Sunday, January 3, 2010
IN WHICH ROB-BEAR ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SOUP — AND SURVIVES
I don't often get bored. What with beloved wife, two dogs, house and grounds to maintain, two interesting children, two darling grandchildren, several ethics committees on which I serve, and friends to visit (in person and on line), life is quite full.
However, much of that came to a screeching halt two weeks ago, when I had eye surgery.
Some things are much better. I can see to do thing around the house, for example. But reading actually takes a magnifying glass in hand. Sherlock Holmes I am not. VERY frustrating!
So instead of reading, I thought I would try to do something totally different. Make pea soup.
I've never tried that before. But there's a first time for anything — in my case, anything appropriate. So why not try making soup?
I found what looked like a good recipe. I could read it with a magnifying glass. Seemed healthy and hearty.
So I scurried about, gathering up the necessary ingredients. And got to it.
Put the peas in a big pot (two cups peas, six cups water), boil, then simmer for an hour and a half. No problem.
But as I looked at them more carefully, they looked a bit odd. So picked up the package and the magnifying glass to check the label.
Right. Not exactly what we were expecting.
So I left the lentils to simmer and took Sadie for a walk. Trying to clear my head. Think . . . think . . .think, like old Pooh Bear.
Sudenly I remember seeing another pea soup recipe which said one could substitute lentils for peas and get a satisfactory soup.
YES! Problem is now in hand.
After cooking the lentils for about half the required time, they were quite soft but not mushy. I suppose for real lentil or pea soup one wants them mushy. But I have no experience with "mushy peas." And, frankly, as one who prefers his pasta «al dente», this looked just fine. And the lentils were the preferred consistency.
While the lentils were simmering, I got the rest of the ingredients ready. Chicken (instead of pork hock), carrot and celery thinly sliced, garlic, lemon juice (lemon juice?), spices. Yet in the very middle, "1 onion, finely chopped."
Onions are a challenge for me at the best of times. But right after eye surgery? "Cruel and unusual puishment," I say. (Right after I got all the additional ingredients into the pot, and got it boiling again, I reached for the various eye drops I take to prevent problems with my eye, and dripped them in, one at a time!)
In the end, I ejected the bay leaf (which was, magically, sitting right on top) and tried a small bowl. There was a certain je ne sais quois about it. It was all right, but needed something. I ground some fresh pepper and added it. Didn't quite do the trick. Hmmmm . . . And a few rice crackers didn't help much either. Altogether a bit too bland. But better bland than too spicy!
Still and all, I've got several packages of soup in the freezer, to pull out for lunch on a cold day. We're supposed to be geting some of those in a bit. This is winter in Canada, you realize.
And my eye is OK, right now. I hope it will be in the morning.