“O, What a Noble Mind is Here O’erthrown!”

-Ophelia, “Hamlet,” Shakespeare, 1599-1602

I happen to like that speech of Ophelia’s. She was supposed to be Hamlet’s bride, but he went “mad” with grief. In turn, that sparked Ophelia’s spiral into madness. I wonder, since it is Shakespeare, if she did that to try to be with him, anyway.

But, as we know, Hamlet wasn’t mad with grief or sick with love, he was bent on revenge. Ophelia, his love, one of the many things illustrated that fullness of that deed can cost! And as a softie, I’m a sucker for Hamlet’s, “Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum,” line at her funeral.

It’s a tragic tale, but I only remembered it today because of poor Ophelia. Or, really, her monologue, which is the best grief-stricken speech I’ve ever heard (to date)… I wish I had written it, though I hope I never have cause to actually have to say it out loud. But, not only do people not speak that way anymore, I’d say they don’t feel that way anymore! And maybe that’s a little harsh, but I bet it’s true in more instances than it isn’t. But should every feeling be extreme?

In terms of production, sure. It takes a lot of over-emoting to make the audience feel a tiny bit, so everything has to be giant roller coaster rides of extremes. As for our actual lives, it would be way too much stimulation to walk around with such high levels of mental and physical stress (< emotion), though it’s pretty easy to do. Especially by way of depression.

One emotion tends to lead to another, albeit related one, and they feed off each other, each worsening each new feeling, each coloring the perspective with negativity.

And, wow, is it easy to get lost in this! Despite even the physical or mental toll! I’m sure it can happen with optimism, too, but, personally, it must happen without my realizing it because I can’t think of a “happiness spiral.” Since I’m a person I’m an optimist by nature, so it stands to reason that I’d only remember the “bad times” as a warning to my future-self. I don’t know if that last sentence makes any sense, but so what?

There are a lot of carrots in the fridge. I don’t know where they all came from. The easiest answer I have to get rid of them (and via cartoons, too) is carrot soup. With ginger, of course. It’ll be a nice way to use the blender (without ice) and see if it might work for crushing up some apples (for the dough starter of future-yore).

To be honest, I only had this thought. Or, once I settled on soup, I quit thinking about the “problem of carrots,” it became the “problem of production.” As for the ginger, well, I have a lovely plastic box full of sweet-smelling, powdered version of the stuff… But that only serves to remind me of what fresh ginger is, that juicy bite that gets into your nose the way that tuber-based spicies do. Sadly, my Kroger’s doesn’t sell the fresh stuff but in tiny, tiny amounts for outrageous prices. So, what to do there?

As for the carrots, well, that’s easy. I’ll roast them on a pan in the oven until soft and sweet and then pulverize them in the blender. I don’t know what to expect by way of moisture there, so I’ll have milk (2%) standing by. Whatever oil that clings to the carrots from the roasting will be fine.

On the subject of oil, once the carrot mess is a paste, I’ll flavor some olive oil by gently warming it in a pan and adding cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper… (and probably 3-5 others unknown as of now). If I’m using the powdered ginger, I’ll add a bunch of that to the oil and let all of that toast together while the mush in the blender cools a bit. Or is still blending if it takes that long. If I’m using the fresh ginger, I’ll grate it right over the blender so the liquidy-bits drip in and some of the fibers get stuck in the grater.

Either way, once all the spices have toasted in the oil (maybe even with walnuts or pecans!) that’ll be carefully transferred to the blender and mixed into the mess. That should produce a flavorful soup.

To spoil it for everyone, I’ll float a couple of frozen green peas in it.

***

I roasted the carrots (about a pound and a half?) with a little salt, but then I had the idea to use up some garlic that was drying out, so I wrapped it up in some foil with a little water, olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar to roast along with the carrots. I’m opting to go slowly, at 250F, mostly so I can do other things like shower and shave and groceries without worrying about it.

Since I have to go to the store, I had the thought of some nice herbs or something, basil being the easy grab (a little tarragon, too, but why buy a whole bunch for a little? Mint?!). But, if I puree the green stuff with the orange stuff, it’ll lose that nice orange color and look a bit …unappetizing. If I just float it all in the soup, it’ll look nice initially, but turn black with subsequent reheatings. No, it’ll have to be a stir-in garnish, which is not any way I’m accustomed to serving herbs. Cut them into ribbons? Even bother at all?

If I was to go about this whole process for the sake of nutrition, it’d be a covered pot steam, all the way. I don’t know how long that would take, but needless to say, the nutrition-soaked water would be the liquid used during the pulverizing process. I’m going for flavor, since this isn’t going to be anything other than a side dish. But to what, I don’t know.

I’m not overly fond of carrots and thinking about all of this has made me remember a tomato soup that I made once. Like all my recipes, it has a secret ingredient, in this case strawberries. It adds a “meatiness” not found in just tomato. Though, since no actual recipe exists, there could be anything else in there.

There’s a soup I made with tea once…, based very loosely on “Secret Ingredient Soup,” which is the general name I’ve given to the famous soup served by Po’s father in “Kung Fu Panda,” the first. Indeed.

I’ll blend up the garlic with the carrots. Roasting the garlic will take away most of its pungency, so it’ll be sweet like the carrots. I guess I could go with beets, too, a regular “root vegetable picnic.” I have the thought that I could puree the beets separately, put them in a squeeze bottle and swirl them into the carrot soup to serve, creating a lovely contrast o’ color. Theoretically (thus imaginatively), very artsy.

The problem is, since I’m going for flavor, not nutrition or style, the carrot/garlic puree isn’t going to be a pretty, bright orange. It’s going to be a dull, Georgia clay-water hue, worse so when I add the flavored oil with all the toasted spices (and/or walnuts/pecans/peanuts). That’s because of all the work I’m doing to bring out all the sugars and then burn them, which is more or less what roasting is. (When I do stuff like this, I miss meat, or maybe more precisely, meat-sugars.)

It’ll taste great, though.

-j.

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