Curtis Aikens' Abc Soup
- A is for vitamin A. We all know that Vitamin A is found in carrots, but it's also found in green vegetables like Asparagus and Artichokes
- 1/4 to 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 artichoke bottoms (hearts) cut into quarters
- B is for Broccoli. Former President Bush was famous for not enjoying broccoli, but his wife Barbara loved it, and she was dedicated to the cause of reading, all across this country. I hope you'll join me in thanking Barbara Bush for all of her work with literacy.
- 2 heads of broccoli (and their trimmed stalks) cut into pieces
- C is for Carrots, yummy! I love carrots; they're sweet, crunchy and good for the eyes, teeth and bones.
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
- D is for Daikon, a vegetable used a lot in Asian cuisine. It adds a wonderful flavor to soup.
- 1 medium daikon, peeled and cut into pieces
- L is for Lemongrass, which is used a lot in Asia. If you can't find it, you can substitute a little lemon juice, or a little of its peel.
- 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass or 1/2 teaspoon yellow lemon peel, grated
- M is for Maize, the Native American word for corn
- Kernels of 3 ears of corn
- N is for Nutmeg, a wonderful spice that smells good too!
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- O is for Onion. My favorites are the big white ones, the sweet yellow ones, and the Spring green ones
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch of green onions, diced
- V is for Vegetable; the Vegetable of your choice that isn't in the pot yet (maybe cabbage, squash, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic cloves, anything you can think of!)
- V is also for Victory. While I stir this soup, I thank God for my Victory over illiteracy. Not only can I read wonderful recipes, I can write them too, for you to read and to enjoy preparing!
- W is for Water, which won't be necessary if you cover the pot while the soup is simmering (this may be a good moment for you parents to explain to your kids how liquid evaporates, or rises in the form of steam).
- If your pot is uncovered, add 1/4 cup water
- If you plan to use a lid, you can chop some Watercress or Water Chestnuts, to make sure that there is a "W" in the soup.
E is for Eggplant, not usually found in soups, but eggplant works, especially if you can find the small green Thai eggplant. You don't even have to peel them, just remove their caps. If you don't find Thai eggplant, purple eggplant will do nicely! 12 small Thai eggplant or 1 purple eggplant, peeled, diced and slightly sauteed in olive oil
G is for Ginger. A fabulous root spice, the best of which comes from our 50th state, Hawaii. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Ginger root, peeled and very finely chopped.
H is for HOT. If you like your soups spicy hot, you can add Habanero peppers, which is the hottest pepper of all. Not everyone appreciates Habanero; in this soup they are optional and should be handled by grown ups only! 2 to 3 Habaneros, seeded and finely diced
I is for Ingredients. This is what cooks call all of the things that go into a recipe. I have never found a vegetable that starts with the letter I. If you can think of one, please let me know!!
J is for Jicama, a delicious root vegetable, which is quite popular in the tropical regions of the world, and looks very much like a potato. 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and diced
K is for Kohlrabi, a great vegetable that comes in red, green and sometimes white. The leafy top and globe shaped bottom are all good to eat. A few diced kohlrabi leaves or 1/8 cup kohlrabi bottom, peeled and diced
P is for Pepper, the black kind. I was once asked if I could pick only 2 spices, which ones would they be. My answer? Salt and Pepper! Pepper to taste (in a pot of soup like this one, 1 teaspoon is a good place to start)
Q is for questions. My question: Have we forgotten anything, like maybe a delicious green vegetable that belongs in our soup? I say Yes! Let's revisit "C" and add some Celery! 1 small bunch of celery, diced Q is also for Quarter. We need a Quarter cup of liquid; you can add water or vegetable juice for broth, which should be combined with 1 teaspoon of butter for a smooth texture.
R is for Rosemary, a herb which goes wonderfully in soup. 2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
T is for Tomato, one of my very favorite things to put into soup 4 red Tomatoes, diced T is also for Thyme, another great herb. 1/4 teaspoon Thyme Which sounds like "Time", something our soup also needs. After our alphabet has been completed, bring the soup to a quick boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
U is for "You"; make sure that you add something that You enjoy. My soup is always made from vegetables, but You may want to add fish or chicken or ground meat. Saute or grill it first, with a little bit of salt and pepper
X is for no vegetable that I've ever heard of. If you can think of one, I hope you'll let me know. In the meantime, did you know that some people write the letter "X" as the symbol for a kiss? So when you have a steaming bowl of hot soup in front of you, you might want to blow a kiss into it; it's a lovely way to cool it off.
Y is for Yams. Here in America, Yams are a variety of sweet potato. 2 medium Yams, peeled and diced Y is also for Yukon Gold, a yellow-fleshed potato which will help to make our soup nice and thick. 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
Z is for Zucchini, one of my favorites! 3 medium Zucchini, sliced into wheels
Method: Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Your broth will be slowly created in the process. Check your seasoning during the cooking process, and add spices to taste. You may want to add 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil to thicken the broth and to add richness.
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