First, a brief intro to Alexis Cooks A Vegetable.
I saw the leek at Hornbacher’s a while back and on Monday evening after doing a bit of research on what the heck those things are, I made the trip to Natural Grocers, an experience which honestly could be a blog post all on its own. Let’s agree to table that narrative for now. On a whim, I also purchased a shallot because I liked the way it looked.
Groceries put away, I stood poised at the ready to…to cook, I guess. What a foreign concept. I remained recipe-less – a strategy I learned from my mother – but my loose plan was to just add it to chicken noodle soup. Soup because I had been feeling a bit under the weather. Chicken noodle because it is forever classic.
So, there I was completely surrounded by the glory my miniature kitchen offered with a mix of pots & pans, a butter knife, my dinner plate poorly role playing as a cutting board and about six different kinds of vegetables. Alexis was overwhelmed, but determined. How hard is soup, really?
The leek is related to the onion. Perhaps they’re distant cousins? It’s only mildly onion-y tasting and smelling. It should also be noted that you can only eat a certain part of the leek – the white part. Even though the bunch of leeks may be as long as your arm, chances are the edible part is just a few inches of that.
Despite my pathetic butter knife, things were going well right up until they absolutely were not. I must admit that by the time I finished cutting the onion, the leek, and was approaching the shallot, I began to question my decision to add three onion related vegetables to this soup. Apparently, it’s uncommon to add both onions and shallots because they’re interchangeable. Who knew? Thus, in my oblivion I tripled up on the onion.
I was definitely cursing myself two minutes into attempting to mince the shallot. Taking the form of a ninja I contorted my body into something resembling a body weight squat, stretched my arms out and averted my eyes as much as humanly possible while still trying to mince (with a butter knife). Mere seconds later, my bleary-eyed vision got the best of me – it felt as if someone had quite literally strained shallot juice into my eyeballs.
Dramatically, I flung open the window wishing for an eye-wash station like the one from Mr. Vagle’s Physics classroom, and concluded that any moment longer in this apartment was one too many. Racing out the door, I paced the hallway sans glasses and proceeded to blink rapidly. By this time, the tears were running down my face and I employed the defense mechanism of systematically opening and closing my fingers in the form of a fist. I wondered if this soup business was even worth it, but praise Jesus, at least it is funny.
Finally, I settled near the mailboxes where the streaming tears slowed and still without my glasses I began to recover. It was great because just then a fellow apartment dweller made his way down the stairs. “Hi, don’t worry I’m not crying. I’m just cutting an onion thing,” I blurted to fuzzy figure. I couldn’t see his facial expression even though he was just a few feet away, but hopefully it wasn’t disgust. There’s nothing like first impressions, right?
As it turns out, the soup tasted fine. Either that or my taste buds have simply become accustomed to my cooking. I learned about the leek which you can also fry or bake or basically anything you would do with an onion except eat raw, I experienced induced tears and I met a new person. All in all, a good time!
If you now find yourself extra curious about onions, here’s a great introduction that I probably should have started with before cooking.
P.S. As an aside regarding my feeling under the weather: all signs point to this sly seven and half month old munchkin acting as the culprit. His adorable chubby cheeks, a most distinguishing feature, makes the entire prospect of being sick slightly less devastating.
Cheers to babies, the sniffles and leek-y chicken noodle soup!