Monday, January 31, 2011

Soup and Rubber Bands

It will make sense, I promise.

Well, sorta...

But before it does I must be upfront about something. The following photos REEK! They're TERRIBLE! Probably the worst photos you've ever seen! We've lost each and every camera we've ever had in this household (that or there's a camera thief out there who knows a good mark when he see one and has been following us around, knicking our cameras when we're not looking ((which, apparently, is most of the time))) and I have resorted to using the camera on my cellphone like my parents do. I don't know if it's just me but I seem to associate using a cellphone camera with old people (ok...oldER people than me).

Ye be warned.

So it's SOUP WEEK! No one else seems to be excited about this but that's okay, I'm excited enough for everyone. And I take photos of my food; I'm a weirdo, that's been well established.

Aaaaaaand I had decided, because I had half of a previously braised roast waiting expectantly in the fridge, to start off with Vegetable Beef soup. It was Dharma's suggestion; only she said, with the horrid casualness of the fearlessly natural cook, I should make, you know, your basic beef soup with perhaps some tomato paste and whatever vegetables I have on hand. She doesn't measure anything and it always turns out great. I hate that. I usually wind up setting off the smoke alarm and breathing into a paper bag. So she had pity on me, gave me a skeleton of a recipe and I decided I was going to take it and be intrepid and just figure! it! out!

And if it didn't work I could just bury it under mashed potatoes and call it Cottage Pie!


I chopped up the beef, the only onion I had left and 2 shallots left over from Christmas that I had no other ideas for. I threw it all into some melted butter over medium-high heat with the last of the red table wine we keep on hand (only about 1/2 cup). When everything was fragrant and the onion translucent I dumped about 3 cups of chicken broth and 3 of beef broth in. I had forgotten to saute the 2 garlic cloves I'd minced so I threw them in, too, and then, ooooh look at that! I came across some fresh rosemary that hadn't been used at Christmas and, somehow, hadn't gone bad in the bottom of the crisper drawer! In it went!

Please ignore the flour still on the counter from kneading the biscuit dough.  I hadn't cleaned up yet.

After a quick boil and a moderately long simmer, some peas, carrots and corn went in to simmer a wee bit longer while I mixed up some cream biscuits.

Here's the thing I learned today about cream biscuits: the only difference between them and cream scones is little less than 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cream and a teaspoon of baking powder. And now, magically, I have the proportions for cream biscuits memorized. Making that connection made all the difference.

I am in the process of substituting all sugar in my diet with raw honey. The honey doesn't seem to make my blood sugar react like sugar does and lately I've been having some more severe reactions. I almost fainted the other day and The Viking had to help me back to bed and bring me some orange juice because I waited too long to eat breakfast. Anyway, I decided to substitute the sugar (tiny amount that it is) in the biscuits with the honey. I looked a few things up on line and decided to just wing it. There's always next time. So I mixed them up and into the oven they went.

I decided to pat them into a squarish shape and cut them into cubish shapes which is why they look a little weird. And, boy, these pics are bad, but you get the idea. They were pretty darn good! The texture was lovely, flaky and light just like biscuits should be. They weren't quite sweet enough so next time I will add more honey than I did this time. But they were perfect with the soup...

This clever little basket has a stone in the bottom that gets heated in the oven and keeps all the lovely little biscuits nice and hot!  I highly recommend it for the distracted, scatterbrained cook!

And the soup, the soup! It turned out so very good! Dharma and I, in our quick conference about it beforehand, weren't sure what the results would be with pre-braised beef, you know, without all that fond and drippings and such, but it was good nonetheless! I quickly dished it into a bowl, got the kids to set the table and called for The Viking!

Man-Cub was a bit excited from the delicious aroma but he's only hamming it up for the camera here!  He's supposed to be finishing setting the table...

Just before we sat down and I was ticking things off in my head, "...soup, biscuits, butter, salt, pepper..." I suddenly remembered The Viking likes to have cheese with his soup and bread! A quick rummage through the cheese drawer in the fridge revealed half a wedge of Fontina, cheese from his homeland! So I peeled off the rind and sliced it up (incidentally, it was the first thing he reached for when he sat down).

Man-Cub was beyond delighted that I was cutting the cheese just before dinner.  Yup, flour still there...

Let me tell you, I felt like Superwoman! Everyone loved the soup and was impressed with the biscuits! I was glad I'd made it with things I had on hand and in very little time! I was so thrilled I decided to share the magic and, after putting some away for lunch tomorrow, packed up the rest and sent it over to Mom and Dad's.

As soon as dinner was over, Man-Cub and The Viking tore into a bag of rubber bands they had bought for the catapult they had just made. Yes, catapult. Man-Cub is taking a Medieval History class at our Homeschooling Co-op and one of their projects is to build a catapult.

They finished it Saturday afternoon and all they have done since is find different things to launch with it and launch things at. I heard chatter about setting things on fire and launching them into the snow but, so far, that hasn't materialized yet.

They also blew right through my entire rubber band stash and this bag was supposed to be used to replenish my supply. They quickly found alternate uses for them, though...

That's the business end of the catapult in the left of this shot.  It's not really right up against his head, nor is it that large.  It just happened to be sitting right next to me.

It was actually The Viking who started it all, but the kids needed no encouragement to join in. I hope you can recall what my husband actually looks like from the photos above because he gets more and more grotesque with each passing photo...

He's not wearing antlers.  Those are twigs from the Santa decoration hanging behind him.  I might take that down in time for Man-Cub's birthday in March.

One rubber band was all it took to set us all off. I was laughing so hard I had a hard time holding the cellphone/camera steady. Another reason these photos are so wretchedly bad.

Not to be undone, Redheaded Snippet entered the fray...

And then it was on!

She was laughing so hard, she could hardly sit up.

Like father like daughter, never more so than when they're clowning around!

And he just wouldn't stop!  Sanctuary!

We finally made him take them off when the top of his head started turning purple.

Poor Man-Cub wanted desperately to join in the fun, but he was laughing too hard to do much more than slip a band over his nose.  Then the helpless flapping took over.

I don't know if all that silliness had anything to do with having enjoyed such a fine meal, but I will certainly have my camera/phone ready this evening just in case. On tonight's menu: Tomato Ravioli Soup with salad and more biscuits!

No comments: