One of the more famous comfort foods would be soups. A warm bowl of soup on a cold, furious or snowy weather is the perfect antidote to all the gloom. It’s like a loving snuggle or a burst of sunshine with rays strong enough to melt the icicles gathering on the eaves of the house. Hot and flavorful soup beats the cold mist with steam, fogging up eyeglasses as one nurses spoonful after spoonful of the broth. Soups recipes bring about this cheering feeling, reflecting the care the cook nurtures a pot of broth or stock, with which most great soups start out.
Hot soups can be as hearty as the ingredients you put on the pot. Meat, poultry and seafood provide the much-needed protein in both the broth and as main or supplementary ingredient. Vegetables, herbs and spices contribute vitamins and anti-oxidants that give soup its medicinal properties. In fact, in Chinese herbal medicine, soup with special herbs and ingredients are often prescribed to cure an illness or malady. Perhaps that’s why chicken soup is often given to those with colds and flu.
A delightful broth is made from simmering special ingredients matching to the soup recipes. For chicken soup, the cook boils either the whole chicken, its bones or just parts of the chicken. Vegetables are added into the stock for more flavor. Same goes for making beef, fish and vegetable stocks. Other ingredients that can be added after the whole soup is made include pasta or noodles, common in Asian style soups.
While meat is standard in soups, there are also all-vegetable soups. Try the Austrian cabbage soup, barley vegetable chowder (a thick soup with seafood or vegetables), or the more colorful carrot soup or corn soup.
Soup recipes also tend to be thin and watery. But if you want something a bit richer, try the thick and creamy soups. Examples include cream of cauliflower, artichoke, pea and vegan broccoli-cauliflower. There are also nut soups like the African peanut soup and the chestnut soup.
While soups recipes is ordinarily regarded as hot and cooked in boiling temperatures, there are also cold soup recipes that bring the same comfort. But they are more stimulating because they are served chilled. After cooking briefly in heat, this kind of soup is allowed to cool because the flavors come out more in that temperature, as well as the ingredient itself. Classic cold soups are tomato or fruit-based. Try the blueberry soup thickened with tapioca or the berry buttermilk soup which combines the tanginess of both berries and buttermilk. The chocolate soup is pretty much like hot chocolate but this one is served chilled, prepared with dark chocolate, milk and cream with cinnamon for that special taste.
The aroma of apple pie wafting through the window is a classic image of our childhood where we would anxiously wait for the pie to be cool enough to eat for afternoon snack. The comforting scents of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar is great to just unwind to after school or dinner. Delis and pastry shops have their own pies that may be preordered and purchased ahead of time, but nothing beats making the pie in the comfort of your own home, given the right ingredients.
Preparing apple pies may give us memories of our grannies and mothers, and this is an example of a recipe that may have been passed from homemaker to homemaker, that it has been nearly a family secret. This classic fall or summer dessert may be eaten with vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel syrup, providing a contrast of hot and cold, which can be quite delightful to eat. Making the pie is quite simple and necessitates a few standard ingredients, which can be obtained in the grocery, or if you have access to an apple tree, in your own backyard.
The most preferential apples to use for pie-baking are Golden Delicious apples. These green and slightly tart apples hold well during the baking process and the tartness contrasts with the sweetness of the butter and sugar. For optimal results, cut the apples thinly and layer them with the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg filling.
The flaky crust is one of the textures to look forward to apple pie, which can be achieved by correct mixing of ingredients. Mix the flour with the butter or lard well until it resembles cornmeal and be sure that the water is very cold. A technique is to not over-knead or over-handle the pie crust, as this may alter the texture. Although there are pies that have a double crust, there are some that have a lattice top crust or just have one crust with brown sugar crumble on top.
This classic dessert is best dished out with tea to counteract with the sweetness, especially after a meal. During snack time, milk or juice may be served with this. This is also a special potluck share for family lunches, particularly during Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. It may also be bequeathed as gifts or giveaways during Christmas. The satisfying flavors and aroma of this delicacy reminds us of that time we look forward to this warm afternoon snack or dessert.