Thursday, January 13, 2011

There is Nothing a Soup can not Fix

     It was nice to get back to work. Yesterday, I was afraid that we were not getting anywhere too quickly. The trek to work still was slow going. My kids were not too happy. Secretly, I think they want all plows to suddenly malfunction. After the storm we had, I kinda wondered myself. End total: 20 inches of snow. That is just overkill, if you ask me.

     The above photo is what you see as you walk into the bakery. Mike and Barb built the place from the ground up, and oddly the only thing people ask is "what is the name of the paint, that is on the walls"? You'd think I would pay attention to the paint story, nope not a chance. If you look around this is only a small portion, of the massive building that it is.
     This is the front room, very cozy in there. The pub chairs make it possible to look out the window and watch the world go by. If you look real close at the windows, there are the snowflakes we made to welcome in the winter. Only, we did not welcome 20 inches of snow.

     I joke that this kitchen I work in now, is the "Disney Princess Kitchen" because it does not reflect the dirty, greasy feel of a kitchen that pumps out 150-200 people for lunch. It is the easiest kitchen to clean, and with a little elbow grease you would invite your grandmother in to eat off the floor. I am just sayin..

     A cold snap has preceded the storm from H-E- double hockey sticks. It is so cold that even cold would say "Hey, it's cold!". When it is cold, my soups sales skyrocket. Today I sold half of my beef and barley soup. I finally cut it off, because tomorrow is a new day, and I need soup to open up, and it is Friday!!, all bets are off on a Friday. People (for my little neck of the woods) come out of the woodwork. It takes four of us, to wrangle lunch, and I am not kidding! Maybe it is the fact that I cook all the turkey for sandwiches, hmmm who knows?
     Today, I made Tomato Cheddar soup, a big seller at work. It is an easy soup, provided you have a blender. This soup is a smooth soup and a blender achieves that result. The above photo reflects the primary ingredients.

Tomato Cheddar Soup

2 containers of chicken stock
4 pounds of over~ripe tomatoes cored and diced
3 cups rough chopped celery
3 cups rough chopped onions
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup butter
2 cups red wine, box wine will do ;) why spend all the money to just have it cook off
1 bay leaf
4 cups shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 pieces white bread
1 oz softened butter
1/4 cups shredded cheddar
2 tsps butcher grind black pepper

In a soup pot melt the butter and saute the celery, onions and garlic until soft. Add the overripe tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. De glaze with the wine and add the cans of diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaf and simmer for 45 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf and puree with either an immersion blender or a standing blender. Add all back to the soup pot and season with the spices, parsley, salt and pepper.Whisk the shredded cheese in and serve. I served with cracked black pepper and cheddar toasts. Simple: two pieces of good quality white bread, crusts cut off, Spread with butter, sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and cheddar cook in a 350F oven until crisp and golden brown.

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work.~Robert Orben


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