Experimental soup, FTW!

I am so happy that this worked out well.

Required tools: Large (8 quartish) stock pot, immersion/regular blender or food processor, spice grinder

Ingredients:
4 thick cut pieces of bacon, diced
2 medium leeks, cleaned, with tough green tops trimmed and chopped
1 T fennel seeds
1 T cumin seeds
.5 t chipotle powder
1.5 t smoked paprika
.5 t orange zest
.5 t nutmeg
Roughly 1.5 pounds of roasted winter vegetables
Roughly 1 pound of roasted pumpkin*
2 quarts of chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste

1- Fry bacon over medium/medium high heat until crispy and delicious smelling. Reserve bacon bits on a paper towel lined plate for garnishing. While your bacon is frying (trust me, it’ll be about five solid minutes, give or take), dry toast fennel & cumin in a small pan until fragrant, then pour into spice grinder and grind into powder.
2- Saute leeks until they’re softened, then add ground fennel, ground cumin, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, orange zest, nutmeg, all the vegetables (including the pumpkin) and stock. Cook until everything is heated through, nicely softened, and beginning to break down.
3- Using immersion blender (or regular blender or food processor), puree the entire stock pot down until smooth. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Garnish with bacon bits. Nom.

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Vetri’s Sherry-Charred Brussels Sprouts


Holy crap, these things are delicious. We bought two pounds of Brussels at BJ’s and found sherry vinegar at Claudio’s.

Recipe source here.

One thing: we weren’t feeling the “rub sprouts with garlic,” so we omitted and added in minced garlic to the pan right as I pulled them out of the oven. These might possibly somehow be more delicious than Brussels with applewood bacon and pine nuts.

Makes 4 side-dish servings
20 Brussels sprouts
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Per serving: 115 calories, 3 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Rub the flat side of each with the garlic.
3. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick, oven-safe skillet. Add sprouts, flat side down, and char them over high heat until dark brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Turn sprouts over and season with the salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the sherry vinegar. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Place skillet in oven. Bake until sprouts are tender, about 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Season with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, if desired. Serve hot immediately or, prepared up to 6 hours in advance, at room temperature.
2 grams sugar, 7 grams fat, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 55 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

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5 and a half hours later…and it’s still worth it!

In about a half hour, this should be full-fledged soup! Yummy! (And don’t even ask, because you know I’m sitting down to a mug of this!)

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Soup!

For me, soup is the epitome of “why would you ever buy pre-made” food. Yes, it takes a while to make, even if you use shortcuts (I’m lookin’ at you, Trader Joe’s Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Stock). But you know what? It’s so worth it. Right now, my freezers probably have about two gallons of soup hangin’ out in each, and tonight I will be making some more with the freshly butterflied chicken roasting away in my oven.

Yum.

I like making stock because, admittedly, I’m lazy. For stock, all I have to do is throw some stuff in a pot, cover with water and walk away for an hour. Pull out any meat, cook down the bones and veggies for another 45 minutes, strain and use. Often, I will try to freeze some plain stock to use in whatever recipes we’re making, but between Libertarian Boyfriend’s work schedule and the miserably cold condition of our apartment, I’ve just been making monster batches of delicious, delicious soup.

My last two batches of soup were a quadruple batch of Libertarian Boyfriend’s mom’s creamy carrot soup and my own experimental – but ultimately tasty – lentil soup. Tonight, I’m sticking with the standard chicken noodle base; shredded chicken, diced carrots, onions, celery, and (for us) a couple handfuls of shelled edamame, topped with plenty of pepper and a dash of sea salt.

Oh man, I am ready to drool all over myself just thinking about it. I can’t wait to dig into a bowl of chicken rice soup with one of these tasty, dense whole wheat rolls.

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About agorism

In light of the Joe Stack IRS plane flying tomfoolery, I wound up stumbling across information on agorism. Now, to me, it seems like a bunch of over-intellectualized jargon that boils down to a very basic concept:

Buy less shit out of stores.

Maybe I’ve oversimplified it, but there is something in that concept that really resonates with me. I love the punk rock. I love the music, the message, and the DIY ethos behind it, and that’s what I like about agorism. I might be a registered libertarian, but I’m not down with the messages of “buy more shit, support big business, for it can do no wrong” that – unfortunately – permeate too much of the dialogue surrounding libertarianism. Rather, I’d prefer to not freely hand over as much of my money and hard-earned effort supporting businesses that will then funnel money back into abhorrent tax expenditures. (i.e., the drug war, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, homophobic policies, etc.) I’d also prefer to not encourage businesses to support the same slimy governmental policies I normally decry.

How can I achieve that goal when I live in the Philly suburbs, surrounding by nothing but big box retailers? Well, aside from moving completely off the grid, a lot of it comes down to better choosing how our money is spent. Grow whatever produce and fresh herbs we can. Spend more money with private sellers (i.e., eBay, Etsy, or ideally, Craigslist). Barter when we can or just keep an eye out on our local Freecycle list. Cook. Customize or make clothing. Break the soda addiction. Spend less money at big box retailers.

In essence, if we just tried a little bit, we’d be better off in more ways than we might realize. When I was a vegan and had slightly different politics, I did just these things. (Except broke the soda addiction. That will come about angrily.) It often comes down to making an effort and an honest attempt to live life as ethically as you can.

Plus, I gotta admit, I’m a fan of sticking it to the man whenever I can.

I promise to not litter this blog too heavily with various political rants (that’s what my personal blog is for), but it’s my politics that have shaped my behavior. The personal is the political, and it’s about time we start acting it and making the small changes we can.

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