Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Emergency Soup


With due apologies, I am taking a quick break from my series about the Luberon (unless you are all secretly tired of it in which case please let me know and I'll put it to rest) because some serious celebrating is in order: yesterday was my first official sweater, jeans and boots day--hallelujah! I feel like I am sliding back into myself after being trapped in someone else's wardrobe. Mais hélas, along with rapid temperature shifts comes what? A case of the sniffles. I have been fighting off a throatal frog for a while now, so it was time to take matters firmly in hand and whip up my first batch of autumn soup to shoo the sickness out of me.

Although I dearly love my Fog Soup (Oh, hello Yee Olde Ancient Bloggee post, how sweet you seem to me now and how much do I miss that kitchen and garden!), I didn't want to be coddled, just the opposite, I wanted to heat things up a bit. When I visited Mali, I would be stunned by the locals liberal and I do mean dousing use of hot sauce until I was told "it keeps us healthy by burning out the bad stuff." So, while this isn't nearly as spicy as I would have liked it as I do have Remi's French palate to appeal to, it is just the right touch when you need a little saving. 

Soupe d'urgence or Emergency Soup
2 1/2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
5 carrots, sliced 
1 big onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, same
1/2 Tablespoon diced fresh ginger (or cuilière à soupe instead of T in France)
Spices:
cumin, cayenne powder, cinammon, ancho chile powder, cajun spices, heck I even put a pinch of Smokehouse Maple in there, to taste
1 Liter chicken broth (unless you are the gorgeous Jennifer of the ridiculously undervisited Gustia blog, in which case, go vegetarian!)

As I have written previously, I am convinced that my soups improved enormously by cooking with a Creuset pot, but hey, do what you can and just don't let the veggies burn--we aren't talking about that kind of heat here! 
Sauté the onion in a swathering of olive oil (about 2-3 Tablespoons) until soft. Add the sweet potatoes and stir a bit to help break down the starch. Cook on medium-high for five minutes with the lid on, add the carrots, again stirring to coat with the oil and onions. Lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook with the lid a bit off to the side for twenty minutes or until thoroughly soft, stirring from time to time. Now, I prefer to add the spices here (I trust you to come up with your own amounts but I put a strong preference on the cumin) and continue to cook on super low for an hour but feel free to go ahead and add the chicken broth and simmer. Again, this soup is best if you let it simmer on low for a few hours and but I have done it in as little as twenty minutes in a pinch. Let it cool a bit before transferring into a blender (in batches if need be) and pulse gently. Transfer to serving bowls and top with one last kick of cayenne and voila! Note(s): You might be wondering how many people this serves. Good question. Are you as piggy as I am? Well, then not a lot. Definitely four as a starter or perhaps as a main depending on your portions. As you can see, I only had a tiny bit to have with lunch and so was forced to make myself a Bacon, Egg, and Tomato sandwich as a consolation prize (and yes, the eggs really are that yellow in France). Also, I know that you might be tempted to swirl some creme fraiche in here--and hey, whatever bakes your cake--but it doesn't need it. 

Bon App' and stay healthy!


PS. Ben got all velvet-painting eyed when I told him of the collective interest in a calendar featuring his sweet face. As my British friends would say, he's chuffed!

58 comments:

  1. Get well soon! But with a soup like that, I think it's a guarantee :)

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    1. Meredith! Do you know what? It worked! :)

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  2. Heather, I do hope that this cleared your sniffles right up! Thank you for sharing your recipe, I'm so glad you did! I have to admit, my mouth started reading when I read about it in your comment yesterday and was planning on bugging you for it. Super-spicy Thai food is typically my go-to when I'm coming down with a cold. But this sounds way healthier and just as yummy. Feel better! XO
    PS - Ben as a calendar guy? Yes, please!

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    1. Ooh la la, spicy Thai food?! What I wouldn't give!!!
      Bisous.

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  3. Throatal frog, emergency soup and a doggie, this all delightful. My eyes won't leave the bread, i've got a brioche dough developing right now and cannot wait to get my teeth into it.

    Yes I wanted to slap that swine last night, there are some rotten folk in the world.

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    1. I don't know what he said and I don't want to know. Yes, perhaps it is my Scottish roots but I am loyal to a fault, if that is possible. You are one amazing lady, inside and out. Anyone that doesn't agree, gets the guillotine by me!

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  4. Heather, I laughed when I read your description of being trapped in someone else's wardrobe. From a sartorial perspective, thank goodness summer is OVER! I am so much happier in sweaters, jeans and SOCKS.

    I hope you get well soon -- I think those from Mali are on to something with the chili. The soup looks delicious -- may it incinerate the germs! xo

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    1. Socks! Oh how could I have forgotten the happiness of socks, Ann? What is wrong with me? Yes, definitely. And I could go on about different germ killers when travelling...

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  5. Your soup looks yummy! I think I'm going to whip up a bowl of this for Hubby to help him through his cold too and I'll stick my head over the pot just to inhale the aroma of all those fab. spices. You're so sweet to plug my blog. Thank you! I'm blushing...

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    1. Why do I have a feeling that we are going to run the yummy joke into the ground? :)
      No need to blush, didn't say anything that wasn't 100% true!

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    2. OK, I'm finished with yummy. It was fun while it lasted though!

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  6. I'm pinning this recipe to make for my hubby when he gets a cold. He loves soup and this one definitely sounds delicious. Feel better soon. It was nice to officially meet you in Montpellier - sorry we didn't get to speak more...another time hopefully. Take care.

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    1. Thanks for this! And I was so nervous in Montpellier (always am when in a group of people I don't know) that I just stuck to Aidan and Jennifer--like glue! Hope you had a good time...

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    2. PS. Thanks for following along too! :)

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  7. Oh yum Heather - sounds and looks scrumptious. The boys won't eat sweet potato, but I reckon I could do this sneaky recipe and they wouldn't notice. Anything with chili and cumin gets chomped down fast in our house. With you on le creuset. Saving for another pan. Can't believe how magic they are. Everything cooks better and tastes more mellow.

    Sorry to hear of your sniffles. Hope this soup and Ben's adoring personality helped. Much love and hugs, VB x

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    1. You are totally right--with all of the spices in it, they will have NO idea that it is sweet potato--tell them it is butternut squash if you have to!! Heehee. Just kidding but you know what I mean!

      And I too would love another Creuset...One of these days! Perhaps you will have to come to FRANCE to get one!
      xoxo

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  8. Heather, your soup looks very delicious!!! I am sniffling too!!!
    Oh and Be, there is only one as him! He is ADORABLE !!
    Hugs to you dear!!! And to Ben of course!!
    xx
    Greet

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    1. Oh no! So sorry to hear that you are sick too, Greet! Sending you good energy to get better right away and I will deliver your hug to my fluffy friend. :)
      Gros, gros bisous!

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  9. Glad you're better..I detest that throaty feel when something is about to get me. I'm definitely going to make your soup, it sounds divine and right up my alley since I've taken to spicy, hot food since doing a cooking class in Thailand, and Ben is soooooo sweet looking.

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    1. A cooking class in Thailand? I am sooo jealous, cheri! I didn't get past the Bangkok airport terminal but how I love all of the food from SE Asia. I do my best to guess but it would be wonderful to really know what I was doing...Now I am hungry for Pad Thai!

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  10. I am jealous of your transition to sweater, jeans and boots. I am longing to wear mine but it is still a bit too warm :( Hugs to Ben.

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    1. Aaaah, Loree! Hang in there, it will happen soon...

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  11. The garlic and cayenne pepper is supposed to help immune function. I drink a freshly made juice with those ingredients plus ginger and orange. I usually have them heat it up a little. It's not bad and seems to clear things up. Thanks for sharing the soup recipe and hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thank you. Your juice sounds amazing Leslie. I remember a bartender from New Orleans telling me to make a tea out of fresh ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, honey and rum for a fever--it works too! But oooh laaa it is only to be taken right before going to bed...zzz...

      I am going to give your juice a go, merci!

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  12. Dear "Heather",

    This most recent posting of your makes me....well?...just really kind of sad for you.

    You talk about having colds and feeling cold and chilly and all sorts of other stuff.

    What you DON'T talk about is how all of this is your OWN fault.
    Lets' get things straight, Lady? Okay?????

    If you're feeling "sick" or messed-up?... well, that's something you're doing to yourSELF, BY yourself, and TO yourself.

    I bet, if we got you into one of our preliminary diagnostic clinics in LA, we'd find out (this will cost you only five thousand dollars, which is a DEAL...believe me and/or Will Smith and/or John Travolta)that your entire head-space is filled with damaging M-Grams from previous experiences on this planet during your current life-space/time.

    these negative force-fields from your past are damaging your inborn ability to be a superstar, and to LET GO of Remi, that stupid dog, your TERRIBLE parents, your entire family, and anything that even minimally presents itself as an obstacle to your destiny as a SUPERSTAR (whether that be in cinema,the national politcal stage, television, reality-shows, "Dancing With The Stars", or any of our Great Country's many venues for super-stardom).

    The fact Remains, Heather....you're "feeling" like you have a cold. That's complete bullshit..... that's just coming out of your undeveloped brain...sort of like when Brooke Shields kept going on about her "post-partum depression".

    It's all just bullshit, fed to you by the liberal media....and you don't need a "special" soup to cure it.

    We can HELP you HELP YOURSELF. Dont' listen to anything Minnie Driver, Nicole Kidman, or Katie Holmes says; they're all complete girlie-losers who weren't UP to THE CHALLENGE of completing themselves.

    give me a call....I KNOW I can help you out with these problems of yours.

    you just gotta BELIEVE. Go Top Gun! STRIVE for that position!

    you know what I mean?

    I think you do....

    Quite sincerely,

    Tom Cruise

    (and I'm giving you a line to my #235th personal assistant; call ANYTIME you finally feel you're ready to accept the help I/we are offering). you NEED Diatonics.

    that's just so....obvious.

    CALL: 919.245.0087

    Heather?...just pick up the phone and call. If you can't save your own life and achieve outstanding and award-winning financial/careeer success, who will do it for you?.....that's the BIG question...right?

    Call that number-------Tom







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    1. Tom, have you forgotten that I have a restraining order against you?
      My lawyers have repeatedly told your people that I am NOT interested in auditioning to be your next...whatever.
      Don't make me call the cops on you again!
      Heather

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    2. Actually,Heather, Ijust recalled that the gobbledy-gook is called "Dianetics", not "Diatonics".

      As I recall, "diatonics" are (as opposed to Mister Hubbard's musings) an actual, real thing.

      and, just to gossip?....I recently heard someone on the radio who said "I hadn't thought of it before now, but have you realized that Tom Cruise has divorced all three of his wives the year they've turned 33? What WITH that number and him????".

      It's true, by the way & weirdly enough.

      Hoping you feel better,
      Uncle David

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  13. Hello Heather

    Thank you for providing us with this recipe. It looks delicious. I make a lot of soups and this one is different.

    Does this mean that Ben is going to need an agent? I can see him at Barnes & Noble giving paw prints!

    Helenxx

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    1. Heeheehee...if you had a nickle for every time you made me smile or giggle, you would already have made enough money to pay for a plane ticket to France, Helen!
      A warm hug to you and hope that you like the soup...
      H

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  14. Oh, All wonderful! Must make the soup immediately. And Ben
    is too, too precious for words.

    Thank you!

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  15. Why is this strange danger sign beside my name.?

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    1. I don't know! It looks like something you would see on the edge of a Swiss mountainside or something. Maybe it means I need to pay extra, extra attention to whatever you write?

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  16. Hi Heather, The soup looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. With the soup and that yummy consolation prize sandwich helps, hope you'll soon be over those sniffles. Having so many admirers, yes, I can see why Ben is chuffed...:)

    XO
    Amelia

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    1. Isn't chuffed the best word? I think that needs to become a part of my vocabulary now. And between you and me, that all too Americana sandwich made me even happier than the soup!
      Bisous!

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    2. Just for the record, Heather? I never even heard the word "chuffed" until Vicki Archer wrote it in an email (regarding, coincidentally enough, my offer to send her some photographs that I'd taken of HER dog and the formidable caretaker, "Gerard", at Mas Berard.

      In any case, I also love that word/phrase. Herve (who speaks 3 languages fluently and, so, should have had enough of picking up new ones) has taken up the habit of using it....as in "Oh, he'll so CHUFFED to hear about that!".

      Is it an Australian or a British term? I lived in England for four years, but that was at Oxford, where what-you-hear is by no means what the average/normal Englishman is saying on the streets.


      ----david terry

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    3. Bah, David I have no idea but I can't say that it is a pickup phrase from Ms. Archer in the least. I did however see a charming article in the NY Times last weekend about Americans using such terms and I am not blind to the charms of other Anglophone terms. Can I blame it on Downtown Abbey? I don't know!

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    4. Hello Heather and David,

      I first heard the term used by an Air Force friend of my hubby who is stationed in England. And second time here, from Ms. Heather who is just as chuffed about bacon, egg and tomato sandwich as I am.

      xx
      Amelia

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    5. So much so that I had it for lunch two days in a row! :)
      Bisous,
      H

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  17. Stay cuddled up with lots of hot soup, Ben cuddles, and an Ethan Hawke movie marathon ;)

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  18. I hope that you are feeling better...and keep blogging. I don't comment often but I am there lurking...and would miss you :) Janey

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    1. That is so wonderful for you to say Janey! And I don't mind lurkers. We don't always have things to respond to each and every time. :)

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  19. I love your Luberon posts, please keep them coming.

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    1. Hooray! Since no one else had responded to that I was beginning to think I should stop them. Angie wins!!!

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  20. Karina wants to get her calendar order in 'tout de suite' so she can daydream about romps with Ben through the cold winter. And as for the soup, I will definitely be making that, though I'm a little wimpy when it comes to spices.

    Glad to hear your cold is better. We are back to boots, jeans and sweaters here on the East Coast as well -- in fact we have already had a couple of night-time frosts here in Concord. PLUS we had tremors last night, apparently there was an earthquake in Southern Maine.

    xox

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    1. Eeee!!!! Take care of your fine self please! Earthquakes are scary business. I graduated from high school in Santa Cruz, California and our house was ON a fault line. I got to the point where I would wake up and be already clinging to the door frame!

      Methinks Karina is worthy of a calendar too...

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  21. Oh man, I feel the sniffles creeping in too. I'm so going to use this emergency soup once the cold rears its head. I love the addition of ginger - that always seems to clear things up!

    You're from Santa Cruz?! I didn't know that! My brother went to school in Arcata and we used to drive down to Santa Cruz. I also dated a guy who lived in Soquel....but that's a different story. : ) I love that town!

    Get well soon! And no one is tired of your Luberon series! When you're better, keep 'em coming!

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    1. I don't feel the sniffles just a tired back after hanging storm windows all day today so some soup would be perfect tonight. Lucky me I have all your ingredients in the house and will try it out with your recipe. Cumin the most under used spice but personally I love it. Ok what did I miss? Ben's going to be in a calendar? I want one!

      Feel better Heather!
      XXX
      Debra~

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    2. Ella, I moved to Santa Cruz half way through my junior year of high school so I didn't live there for long but it made the biggest impression on me. I was a Goth in Pennsylvania just outside of Amish country beforehand--folks used to slow down in their cars and point at me--then poof! We moved to SC where there were guys in Zorro costumes strolling down the sidewalks! I was normal in comparison! :)

      Debra, ouch! Sorry to hear about your back but I know that you will be happy to have those storm windows up soon enough. I am a cumin addict and sneak it in all the time to give dishes a bit of smoke without the heat.
      xo,
      H

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  22. That picture of your Ben.... Sigh... heaven... xv

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  23. Prayers you're feeling better

    Thank you for the great recipe
    I like black bean chili when feeling under the weather.
    I'm going to try your soup without black beans and then with.

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    1. Thank you Maywyn! And I bet this would be great with black beans. It is really thick as is though, you might want to add a bit more of stock so that it doesn't become door stop heavy! :) Would love to hear how it turns out.
      xo,
      H.

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  24. I could do with some emergency soup today... And a beautiful dog to pat and cherish. (Can you package up both and send?)

    :)

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  25. I just "found" and subscribed to your site today through one of the Texan lady expat's post. I had seen some of your photography on a couple of other sites and when I got to your emergency soup today I copied the recipe and will try it in a few weeks when it turns cooler here.
    But I wanted to comment on the quality of your photos. You have a great eye and you really capture the essence of Provence and bring something to it. I have visited that area several times and used it for a source of many watercolor paintings. I concentrate on Paris sites at the present time, but when my wife reaches early retirement, and our daughter finishes her last degree - will it ever happen? -we hope to return for extended periods of time to Provence.
    I enjoyed your tour and look forward to many more photographs that bring back to my mind time well spent there.

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    1. Richard, thank you so very much for this incredibly kind and thoughtful comment. It made me feel like a million bucks!

      And please do come down to Provence--I can promise you that you won't be disappointed!! As much as I know and love the allure of Paris, this truly is a very special part of the world.
      Have a wonderful weekend!

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  26. Yumm I could do with a bowl of emergency soup for lunch off to the kitchen (even though I have not had breakfast)to see what ingredients I have lurking in my fridge!!
    Hope you fend off the throat frog..and have a lovely weekend Heather
    Carla x
    PS Ben is so so adorable x

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