Soups from leftovers

Hello. I’m just checking in with the ole blog. I haven’t cooked anything all that blog-worthy this week. What I’ve been doing, in fact, is making soup from random things I find in the refrigerator all week because I haven’t felt like going to the grocery store or having a big to-do in the kitchen. Tonight I used up the rest of a batch of kimchi and some tofu I made that ended up (somewhat curiously) much softer than usual by making soon tubu jjiggae.

I didn’t follow my recipe from last time. I put 4 cups of water on to boil with a piece of kombu. After letting that simmer for 5 minutes or so, I added 1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce (just omit if you don’t have it) and 2 vegan “beef” bouillon cubes, as well as some shredded dulse, what was probably about a cup of kimchi, 3 big spoonfuls of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and my too-soft tofu, chunked, and let it all heat up. Then I removed the kombu and topped with scallions. REALLY fast and easy. Almost ridiculously so.

The whole spread; I also made some rice and I’d stopped and picked up a couple of items for banchan:

I didn’t take a photo, mostly because it didn’t look very pretty, but last night I cleaned out half the refrigerator by making soup. I had most of an onion in the fridge that had been peeled and needed to be used, so I chopped that up and sautéed it with a couple of carrots that were getting old, adding in a bunch of halved grape tomatoes near the end. What I didn’t have, *gasp*, was garlic, so I added a bunch of garlic powder (I shudder at the thought, but fortunately Penzeys’ stuff is good) and also some asafoetida just to be on the safe side. Then I added 6 cups stock and what was probably about 3/4 cup leftover homemade pizza sauce, some red pepper flakes, thyme, and parsley and brought to a boil. Then I dumped in maybe 1/2 cup lentils de Puy. and the rest of some savoy cabbage I had to get rid of, maybe a cup or so, chopped. At this point the soup actually looked fairly decent. However, after putting a lid on it and simmering for 20 minutes, the lentils made it all muddy and it didn’t look as pretty. Then I added 1/2 cup alphabet pasta and a chopped zucchini that was about to see better days and simmered until the pasta was done. I tore up some stale sourdough bread left over from the weekend’s baking, put it in a bowl, and ladled the soup over it. It wasn’t pretty, but damn did it taste good. Sort of shockingly good considering practically all of it was leftovers. It was so good I ate three bowlfuls and then could barely move the rest of the night: it was that filling. I polished the rest off for lunch today.

And that is my pretty boring post. Have you noticed a trend here? When I don’t know what to make, I throw things into a pot with some stock and call it soup. Bizarrely, it almost always tastes amazing. I don’t know why. Luck, I guess.

I’m about to build an ark here in Northern Virginia. How I miss that 90-degree weather from a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard to believe I’m having the pool opened in a week. I’m going to be out there cleaning the pool while wearing a winter jacket if the weather doesn’t start cooperating. I’m wondering if I should invest in a wetsuit.


  1. Josiane Said,

    May 6, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

    Soup is a wonderful thing! Yours sound pretty fabulous!

  2. Jes Said,

    May 7, 2009 @ 7:45 am

    Ahhhhh don’t jinx the cooler weather!!!!!!!

    And your soups look/sound great. I’m obviously a sucker for korean pepper paste. 🙂

  3. Sailu @ Indian Recipes Said,

    September 23, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    I have paneer sitting in the fridge. I’ll substitute tofu with paneer and take inspiration from your recipe and use Indian spices. Lovely!

    Sailu @ Indian Vegetarian Recipes

  4. Sook Said,

    June 25, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    Wow, your jigae looks fabulous! I’m craving some right now… 🙂

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