Thursday, March 19, 2015

Misadventures in Cooking: Soup's On

sweet potato soup

Years ago, back in the days when I still had a social life and was able to keep my eyes open past 10pm, I attended a fancy wine tasting party.  First of all, let me just mention that I had no business going to a wine tasting since to me all wine pretty much tastes delicious, but it was in conjunction with a potential freelance job and to my benefit to attend.  This was in the way back days, before Uber existed to provide designated drivers with a side of sexual assault, so I was forced to reign in my vino consumption both due to having to drive home and the fact that I was trying to get a job.  After all, it's not exactly "professional" to vomit into your potential boss's Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.  Despite having to remain sober for this shindig, I ended up having a lovely time.  Most of the guests were parents and, to my surprise, they did not want to go home.  Seriously, it was like these people were planning to stay the night or something because as the clock ticked closer to midnight they just got drunker and more comfortable and made no motion to leave.  In fact, I was the first person to leave, and everyone kept saying "why are you leaving so early!  You're a party pooper."

At the time, when children were still some future "what if I decide to give up my life/regular showers?" question, I really couldn't for the life of me figure out why these people didn't just go home and go to bed.  Now that I am a parent and spend most of my weekends trapped in a house with two small children and no childcare, I totally get it.  If you invite me to a party where there are no kids and you are serving alcohol, I suggest you get the guest room ready because I plan to move in.

In addition to a bunch of drunk parents and a selection of esoteric wine varietals that all tasted like well, wine, they had a buffet of food with each dish selected to compliment a particular bottle of wine.  I personally think that wine compliments everything (try a viognier with a teething biscuit - you can thank me later) and since I couldn't drink heavily I just stood at the buffet shoveling embarassing amounts of finger food into my gaping maw.  While some of the eats were clearly prepared by our old friend Trader Joe, there was one particular dish that blew my culinary mind.  Red pepper soup. I know it sounds like no big deal, but it was so good that I'm pretty sure I was responsible for eating almost the entire tureen of the stuff.

Before leaving, I managed to convince the hostess to share the recipe, and she agreed.  I didn't end up getting the job, but at least I have a recipe for soup that my kids will eat, so at least my night of sobriety and social anxiety wasn't all for naught.  

sweet potato red pepper soup

Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 red peppers, seeded and cubed
4 cups diced sweet potatoes
1 onion roughly diced
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/4 c. dry white
1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock
Sriracha sauce to taste, depending on how hot you like it
salt and pepper

In a medium sized dutch oven, combine olive oil, red peppers, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic and spices.  Cook over medium heat until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Add wine, vegetable stock, Sriracha sauce, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a oil, then simmer for 30 - 35 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  

Working in batches, put in a blender and process until smooth.  Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve immediately.  

I garnish my soup with a drizzle of plain goat yogurt, a few chives, and some gluten-free croutons.


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