Tuesday, March 11, 2008
georgia peanut soup
On Saturday evening I watched The Pursuit of Happyness. Now I'm the kind of person who can watch a movie, feel inspired to make change in my life, and actually make it, so as I was lying in bed that night, I decided that I wasn't doing enough of the things in life that make me happy. (Given that I live alone and can do whatever I want all the time, it makes one wonder how this is possible.) Sunday, therefore, would be a day of change.
I went to church. Attending services alone is not my preference, but it is, indeed, better than not going at all. (And somewhere I know I have a few family members who are breathing a big sigh of relief right now....)
I went for a walk. I live in one of the most beautiful areas of the county and within walking distance of all kinds of interesting things, so I really should do more of this.
I picked up Anna Karenina again. I set her down two years ago when I developed a problem with my eyes, so I think it's high time to finish the story.
I went to the gym. My gym attendance has been hit-or-miss since the gym I loved closed and my membership was transfered to the place down the street, but I really do like working out and the new place isn't bad, so I suppose it's time to move on.
I made a few changes, and guess what? I'm happier now than I was on Saturday. It's like my own little mini, mid-month revolution. Not bad.
One thing that was not on my list of changes was to spend more time cooking (I'm quite happy with my kitchen attendance as it is). I saw a picture of this soup in the February edition of a little blogging event called Does My Blog Look Good in This?, and found it intriguing enough to give the recipe a try. The soup came out a little sweeter than what I was in the mood for on Sunday, so the 4 tablespoons of tomato paste was a last-ditch effort on my part to squeeze in a little savory. If I make this again, I might even throw in a can or two of crushed tomatoes as well. (I would have used them this time, but I was out.)
This is an interesting soup that seems to improve with time. I wasn't crazy about it right off the stove on Sunday, but I found myself looking forward to a cup with my dinner today. Additionally, the texture contrast between the soup and the roasted peanuts on top is fantastic, so I think I'll carry that garnishing trick over to a few other soups in the future.
[Postscript: This soup really did get better by the day. I made it on a Sunday, and by Wednesday I was really craving it. I'm definitely glad I added the tomato paste for a savory note. This recipe was submitted for the March edition of a vegetarian soup blogging event call No Croutons Required, hosted this month by Tinned Tomatoes.]
Georgia Peanut Soup
Adapted from The Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup, via Jennie at Straight from the Farm
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
3 celery stalks, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
7 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Roasted, salted peanuts for garnish
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt and cook for another minute.
Add the bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, and celery to the pot. Season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetable stock, peanut butter, tomato paste, and corn, stirring until thoroughly combined.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasoning one last time, sprinkle with the roasted peanuts, and serve.