup.

ArtSparker said...

butternut squash is a wonderful medium for spices and other root vegetables, and grounding at this time of year. a slice of lemon is also good in lentil soup(remove before eating the soup).