Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Flirting with disaster

Many of us have experienced music playing in our heads, a stray bit of soundtrack that suddenly strikes us as appropos to a situation. I daresay, though, that rarely does one think of Molly Hatchet whilst making cream of broccoli soup.

The disaster began, as so many do, with good intentions.

Last night I was defrosting a chicken for tonight's dinner. This meant I had a neck, along with gizzards. I had a cache of duck bones in the freezer and three (that's two too many) bunches of farm broccoli in the fridge. I would make a broth, then add the broccoli, a little cream, and bring out my new cooking toy and puree it all into a nice hot soup on a really cold night.

Well, this bright idea occurred to me at 4:30 in the afternoon, which was a bit late for broth from scratch if we wanted to eat by seven. Never mind. I sliced leeks, carrots, and garlic, added the bones and neck, and got everything simmering.

This left me with the broccoli. What to do? If I boiled it in the broth, the whole thing would taste bitter. I decided to slow-roast the broccoli in the oven.

Big mistake. I didn't cut the broccoli into small enough pieces. The stalks remained stubbornly tree-like at 6:15. I cut everything up in the very pan it roasted in (don't try this. just don't), tossed it into the now boiling hot soup, sifted out the bones, and lowered the immersion blender into the mess.

Bad noises. Splattering. Foaming of the cream into a latte-like froth. Swearing. Hockeyman pulling himself from Hockey Night in Canada to help.

Cleaned up, sliced the broccoli more, discarding all but the florets. Immersioning again, with somewhat better results, though the broccoli disintegrated into those tiny annoying bits. I ladled the soup into bowls, grated a bit of cheese over them, and tasted. H-man said the soup was too thin--ever wonder why cream soups call for for potatoes? The cheese helped, as did the tortillas we shredded and tossed in. This sounds awful but was actually okay.

Lessons learned: cut vegetables into small pieces. If said veggies are hard, like broccoli, parboil them. Be careful about texture: thin soups are okay if they lead into a larger meal, but otherwise, add that potato.

Because Molly Hatchet is not what you want to hear in your head when making dinner.

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