Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

What do you do when you have 2 sweet potatoes, bacon and some cream? Why make soup of course!

Now if you are someone who likes a precise list of ingredients, I am afraid this recipe is not for you. Because I was making it up as I went along and judging what it needed by taste.

Start with 2 sweet potatoes. Bake them  at 375 F until they are soft -- mine took just over an hour. Now in your soup pot add 2-3 cups of chicken stock and stir in the scooped out sweet potato flesh. 

Chop an onion and some garlic -- I used two cloves -- and saute them in some butter. When the onion is translucent, add it and the garlic to the pot with the sweet potato and stock.

Chop 3 or 4 slices of bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and brown in the pan you used for the onion and garlic. When the bacon is crispy, drain it on paper towel.

Finely chop a jalapeno pepper. Add to pot.

At this point I used my hand mixer to make the mixture a bit smoother -- you don't want to puree it as some coarseness in the texture is nice. Now add 1 cup cream or half-and-half. Stir to blend. Stir in bacon. Add cumin and chili powder.

Looking for Szechwan in Belfast

The knitting projects I am working on all involve gazillions of stitches so it's hard to show progress. Which means no photos of knitting today. Today you get to learn about my as yet unsatisfied desire for good Chinese food in Belfast.

Belfast is a terrific town. We are kind of at the northern end of the midcoast region with Rockland holding down the other end. And in this region, we have a load of great restaurants. Belfast alone has two terrific Thai places and a vegetarian place that has been written about in major publications. True, we do not have a great pizza place but what we have is more than adequate and of course, we can get seafood aplenty. But I love Chinese food, especially Szechwan and Hunan dishes. And sad to say, this is a niche that remains unfilled.

Now we do have two places here in Belfast that serve Chinese food. Ming's, which has its main restaurant up in Bucksport, is okay  -- maybe a C. And Oriental Plaza I've heard is just not good. So my hopes went up when word came that a new place, China One, was opening here. A couple of friends said it was pretty good. This weekend we decided to try it.

Being a locavore

We have been making the effort to eat locally sourced foods as much as possible. Last fall we purchased a whole lamb and 1/4 pig to supply much of our protein for the winter. We already had fish from our participation in the CSF we belong to in the summer. So, by late November our freezer was chock full.

The lamb was sublime. We have one leg roast and some chops left as we have used it slowly, savoring every bite. Not only is the meat delectable, it is a better value than the pork, giving us more meat for the money. So this fall we hope to buy 2 lambs.

The pork has turned out to be a disappointment. There was actually very little meat. Lots of sausage which is good but we expected more meat. We had one large ham, which we brined and prepared very carefully following all pointers we could find on dealing with this kind of ham. The net result -- not good. The meat has an odd texture and the flavor is not good either. We expected that pork raised this way would not be as moist as commercially farmed pork but this was more than an issue of moisture. The boost in flavor that should have been there in organic pasture raised pork was just not there. This was especially disappointing given the contrast to the superb lamb. Whether it was the breed of pig or other issues, it was simply disappointing and not a good buy at all.

Happy Birthday, Roscoe!

Today is Roscoe's first birthday. He is still in hyperactive kitten mode flying through the house at warp speed. But any time we walk through the dining room, he rushes in, hurls himself into this box and flips over to get his belly rubbed. 

Happy Birthday, little guy!

Remind me the next time...

The next time I talk about a circular shawl pattern that I think I might do, remind me of how S L O W the going is when you get past the early rows. Here is my more than a circle shawlette version of the Snowflake Peacock -- I have 60 rows to go. I managed to knit 3, count them 3 rows in the last 2 days! But it sure is pretty with all the teeny sparkly beads that you can't really see in the photo.

It would be a lot easier if I didn't love the beads so. I think there will be around 7500 of them in it by the time I am finished.

I thought this was winter!

You know, Mainers take a perverse pride in our winters. Why live here if you hate cold and snow, after all? So seeing all the news stories about snowpocalypse and the mountains of snow in Maryland and DC and even Texas, I, and a lot of people I know, feel a little slighted. Where is OUR snow we wonder as we have day after day of bright sun and cold. And looking at the forecast, we haven't a chance of a flake until late Tuesday and not even likely then. SIGH.

The view out my front window :


And out the back --

Happy Birthday

Jung At Heart is 3 years old this week! I am grateful to all of you who come here to read my wandering thoughts, look at my photos, try my recipes, and tolerate my somewhat erratic posting schedule. Thank you!

Amille continues to fascinate. I completed the center portion and picked up all the stitches and am now in the slower, and easier, part of knitting around until there is enough length. It's pretty hard to give you a sense of what it looks like because it is all bunched up on the needle, but I got a couple of shots of the very center last night.


You can see on the left and right hand sides of the photo the diamond pattern that fills the space between the center and the beautiful edge, which is yet to come.


Here on the left you can better see the diamond pattern.

In El Nino years, we tend not to get so much snow and this one is no exception. Our last big snowstorm was New Year's weekend. But it has been COLD! Today it's almost a heat wave with the temperature right now at 35 F. But the sun is stronger and the days longer. So while it is cold outside, it is beginning to be spring on my window sill -- my lime plant is breaking out new leaves and buds.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.