It was sort of a joke when I first mentioned to Abbie that I wanted to start a blog about dinners with her. She snorted a bit when I pointed out that for some reason every time I cook for her it’s never simple. I never just get to prepare ingredients, toss them together in some fashion or another and eat. So when I offered to make Potato Leek soup on an uncharacteristically cold and raining May night I get the feeling that she was more accepting the offer of dinner solely to prove to me that it really is that easy to cook for her. Adventures do not spring from around every corner. We’re a boring couple, which does boring things.
It was only after her agreement that she realized a few things. It was 9:45 at night already, we had no leeks at home, we had no potatoes at home, and we hadn’t done dishes that day so we had basically nothing to cook said soup in. Because, well, we’re irresponsible adults with ‘better’ things to do than ‘grocery shop’ like, for example, play more Tetris. Very grown up, I’m sure you understand.
It’s with these thoughts in mind that we packed up our belongings (we had been out at Barnes and Noble building this exact site) and headed off to find an open grocery store to obtain the ingredients for the soup. I honestly expected this to be a bit more of an adventure but alas, the grocery store on the way home was open and had everything we needed for this particular recipe. It was shockingly easy… no adventure. While she didn’t say anything, I saw the ‘know-it-all’ grin forming in the corners of her mouth and I was starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, we are that boring couple. That this would end up just being another ‘daww look how cute we are’ food blog. We’re not, and this isn’t. Just keep going, you’ll understand.
When we got back to our apartment and got our groceries inside, it was roughly 10:30pm. I know the time is irrelevant but, and google if you want, most recipes for this soup take an hour, or close to it, to make. This was indeed going to be a late dinner and seeing as we still needed to do dishes maybe more like a breakfast soup than dinner. Undaunted by this, we divided the tasks. Abbie agreed to peel the potatoes while I did dishes, she would come by every once in a while to rinse, dry, and put away the dishes. I assumed we’d have a fairly steady pace but, she stunned me with the blazing speed with which she peeled the potatoes and even washing as frantically as I could, I was unable to keep up with her. She went back to working on the blog, setting up the twitter for us etc, with a few well-placed dramatic yawns to place emphasis on the hour. By the time I was done with everything and started cooking it was about 10:50, the recipe that I selected was 45 minutes start to finish so I went straight to work.
Potato Leek Soup (recipe credit to Skinny Taste)
1 Bunch of Leeks (about 4) dark green stems removed
½ Large white onion, chopped (I used green onions because I dislike white)
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
4 Cups Chicken Stock (I used vegetable stock because she’s a vegetarian)
½ Cup 2% Milk (I used almond milk… because lactose is evil.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Handful of shredded spinach
Now, I tend to scoff at recipes as a rule of thumb. My aunt Ginny ‘taught’ me how to cook long ago. She used to say that recipes are great guidelines but never, ever, to follow them directly. To do so is to be boring and your food will be without soul. It took me a long time to fully understand what she meant by that. But now I mostly just season everything to taste, add and drop ingredients as I see fit, and just do the ‘best I can’.
A note should be made that during the process of cooking, I received a phone call from a very good friend of mine so while I was dicing the veggies to quickly sauté I was having a conversation about the joys of Dark Souls 2 and other such video games and talking about the adventures of this upcoming weekend. It was as I reached the end of this, combining the potatoes with the now caramelized leeks and green onions that I noticed the soup was, in my opinion, watery. To rectify this, I did what I felt what any sane person would do: I added about a quarter cup of flour. Just to thicken it up. Of course any sane person would be aware enough to mix as it was being added, not just dump it all in and then stir while babbling about a particular katana that, at the end of the day, is completely meaningless. What I actually created was a potato and leek volcano that, while still bubbling, spewed molten flour out onto my bare skin, covering part of my left hand. The next few seconds are a tad confusing to me. I choked on a scream of pain and many swear words, and immediately stuck my hand under the cold water on the faucet, buried my face in my own shoulder and swore quite profusely. I could still hear my friend babbling about Dark Souls but it made absolutely zero sense to me. They were all just words that didn’t quite seem to fit together. I politely excused myself from the phone call and called Abbie over to stir the rest of the soup together. I informed her that I burned my hand, which she wrote off as a non-issue. I have a very low heat tolerance; she assumed that it wasn’t so bad. When she finished stirring everything together and getting the flour to dissolve into the soup to thicken it up, she shut off the heat and had a bite, while I prepared a bowl of ice water for me to soak my hand in.
So there I am, now sitting on our couch, my hand submerged in a bowl of ice water; when I asked my dearest Abigail if we had any burn cream, anything with aloe or even some ‘regular person’ butter.
“Because this really hurts.”
“We can go out and buy some burn cream if you’d like.”
“Sure… that’d be awesome.”
That’s roughly how our conversation went, at least as far as the talking went. The reality of it? So enamored with the soup was she that instead of getting ready to leave she stood over the stove, eating the soup directly from the pot with the occasional glance over her shoulder. In that moment, she was one of those ‘dog shame’ photos I’ve been seeing everywhere on the internet. This went on for what felt, at least for me, an eternity. In many ways I’m still there, on that couch watching her eat soup. She was totally in that moment of bliss where she is both completely aware of my agony, and completely uncaring of my agony. It wasn’t until she’d consumed roughly half the pot that she declared her readiness for us to leave and we went to the store.
The rest is… well… history. I got the cream and my hand is much better now and the pain, at least physically, is gone now. I fell asleep that night content in my decision to start this blog. Despite the horrid pain, I’d gotten my story and felt justified in stating, emphatically, that dinner with my beloved Abigail is never, ever, boring.