I promised to bring you another delicious recipe today, so I’m glad I’ve found the time to follow through. I realized over last weekend that it would be easy for me to talk about recipes I’m actually making during my own week. I have plenty of recipe ideas stored in my head, and in my family’s archival cook book, but they say “you write what you know.” and what better way to get to know the food I’m selling you than to prepare it myself?
For me food is very sensory. It’s not just the act of consuming a meal that delights, but also the smells that fill the house and the warmth of a bowl in your hands. Last week in Colorado it started to get cold! Folks, this was not a test run — it snowed a few feet and then dropped into the teens at night. And what goes better with a snowy evening than a hot bowl of soup, the smells of which have been filling the house for hours?
This week I decided to use that elusive ingredient that I talked about most of us lacking in our cooking repertoire: time. You can’t keep a bottle of it on the shelf to season your foods to perfection, you truly have to let things sit and simmer and unfold in their own beautiful way in a pot. For this reason, I love the crockpot. It is so easy to dump everything in and come back hours later to a complete meal. When the cold weather crept in I thought of an old family favorite — potato soup. I believe our family recipe for this one resides in my mom’s head, not written down anywhere, but I figured I could google a recipe and find nearly what I was looking for. It’s also always fun to make a new take on a tried and true recipe, and that is what I chose to do this time.
I’ll caution that the crockpot recipe I made this week did involve more than just dumping each ingredient in a pot, but each extra step was worth it to me, and there are easier ways to complete this meal than I did.
When I found this recipe and saw that it called for bacon, I was adamant I was going to get the deli-cut bacon from the meat department, rather than buy the pre-packaged stuff. It was my day off and I knew I had *time* so I wanted to spend the day in the kitchen like my dad used to do, chopping and simmering and sauteing until things were just right. I also knew that the deli counter is intimidating for me. Some of you may have heard of the “impossible task” for people who are anxious. Interactions like those that occur at a deli counter, or a bank teller, or any other place where I have to interact with strangers in ways that are new or unusual for me, can easily be classified as my “impossible task”. My dad would certainly scoff at this — he was a frequent meat counter user, always trying to get the freshest and the best cuts, or asking the manager at the counter to separate these porkchops from those, because he only need this many, etc. I grew up watching him do this as a child, spending lots of time grocery shopping, so it should be easier, but alas, it is not and I frequently avoid it despite the better quality. As stupid as it sounds, this time I walked right up and had a pleasant exchange with the man behind the counter, and he helped me grab 15 slices of this amazing Jalapeno Applewood Smoked Bacon, and that was it. It was that easy to avail myself of this service that’s always available to me. It was great!. And if you know me at all you’ll know that’s basically all the important food groups to me in one slice of heaven!
I bought my own cheddar cheese instead of the store bought stuff, I substituted greek yogurt for sour cream, and I also substituted fresh parsley for dry. After this last substitution was made I honestly thought the meal could have done without any parsley at all. I don’t know what flavor I believed parsley to have, but the smoky flavor it added to my dish was a bit deeper than I was looking for. That’s not to say it wasn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed the milder flavors before the parsley unleashed it’s flavors.
The happiest substitution I made was on the final night I ate my potato soup. I had run out of chopped bacon and I saw my jar of pickled onions sitting in the fridge. Their homemade and I love vinegar so I put them on a lot of things and the brightness seemed kind of necessary after the parsley added that smoky flavor. Let me tell you this was the best decision I made. I pickle my own onions (white vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar) and I think everyone should keep a jar around for times like this to brighten or lighten up a meal. They can go well on so many soups, salads, burgers, tacos.. just yum.
Overall, the soup was absolutely delicious. It satisfied the need I had for something warm and cozy to enjoy at the end of these frigid days, and as I was cooking only for myself it provided dinner for most of the week. I enjoyed it every night and would definitely make again, if I wasn’t trying out new recipes to bring to you each week!
Also see my bonus recipe below!
Microwave Scrambled Eggs
This is the easiest breakfast I have ever made, and I am certainly a happy camper when I eat this to start my day.
I prefer to use a silicone cup for ease of cleaning: crack two eggs into the cup, scramble with salt and pepper to taste. Microwave on high for 1:20 on edge of rotating microwave plate. After they are done, take them out and add toppings as you please, mix well — I like a tablespoon of bacon bits and a tablespoon of cheese, then microwave for another 30 seconds with the toppings, mix again and you’re all done! Pictured here is a tablespoon of cheese with a spoonful of my favorite bbq sauce from back home (thanks Mom, and Moonswiners).