Robert Parker used to write a detective series about Spenser, a private investigator. (The series was turned into a TV show in the80′s.) Spencer was a real tough guy, but he also loved to cook. His specialty was taking the random ingredients in his fridge and turning them into something impressive and delicious. When I read the books all those many years ago I dreamed of being that kind of cook.
A week and a half ago I got a whopper of a cold. It took me a long time to feel better, and it reached a point where all I wanted to eat for days was soup.
I used to love making interesting soups. I cooked them for me and my husband all the time before I had all of these kids. They only like chicken soup. So lame.
Soups are the best if you aspire to cook like Spencer, using up what you have in the house. During my spate of illness, I did come up with one soup that was really good. Even with my smell and therefore taste compromised, it was good and my husband agrees.
A couple of years ago I started taking the stems of broccoli and trimming, cleaning and freezing them. I then use them in soups, saving the money, the food and the nutrients. Sometimes I have to shave the trunk a little if it is particularly thick, but they can be used to make a delicious cream of broccoli soup if you save up enough of them.
In this case, I used them in my most recent successful “watchagot” soup:
One large onion
4 broccoli stems, defrosted in the microwave, and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
a handful of sweet mini peppers that had to get used up, seeded and chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the onions in a tiny amount of olive oil, as they approach clear, add the minced garlic, and the celery. Heat on med. until soft. Add the can of tomatoes, fill the can with water and add. Add the seasoning. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a while – until you finish your phone call, change that diaper, answer those two urgent emails, or whatever.
Use a hand blender, mixing everything well until you get desired consistency. Simmer for a while longer; a half hour or until you just can’t wait anymore, and then enjoy.
If you don’t have a hand blender, you should get one. If you need enough recipes to justify the purchase, email me and I will load you up. I couldn’t live without mine; I have two, a dairy and a meat one.
If you have any great “whatchagot” recipes, please post them!