Quick Vegetable Soup from the Salad Bowl of the Philippines
The enchanted broccoli forest....
Here's a simple vegetable soup that I concocted today out of the vegetables that we bought at La Trinidad. Its fairly easy to make. I made this inside the office, not enough cooking equipment, I had to use a rice cooker. Basically, there was P300 worth of vegetables in the office, and no meat whatsoever in the ref. I could not make chopsuey, unless I used the dried small shrips. I spied on a Cream of Chicken sachet and decided to use that as the 'stock'.
Quick Vegetable Soup
1 pack of Cream of Chicken
1 L of water
1 piece of carrot (diced)
1 piece of potato (diced)
a cup of cabbage (shredded)
1 pc of green bell pepper (diced)
1 celery stalk
a dash of ground pepper
2 tbsp patis
1) Dissolve the Cream of Chicken powder in a liter of water. Let the solution boil. (Or if you have chicken stock, use it!)
2) When the water is on a rolling boil, put in the celery, diced potato and the diced carrots. Let simmer
3) Let the potatoes and carrots soften, then add the bell pepper and the shredded cabbage.
4) Add the bread croutons to thicken the soup
5) Season to taste.
The vegetable soup was a smashing hit with the office people:). Lessons learned: 1) Always stock 'Cream of Chicken' you never know when you'll get desperate to show off your culinary skills, I mean, when the need will arise; 2) Its difficult to ruin the taste of fresh vegetables, even when you use instant 'mixes' such as this.
While I was consumed with my guilt, observing the instant cream of chicken simmering in the rice cooker, I remembered a 'lecture' delivered by Chef Bel during a Vanishing Foods Symposium. Her lecture was about "Where has Sinigang Gone?" or something equally urgent in tone. Her thesis was something like this: in today's age of convenience, traditional cooking methods, such as for instance the slow cooking of sour tamarind for the authentic sinigang, have taken a nose dive because of the rise of synthetic commercial innovations such as the 'sinigang mix' and its ilk. She lambasted the creators of a Filipino cookbook (I forgot what that book was exactly) for endorsing the use of these commercial mixes in the cooking of traditional Pinoy food. Unfortunately, during the open forum, it became clear that the creators of the cookbook were also in the audience, and they defended their work with some aplomb. Anyway, Chef Bel won the first place award for foodwriting during that forum, I guess that was enough vindication for the discomfort of realizing that the object of your culinary contempt is in the audience.