Friday, November 16, 2012

Spinach, Tomato and Orzo Soup

Spinach, Tomato and Orzo Soup

It's a strange thing, music. As I sit down to write a post, my dutiful self, set up to write words on the page, I listen to Mumford & Sons Not With Haste on Pandora radio and something stirs in my soul. I suddenly don't want to write about soup, plump with orzo, hearty with spinach and tomato. Honest food, and good and soul soothing as it may be, and all I can think about is my life and the music and what it coaxes out of me. Ever noticed how some songs, all types, inspire us to be better, tell us were better, hint that we might be missing it, beckon us to open our eyes and realize who we are, what our potential is. Bono gets it.

Katy Perry says theres a spark in you, you just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine, just own the night like the 4th of July, 'cause baby you're a firework, come on show em what you're worth. Make them go "oh, oh, oh" as you shoot across the sky-y-y-y. 

And while I partly wince at my quoting of Katy Perry, I hear it again, this time with Taio Cruz in Dynamite. And I wince harder. At this point, your probably questioning my ipod playlist. I'm gonna take it all like, I'm gonna be the last one standing. I'm alone and all, I'm gonna be the last one landing, 'Cause I believe it, and I just want it all. He's probably talking about being the last one dancing in da club. But that's not all I hear.

Mumford's song I Will Wait says So I'll be bold, as well as strong, and use my head alongside my heart. So tame my flesh and fix my eyes, that tethered mind free from the lies. And I will wait. A prayer in essence. A mind free from telling myself I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, and there are other people better than me. And then waiting. Waiting to see what it frees. How it changes me.

Please, please, excuse the horrible pictures on this post. Dang time change.
Tomato, Spinach and Orzo Soup

Truthfully, I think I am good. I think I'm capable. I think I can do a good job at anything I like, or set my mind too. I think no one is equipped to be a better me than I can be. No one can quite do the job I can. I think I was meant for something more. It's just, I'm actually starting to believe it now, and it's quite thrilling. I literally can't be stopped.

When I say I was meant for something more, I don't mean other than stay-at-home wife and mother. In fact, that's all I ever wanted to be and I'm quite content. What I mean is, I think I cut myself short sometimes with opportunities or relationships or anything really, simply because I do not believe I am always worthy. Of what, I have no idea, which is how I know it's part of the lie. I can feel that I'm starting to let go and be free to live the life I was supposed to, wholly and completely, and it's exhilarating.

And so here I am, rambling on about my internal freedom and not a thing about soup. Correcting this issue now. Funny thing about soup. When I read the original recipe I had two thoughts.

A) Sounds like a nice, easy, straightforward meal with enough flavor to make it satisfying
B) If you didn't get Italian canned tomatoes and accidentally picked up regular ones or used vegetable stock instead on chicken, this could be really bland.

The answer? All of the above. It was simple and honest and would be killer with a garnish of nutty Parmesan. Great delicate flavor, but be forewarned that the tomatoes in Italian herbs makes it. Don't use regular. Italian herb tomatoes are sold everywhere. It's right next to the cans of regular diced tomatoes you usually grab. Also, chicken broth specifically will give this soup the buttery backbone needed to carry a more interesting, complex flavor. I fear vegetable stock would fall flat.

Plan to eat this soup the same night you make it. While the flavor would improve over time, the orzo would swell and take over the broth. Maybe you like that. I hate it. Also plan to eat it on a chilly night when you need your insides warmed through, the broth based soup speciality, you know. It would also be particularly good if you have a sniffle and crave clean flavors.

If you are a meat eater yourself, sausage would be an awesome addition to this. Just crumble it and saute with the onion until cooked though.

Um, keep reading after the recipe because, apparently, I haven't said enough yet...And theres a video.

Spinach, Tomato and Orzo Soup
adapted from

serves 4

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 5-oz container of fresh baby spinach
1 15-oz can diced Italian tomatoes (with oregano and basil, and sometimes garlic)
1/2 lb orzo pasta (usually half a package)
1 quart chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add canned tomatoes with its juice, spinach, chicken stock, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Add orzo and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until orzo is tender.

Serve immediately

You guys? On my playlist that day I heard all these songs? I totally played "You Ain't Never had  Friend Like Me", you know, from Aladdin? And I was jogging along (yeah- JOGGING. That's another story) and I was all high from thinking I was completely awesome singing/boasting you ain't never had a friend like me to no one AT ALL, but pretending I was telling all my friends. If you asked them they would tell you it's less because I get arrogantly carried away and more because I'm, how shall I say? Theatrical. Yes, very, which is why I jog and lip sing and imagine elaborate costumes and dance routines in my head that have me convinced Derek Hough's got nothing on me, because, remember, I am untouchable in my new found freedom. You can't stop me, no you can't stop me.

Also, since I'm being all vulnerable, I watched Anne Hathaway's opening on SNL (video below) the other night and they did a spoof on Les Miserables where they sang One Day More! which may be my favorite song from that show. It was awesome. And, I got so excited that I shot up in bed, got all stuffy, and shed a real tear. I'm pretty sure I was meant for Broadway on the days I wasn't meant for food. It's a real problem having more than one passion.