Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cold Toes and Warm Soup

     Just so we're clear- it's Texas and I woke up with cold toes!  I know people from up North love to make fun of us Southerners for freaking out when the weather gets below 60 degrees, but I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt yesterday. There's a famous saying that goes, "If you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait five minutes and it'll change." Well dang y'all, it did! Anyway....
     I woke up not only with cold toes but to the sound of our rooster informing all the animals (me and the kids included) that it was time to get up and we were all being incredibly lazy. Six a.m. and I'm still in bed, what was I thinking? As much as I hate that rooster (he's loud and mean to the other chickens) I have to smile when I hear him in the morning. He teaches me that no matter what others think of me, I still have an important job to do each and every day. Even if the importance of the job is only in my head. But by thinking that what we do each day matters, it makes the day seem a little better. If nothing else, I'm giving my kids lots of material to discuss with their future therapists.
     It was hard to come up with my first post. I wanted to share something that would set the tone for what would come later. (Yes, I know I started off complaining - what's it to ya?) I wanted something to share that was homemade, something that was historic, something that was delicious but also easy to do. I thought about what would be perfect to start with for weeks. And then this morning it hit me with a shock like cold tile on naked feet.... My grandmother's potato soup. Even if you're not a fan of potato soup, just try it. Please. Humor me. I promise it will be worth it to ya. And when you tell your family you made it from scratch, they'll be so impressed!  So here we go. This is fast to make so it's perfect for the first timer.
     This soup is also a favorite of the pigs. They get all the potato peelings, left over carrot bits, onion peel, and the like. Nothing goes to waste on a family farm.

Betty Newton Alferez's Potato Soup

6 bacon strips
3 c. peeled and chunked potatoes (takes about 2 large potatoes)
1 can chicken broth
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tbl. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. celery seed
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbl. flour
3 c. milk
12 slices American cheese
shredded cheese for garnish

     Grab a large pot and cook up your bacon til it's nice and crispy. Take it out and drain the pot to just leave enough grease to cover the bottom. To the pot, add your potatoes, broth, carrot, onion, parsley, celery seed, salt and pepper.
I chop all the veggies and put 'em in a bowl
 while the bacon cooks so I can just dump it all in later.
Check out the potatoes - see? Chunks

  Mix it up, put the lid on, and simmer until the potatoes are tender. This takes about 20 minutes.

Yeah, I know it doesn't look like a traditional potato soup, just wait...

 In a small bowl, combine a small amount of milk to the flour. Stir it up to make a thickening for the soup.  Add it to the pot , mix it up,then add the rest of the milk and bring the whole thing to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Take it back down to a simmer.  Add the cheese in small pieces at a time and stir til melted. Bang, you're done!

You need the chunks so that when you're done,
 you have some potatoes that are mush and some that have small chunks.

 Serve the soup in bowls (duh) with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese. This makes at least six bowls.
Sprinkle some cheddar cheese and crumble some bacon.

Pair it with a salad and you've got dinner. Hope ya like it!

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