I’m having mixed feelings about this ice cream

Jacqui and i made ice cream in her very exciting ice-cream maker. I’d never done it before and now I understand a lot about life that I did not previously understand.

However, the ice cream itself is a little weird. When we tasted it, Jacqui decided she didn’t like it and gave all of it to me; I was like, what, this is awesome! but now I’m eating it and have to agree that it is kind of weird. It’s blueberry ice cream, from a book by Melissa Clark (I am madly in love with her and not even in a platonic, admiring-her-cooking-skills sort of way), and it has a very blueberry-ful flavor but is maybe too milky and not sweet enough? Or maybe blueberry ice cream is just inherently weird? I’m trying to pretend I’m eating strawberry ice cream to see how it compares, and I think I’m probably just not used to blueberry ice cream.

Anyway, long and uninteresting introduction aside, Jacqui and I had an Important, Friendship-Defining Question during the making of this ice cream.

Blueberries and sugar cooking briefly.

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Soup ennui

I don’t really know how this post is going to work. I’ve made three very similar vegan soups from my soup cookbook, never blogged about any of them, and don’t want to type three recipes. Making them has started to become routine, easy, quick. I suppose I should branch out soon.

Several weeks ago (the same weekend as the ham hocks, actually), I made Tomato, Lentil, and Barley Soup. As of today it’s my favorite of the three. It involved onion, garlic, lentils, barley (yay!), celery, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, wine, apple cider vinegar, and parsley. Fairly standard. It was mild, warm, made me feel healthy and taken care of. And full-ish. I like the texture of barley.

So many ingredients! I am usually not this organized.

Pre-soupifying

Post-soupifying, aka cooking

 

Last weekend, with Jacqui, I made Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew–onion and garlic, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, bell pepper (which I don’t like. Why did I include it?), red wine, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, sugar. (Just typing that list of ingredients kind of made me go eurgh. I got sooooo tired of eating this.) I made this for the following reasons:

  1. I had a lot of cabbage left from the week before.
  2. I had bread that I had made.
  3. There was a quote on the page with the recipe that read, “Having a good wife and rich cabbage soup, seek not other things.” —Russian proverb

I found this delightful. I am my own wife.

I substituted leeks for the onions because I had leeks, but I don’t think this was a good idea; leeks should only be used when you can really taste them.

Jacqui took better pictures of the leeks, but my hands look cool in this one.

Always eat a banana while cooking. And look how small my kitchen is.

(No pictures of the final soup product. Just look at the picture of the other soup again. They were similar.)

The upshot of this soup was that I don’t like sweet-and-sour soup because I don’t really like sweet things or sour things. It was pretty cool when I first tasted it, though. Jacqui was all, “Ahhh!!! It’s sweet! AND sour!” And it was. I got tired of it very quickly, though, and also didn’t want my lovely bread to sog in the not-entirely-delightful liquid, so I kept eating the soup on its own and the bread on its own, which just wasn’t all that good.

Yesterday I made Chickpea and Bulgur Stew. I was choosing between that and Curried Millet-Spinach Soup, because I had spinach and have been wanting to try lots of weird cool grains lately, but ultimately it seemed less exciting than the bulgur one (and I wanted stew rather than soup). Also, the bulgur one involved buying more ingredients, which I enjoy.

Unnecessary, overly cropped closeup of bulgur. Looks like rice. Isn’t.

There were also turnips in there, and since I now know that I like turnips, this seemed like a good idea. I can now say that turnips cooked in tomatoey, watery liquid don’t really have any taste, but I am actually OK with that; at least they are not vile. And you can’t get sick of something that doesn’t have much taste. I do like the stew, though—it’s overly tomatoey, I think, but I am eager to keep eating it, especially to discover the secrets of bulgur. (I still don’t understand bulgur. I was really surprised when I bought the package of it—I thought it would be something else. I think it’s just sort of like … wheat. Like … pre-bread.)

This has not been an informative post. I think Nava Atlas might get mad at me if I keep putting her recipes online, so I will stop. Oh, I just got a good idea. Hold on. OK, I added links from her actual website.

Chickpea and Bulgur Stew (not on her website!)
From Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (I used 3 ridiculously small and slightly gross ones)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large celery stalks, diced
4 cups water
2 medium white turnips, peeled and diced
1/2 c finely shredded cabbage
1/2 c raw bulgur
28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp paprika
16-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
[You are also supposed to do something with a bell pepper at the end but I didn’t because I hate peppers, officially.]

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a yellow, sunshiney Dutch oven. Add onion and saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and continue to saute until all are golden or you get bored.

Add water, turnips, cabbage, bulgur, tomatoes, bay leaves, seasoning, and paprika. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves, unless you can’t find them.

Add chickpeas and s&p to taste. Unless you were eating grapefruit while cooking this and can’t accurately assess the seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 10 more minutes.