Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mushroom soup

I am feeling poor for no particular reason (I never gave Bernie Madoff a single billion to play with) but that I have been fending off colds blindsiding me from left and from right (does a flu shot do any good?), and because though I had 17 jobs to work on over the holidays, last one turned in January 13, no one has called me with a new one since Christmas. Free-lancers become upset at this sort of thing. Truth to tell, I was hoping for a week or two free to go to museums and do my own writing and make some order in my apartment, and the last of these I have at least got to (amazing changes, I am no longer humiliated at the thought of bringing someone home for the evening), still: I feel poor.

So I am not going out to dinner at any of the enjoyable eateries abounding, in every price range from absurdly affordable to absurd. No, I am studying what I've got on my shelves and thinking, Hmmm. It's true I'm not much of a chef, but all the great cuisines began with poor peasants who had to make do with what they had, and that is where I shall start.

Too, I am inspired by Eartha Kitt on youtube singing and growling the recipe for "Rahadlakum" in Timbuktu (1978). Julia Child was never like this!

And there is a can of Progresso cream of mushroom soup that will serve but will need help. What shall I add to it? I hazard: cut up three cloves of fresh garlic (for my health as well as flavor) and put them with a chicken bouillon cube in a cup of water. Chop up half a dozen large fresh mushrooms. Don't bother sauteeing. Then add the soup and a hint of tawny port. Heat this slowly, over low heat, stirring. Add coriander (Mrs. Lovett's favorite spice!), paprika, sea salt and white pepper (because I happen to have them, that's why), keep stirring. A dozen chunks from the cold roast chicken I ate one-third of for last night's supper. Stir. Taste. Not bad! But a little watery. How to thicken without flour or breadcrumbs on hand? Crumple some crackers? No - there is rice left over from the extra container in my take-out sushi last Saturday. Just a forkful. Oh hell, the whole container - when else am I going to use it? Rice from the fridge can't have gone bad. Too bland for that.

It shows clear signs of being an enjoyable meal. (Add more paprika.) I wish I had some crusty bread to break up into it, but oh well. I could sprinkle cheese on top. I could add some vegetable broth if required (but it's not). Yes, it's a meal. Hope the cream doesn't go right to my sinuses. The garlic should help. (I can always add more.)

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