Now that November is here the weather has enough of a chill in it to make hot soup a favorite for lunch or dinner. Whether your soup is made from scratch or poured from a can, there are some quick ways to “soup it up.”
When making soup from scratch, select ingredients with color in mind. We eat with our eyes almost as much as we eat with our mouth. If all your vegetables are white it will look bland. Try adding sliced carrots, red or yellow peppers, or other colorful veggies.
Even if you are only warming up soup from a can there are several ways to add flavor at home. Add some heat with ground black pepper, cayenne, cumin, ginger, or chili peppers. Even if you’re not planning on a spicy soup, just a dash or two can wake up the flavors. Add finely chopped fresh herbs at the last minute. They make everything taste better. And don’t forget the dairy. A small amount of grated cheese or a dollop of yogurt or sour cream adds a few calories but a lot of taste.
Croutons aren’t just for salad. When sprinkled on top of soup their crunchy texture provides a nice contrast. You can easily make croutons that are fresh and nicely flavored with herbs from your garden
To make croutons, begin with thick slices of flavorful bread. White bread will do but croutons made from sourdough, rye, or multigrain adds an extra dimension of flavor. You can even use leftover bagels. Most recipes call for using day-old bread. This takes advantage of the relatively low moisture content of the bread. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take eight ounces of softened butter and add 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite herbs (e.g. one teaspoon each of garlic powder, basil, and oregano). Spread the herb butter on both sides of the bread slices before cutting them into bite-sized squares. Then bake them on a tray in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes or just until they begin to brown. Watch closely to avoid burning. They should feel crisp and firm. If not, stir and return to the oven. Cool completely and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to sprinkle them on your soup.
And now I’ll conclude this post with a few “souper” jokes from the Soup Song website:
What do you call 2,000 pounds of Chinese Soup? Won Ton.
Some of the stuff that stares out of gumbo should not be allowed out except for Halloween.
Good manners: the noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.
She makes soup so thick that when you stir it, the room goes round.
A bowl of alphabet soup a day is good for the vowels.
What do ducks have for lunch? Soup and quackers.