I have a special treat for you today: Love & Flour’s first guest post, written by my blogless friend Jenn. That’s right, Jenn does not have a food blog, or any blog for that matter. We push the envelope around here. In all seriousness, after weeks of hearing how she was nervous to write, my verdict is she is going to put me out of business. I hope you enjoy!
Expectations. It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to get caught up in external or internal requirements, benchmarks, or ideas. Perhaps it is the type of job or career we “should be” pursuing, the timeline we “should” meet that special someone, how we “should” look, how our child “should” be acting, what something “should” or “should not” be. Admittedly, I’m guilty of falling into this pattern from time to time. Every once in a while, it really takes me by surprise.
When LeAndra and I hatched the idea of this guest blog spot, I was quite excited about the assignment. Given I had consumed a beer or two, I truly believe I was in my right mind at that moment. The minor issue I had not considered about this arrangement is I am not a writer. The good news is that I enjoy food, so I figured that should be enough. As an added bonus, LeAndra promised to edit the #$% out of the material. What could go wrong? Let’s find out.
LeAndra was kind enough to take requests of recipes and particular foods I would enjoy. It was like a blank canvas of possibilities! Soup is one of my favorite things and seemed like it could inspire creativity. Images of a hearty chowder or a soothing chicken broth came to mind. After all, soup represented an idea of home, comfort, and what was known to me.
I’m not going to lie. When LeAndra handed me a container of roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup, I made my best effort to disguise my confusion with polite gratitude.
Never had it. Never considered it.
Bless your heart. Yum!
Internally, my food world was in a state of chaos. This wasn’t a green eggs and ham moment, per say. I just became legitimately concerned that I would fail. Heck, I am not a writer to begin with, but now I was supposed to draw inspiration from pepper soup? There was a little part of me that wanted to back-pedal out of this gig, but it was too late.
I glanced at the recipe, and to my surprise, there were few components. Red bell pepper, sweet potato, onion, celery, carrots, broth, coconut milk, and fresh basil comprised the list. There was something refreshing about the simplicity of this concept. I was now motivated to eat, er…get to work.
I cannot tell you much about the first spoonful of soup. After that point, I can share that I made the conscious decision to slow down, release my expectations, and really focus on what I was tasting. I became acutely aware of the layers of sweetness from the red pepper and fresh basil. This was showcased by the sweet potato now transformed into a delicious, pureed broth.
It didn’t remind me of home but I liked my new destination.
Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups broth (I used chicken broth)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 T fresh basil
- Roast the sweet potato and onion at 375 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Place the celery, carrots, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat and cook for a few minutes.
- Next add the roasted sweet potato, roasted onion, and roasted red peppers followed by the broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Puree with an immersion blender, or allow to cool and then puree in a food processor or blender. Before serving, stir in the basil.
I roasted my own red bell peppers for this recipe. To do so, simply place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and place in an oven heated to 500 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, turning at least twice during roasting. The peppers are fully roasted when the skins are wrinkled and charred. Remove the sheet from the oven and immediately cover with aluminum foil. Allow the peppers to rest for 30 minutes or until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Before adding the roasted red peppers to the soup, be sure to remove the stem and seeds. Source: the incomparable Ina GartenI do not have an immersion blender, so I use a stand blender or food processor to smooth out my soups. It is very important to allow the soup to come to room temperature before pureeing it in a stand blender or food processor. NEVER put hot soup in one of these appliances as the liquid will expand and make, quite literally, a hot mess.