What is this guy talking about?… or: It is all about tools!
My first attempt of making a soup this season was successful, and yes you are in the right blog, and yes I will talk about tools.. just bear with me for a second.
I made root vegetable soup, with onions, sweet potato, butternut squash, celery root, garlic and mushrooms. But since I am spending the semester away from home, in Purchase College NY, I do not have all my favorite kitchen tools with me.
There is a limited amount of tools in the kitchen of my artist in residence apartment, and I could not find a potato masher nor a veggie peeler among them. I was giving this apartment, which is a really nice place, to allow me to live on campus and be close to the great wood shop they have here; and the woodshop is quite the opposite – It is full with splendid tools. In order to make soups I use the potato masher to crush and mash the vegetables, just before I add the water, and just after they became soft. And as you all know, not having the right tool for the job can be frustrating.
I brought with me a good 9 1/2” long chef knife to cut and chop, and also a small 3” knife to stem vegetables and to peel. With the chef knife I chopped the onions and crushed/diced the garlic cloves (I don’t use a garlic crusher).
Than I looked for a vegetable peeler. Since I couldn’t find a peeler I had to whittle away the butternut squash hard exterior and the celery root. If you think about it.. a veggie peeler is like a spokeshave, as it allow you to shave the peel, following its curvy surfaces without digging too much into the vegetable flesh. After peeling the veggies, I fried the onions added the garlic, the butternut squash and the sweet potato. I let them cook for 20 or 30 minutes and then I started thinking, how I am going to mash them? Should I use a fork, a regular spoon or perhaps my round maple spoon which I brought with me from Massachusetts? I was kind of confused, as non of these options looked very promising: Using metal tools to crush veggies inside a nonstick pan is bad, as you will probably scratch the nonstick coating, and plus you will have to stick your hand into the pot … and it is hot there – very hot. But then came this bright idea: I will load the maple spoon with the veggies and use a fork to mash them against the wooden surfaces. Doing it in the pot, half way up from the boiling stew, will save both my skin and DuPont Teflon coating.
And this is exactly what I did and it was so successful that I decided to share it with you. After mashing the vegetables I added water, mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper. I then let the soup cook for 30 minutes and voila … the soup was ready.