Last night, I made tomato soup and it was not good. The saying is “if you can read, you can cook.” But that’s wrong; what it should be is “if you can read, follow directions, and use a little bit of common sense, you can cook.”
I can read, I swear!
In the cold, rainy, cuddle-weather days we’ve been having, I had a craving for some creamy tomato soup and a grilled cheese. But I didn’t want that Campbell’s canned stuff, no. I was feeling domestic. I went out to the store marching up and down those produce aisles feeling healthy. “That’s right, y’all. Fresh ingredients, suckas.” Except for basil; I couldn’t find basil. This will prove itself to be a problem, but more on that later.
My first addition to the saying: follow directions.
“Alright, what do I need to get? Celery? Nah, fuck that, I hate celery. Carrots? Onions? God! I hate all this stuff. “I thought tomato soup would just be like…..tomatoes. “Whatever.” So, with that, I chose not to buy celery (because it’s awful) but sucked it up and bought everything else because I’m really into keeping my immune system straight. Strike #1: buy the celery, Kristian. You don’t know how it’ll affect the taste, trust the recipe.
“Let’s see, let’s see….heavy cream. Where’s the heavy cre—Um. No. That’s way too big of a container. I’m only making this one time! I’m not trying to spend that much on heavy cream. What do people even use cream for anyway? Is it like milk? UGH.”
I notice a tiny ½ pint carton of whipping cream. Thinking about how little I would have left over to waste and the crazy price difference, I gladly place the tiny carton in my cart. Strike #2: It’s called heavy cream for a reason. Stick with the heavy, Kristian.
Last thing, I need to pick up is fresh basil leaves. These are nowhere to be found. I don’t know if it’s seasonal or something; don’t even know what they look like. So after 20 minutes, I give up and pick up some dried basil from the seasonings aisle thinking that’ll be okay and head to the checkout.
Everything starts out lovely. The aromas of the roasting tomatoes and the sautéing veggies, oh! I was ready to kiss myself. It’s all coming together until I reach the penultimate step: Add [¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves] and cream, if using.
My next addition to the saying: use common sense.
“A ¼ of a cup? No way. That’s an awful lot of basil.” Yes. Yes, it is, Kristian. “No. Way. No one pours dried basil in a measuring cup; that’s too much. Just do a couple teaspoons. …NO, you’ve already changed two things about this recipe. Do not question the amount of basil. Just pour it in, ya dumb.” Strike #3: Everyone, please listen, DO NOT EVER use ¼ cup of dried basil in anything you ever cook. Ever.
So my basil soup is simmering nicely. I pour the non-heavy whipping cream in and read the last step: Puree with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth.
“Hand-held immersion blender? Uhhh…..I have a regular blender…?”
So I know I’ve reached my limit for strikes, so at this point, just eject me from the game. I don’t have experience with hand-held blenders, but they have to exist for a reason.
Ladies and gentlemen, pouring that concoction out of that blender, I had produced Italian baby vomit. The consistency of that mess was unspeakable.
But, I ate it. Even though, it tasted like I was sucking on a basil bush and felt like I was licking up the remnants of a sick dog, I ate it. It had carrots, and onions, and garlic, and tomatoes, and olive oil. So many healthy things! I am not trying to get sick, yo. So, I ate a heaping bowl of it…
…and threw the rest away. (Good thing I make a baller grilled cheese.)
Tonight, I’m making seared mahi-mahi with zesty basil butter, but I’m really concerned about this butter.