I am sharing this story with you to show that I was Very Serious about soup tonight. Pandora is blasting, and right now, there is a trio of recipes in various stages of production in my kitchen:
1) Minestrone via a recipe from the Food Network's Ellie Krieger. This is a key, key part of my fall and winter meal rotation. It is healthy on its own and even tastier with a big pile of cheddar cheese mixed in. It also freezes well - per the recipe, for up to four months. This batch's fate is the freezer.
2) FIRST CROCK POT USE OF THE SEASON! I got a crock pot (you may know it as a slow cooker) last winter, and although I had to get used to the idea of a meal cooking on my countertop all day while I was away - well, I got used to it. The best part about crock pot meals is that you come home from a long day of work, when it's probably either dark or cold, and when you open the door it smells like someone has been cooking a fabulous meal all day just for you. It makes you feel special, even if you must block from your mind temporarily that you were the one throwing the ingredients in at 8:00 that morning.
Anyway, this crock pot meal is a curry hodgepodge of butternut squash, onion, cauliflower, chickpeas, coconut milk, peas, and red curry paste. When I am ready to go to sleep, I will turn off the crock pot and put it into the fridge for lunches.
3) The last soup is the real reason for this post. It is called Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque, and as soon as it popped up on my computer this morning, I gasped and said, "That's strange!" Per Eating Well, it's a "satisfying vegetarian, sweet potato soup ... inspired by the flavors of West African peanut soup." If my crock pot meal was a hodgepodge, I don't know how to describe this: sweet potato, ginger, peanut butter, green chiles, tomatoes, allspice, onion, garlic. I followed instructions to garnish with cilantro, because I could top anything with cilantro. It's wonderful and has a little bit of zing and/or pep and is so different from most of what I cook. Ooh, I love it. Please try it! Look at how satisfying the color is, too: