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Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

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Today, the day after Thanksgiving, are you taking that picked apart carcass and making soup? No? Me neither, but to be fair, I haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving in years so I’m not usually left staring at stripped poultry bones the next day. I always go to someone else’s house, bring the pies and leave behind the leftovers. In some ways that’s good; no clean up to deal with. In other ways, it kind of stinks; no turkey-stuffing sandwiches. I also don’t get to make soup. No carcass means no soup. This year I’m traveling for the holiday and enjoyed my Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant so they’ll be none of this. I’m good with that but I do wonder where I might find a stuffing sandwich.

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I’ve been completely immersed in Olympic coverage the last two weeks. It’s pretty much all I’ve accomplished even with a trip to New York City and several Client meetings.  I watch in the morning. I watch at night. I watch late late night. I tape during the day and watch in between. And can I just say, across the board, the ladies are killing it. I’m finding the women’s sports much more exciting than the men’s this go round. Also, throughout the games, I’ve been inspired to cook with a Brazilian flair, making all sorts of dishes that fit the theme. For an Opening Ceremonies party, I made Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo) and feijoada that were both very delicious. In the interim I made Coconut Quindim, a lovely and very easy coconut flan and a tropical Fresh Mango Coconut Tea Cake. Then the other night I made this: a coconut milk based fish stew known as moqueta.
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So here we are. Like most Americans, we’re waking up in varying degrees to a food hangover. After a day of thankfulness, football and food, we’re all probably thinking about dialing it back a bit. After, of course, a breakfast of pumpkin pie. And a turkey sandwich. After all, what is Thanksgiving without leftovers?? An honest assessment of the situation is this: we are now right in the thick of the holiday food scene. The next 4-5 weeks will be full of holiday parties and more blowout meals. It’s here people and I love every minute of it.

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Man, oh man, it’s hot. It’s hot everywhere. I know it’s summer and it’s supposed to be warm but every year it just slaps me in the face when I’m the least prepared. I grew up in Arizona; you think I’d be acclimated. No way. Living in the Midwest has made me soft, temperature-wise, to both the heat and the cold. I’ve become a typically Midwesterner whiny weather baby. How unoriginal. When it’s this hot, I don’t feel like eating and I certainly don’t feel like cooking.

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Two weeks ago, to the day, I was in Budapest.  It was glorious.  Despite all the traveling I’ve done, this was my first foray into what I always considered Eastern Europe and I loved it.  Budapest is a beautiful city, a delight to walk about with interesting architecture, delicious 100-year-old coffeehouses and a wonderful history tinged with the smallest hint of WWII melancholy.  I was traveling with two friends and we did all the things you’re supposed to:  visiting historic sites like the Parliament Building and various monuments and markers, took a good soak in the Szechenyi public baths amongst their bright yellow ornate wedding cake-like buildings and paying proper respects at all the requisite churches and synagogues.  But I made sure to squeeze in some of the things I do every time I travel – at least one market visit and some intense pastry research.  There even was a trip to an outdoor museum that houses sculptures from the former communist regime.  You have to get a little bit of historic communist propaganda in while visiting Eastern Europe.

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Comfort foods are funny.  Everyone has their own particular favorites and they really can perform miracles, lifting moods and brightening days.  But there’s no reasoning with what each of us considers comforting.  I, for one, do not care for tomato soup.  It’s just not my thing.  I’m reminded of bowls of marinara and much prefer “stuff” in my soups.  Add a grilled cheese and I’ll eat the sandwich but leave the soup.  It’s always been that way.  Chicken noodle, now that’s another story.  For my mother, however, tomato soup makes her happy.  I once flew home to take care of her, post surgery, and that’s what she wanted.  So I delivered.  There are times when you put aside your preferences to please those you love.  But I draw the line at meatloaf.  That will never happen.

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I spent quite a bit of time this summer in France, and I really enjoyed the ritual of lunch. It’s no surprise really, that I warmed to this concept immediately. Family and friends gather together, usually on Sundays, for a long enjoyable meal full of delicious food, great company, conversation and wine. The food is plentiful and the wine flows freely, in our case, a large amount of lovely rose. It was summer in the French countryside after all. I was just trying to blend in. With a squeal of delight, I vowed to institute similar lunches as soon as I got home.

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