The Gift of Comfort

Comfort for the hurried soul

Tuesday was dinner alone for me(Dale). I had guests the night before, so I didn’t feel like preparing an elaborate meal. Potato soup was the perfect thing. As a companion to the soup, I assembled a tray of finger foods requiring a minimum amount of work.  There were olives, cherry tomatoes, dill pickles, a bread and butter pickle, a slice of sheep herder bread and some deviled eggs. A very comforting meal.

Potato Soup with Dill for Four

You will need:

2 or 3 Russet Potatoes                                     1 cup Milk or Half and Half

1 rib Celery                                                         1 teaspoon Dill Leaves

Water                                                                  1/2 teaspoon White Pepper

4 Tablespoons Grated Romano Cheese          Salt

Preparation:

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks.

2. Cut the celery into a 1/8 inch dice. The culinary term for this cut is “brunoise.” (pronouced “breen-wah.)”

Cook:

1. Place the potatoes, onion and celery in a soup pot and cover them with water. Put a lid on the pot and boil the vegetables until the potatoes begin to fall apart.

2. After the vegetables are done, take the lid off the pot and reduce the water by one half. Do not discard any of the water.

3. With a fork break up the potatoes into small chunks. Don’t mash or puree; you want the soup to be chunky.

4. Add the milk or half and half as well as the salt, pepper and dill, then stir it all together, heating it for a few more minutes.

5. Get out your soup bowls, fill and then sprinkle Romano Cheese on top. Enjoy!

Picture of Soup

Expanding Your Understanding

There are many exceptions, but soups can generally be divided into two types: clear soups and cream soups.

Clear soups range from exquisite consumes to hearty meat and vegetable stews. What they all have in common is that they have no thickening agent.

Cream soups can be made of most any meat and/or vegetable. It may sound a bit odd, but most cream soups have no cream in them. The “cream” in cream soups refers to the thickening agent. That thickening agent is the roux.

A quick definition for those who have recently joined us. A roux is equal parts of fat and flour cooked for one minute or all the way to dark brown. A roux for most cream soups is kept very light by cooking it only one or two minutes.

The next thing you need to know about soups in both clear and cream soups have a base of meat or vegetable stock. You can make that stock yourself or use any of the ready-made bouillons or broths from your grocery store.

Most soups share a flavor base called a “mirepoix.” (pronounced meer-pwa). A mirepoix is made up of celery, carrots and onions. The mirepoix can be chopped up and eaten as part of the soup or it can be left in large pieces and removed after it has imparted its flavor to the stock.

The main element of soups, whether clear or cream’ could be any vegetable or meat from artichoke to zebra. (I’ve not actually made a zebra soup, but it could be done!) The choice is yours.

Now if we put all these elements in the correct order you can see how easy it is to make any kind of soup you want.

1. Cook the mirepoix in the fat of your choice (butter or meat drippings) until the onions begin to turn translucent.

2. Add the stock.

3. Cook the main element (meats and or vegetables) in the stock until done.

4. Thicken the soup with a roux or leave it clear.

5. Season according to your taste and imagination.

Um-Um Good!

Flowers are a comfort

Food for Thought:

Comforts—Gifts from God

Comfort! What a warming word. What comforts you? Potato Soup? But what else? I’ve been interviewing people, querying them about what comforts them, and it’s surprising how different the answers are.

For example, a librarian friend said she was comforted by her German Shepherd, books and a group called Knit and Chat, where women gather to knit prayer shawls. They pray over the shawls as they knit.

My son said he was comforted by dramatic weather (the idea of being safe from the storm), hugs and good, unedited conversation.

A sister said she was comforted by her son, chocolate and aroma therapy.

A rigorous hike is a comfort to my husband Boob, and I am comforted by drawing. It unwinds my mind and slows its wordy pace.

One way we can bless God is to list our comforts, then lift each one up to Him in praise. For He is the Father, the source of all comfort (II Corinthians 1:3).

Praise is something that pleases him, for He is worthy. He’s also pleased when we listen to his guidance with an open heart. II Corinthians 1: 4 challenges us to comfort others with the comfort God has given us.

What comforts me, though, may well be something that doesn’t comfort you. But some  comforts are common to everyone? A troubling experience taught me one.

One day I spied a friend across the room. Her back was turned to me, so I drummed a little beat on her shoulder. She whirled around and…frowned. We conversed ten minutes, and never once did she  smile. It hurt because it wasn’t like her and we had been friends for eons. A welcoming smile is probably a universal comfort. It is something simple we can do for others every day.

Many years ago, I received a note a friend had penned that said, “You are a solace to me.” Wow! How blessed I was with that word. I wasn’t exactly sure why I was a solace to her, but it’s a certainty that if we discover what comforts our friends and family and offer that comfort (maybe a welcoming smile or even a square of chocolate) we will become a solace to many.

A comforting walk

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This entry was posted in Devotionals, Inspiration, Recipes, Soups, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Gift of Comfort

  1. Sallye Sheppeard says:

    This soup was so easy to make I was convinced I had done something wrong–until the guests tasted it. Needless to say, the soup received rave reviews from everyone, and it really enhanced my reputation as a cook!

    • ruthann1 says:

      Dear Sallye, I’m so glad the soup turned out well. I love getting your comments. I have some things I want to tell you. Will write more later. RuthAnn RuthAnn Ridley Inspiring Cuisine “From a chore to a joy” inspiringcuisine.com ruthannridley@earthlink.net

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