Remodeling a house can sometimes feel like Christmas. You pick out that special gift you want, let’s say it’s a flooring tile, and mark your calendar for the day that it’s going to be installed. The days drag by slowly as you imagine a shiny new bathroom, and the dirty old broken tile will finally be forgotten as you gaze at the new. And then suddenly – the big day is here! You wake up giddy with excitement knowing that TODAY IS THE DAY that your new floor will be installed!
Unfortunately, some of these days do not go exactly as planned, like yesterday, when halfway through an installation I checked on the progress only to realize that they were installing the wrong damn flooring. I then had to sheepishly tell the workers that, “ummm, excuse me, but it seems as though you’re installing something ugly and could you please take it up and come back another day with the flooring I actually wanted? Please and thank you.” And then I realized that Christmas had not come early for me, and I have house guests coming this week that are going to have to use a bathroom with exposed broken tile, and then I wondered exactly how inappropriate it would be to have a vodka tonic at 11am.
But instead, I’m turned to the next most comforting thing besides vodka: pancakes. Well, a version of them. Hoe cakes are a simple Southern classic, where essentially you take your favorite cornbread batter and instead of baking it in skillet, you fry it up like a pancake. And let’s be clear – this is Southern style cornbread, not that weird sugary stuff the Northerners eat. To top it off I loved this black eyed pea salsa – it’s fresh, light and adds a bit of crunch to the soft hoe cakes.
Look, the lesson here is when life doesn’t go your way, don’t turn to vodka. Turn to pancakes. They don’t have rehab for pancakes. Fact.
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of my family collectively groaning and lamenting that this recipe would be so much better if I would just add the chicken back into it. Sorry everyone, but I don’t eat chicken anymore, and my life has continued on just fine.
That being said, I have been on a quest for this soup since meats have disappeared from my diet. Chicken noodle soup used to be one of my favorite comfort foods, and it’s one of the only things that I really missed. Sure, there are vegetable noodle soups, but most of the ones you see in restaurants are catch-alls for cooks that are trying to use up vegetables that are about to go bad. Nothing I’ve ever seen has been the kind of soup that I want to curl up with on a cold day in winter.
The key to creating a great noodle soup, and the element that has caused me the most frustration, is in the broth. Most vegetable soups incorporate tomato which tends to dominate the taste and is nothing like the simple taste of a basic chicken broth. However, once I discovered Jennifer Perillo’s corn broth, I had finally found a simple base for a delicious veggie noodle soup. I made a big pot early one afternoon and ended up eating it all day long – I absolutely couldn’t get enough. It completely embodies the comfort food I’ve long been missing in the winter months, and is the perfect companion for a chilly day.
Bring it on winter. Bring. It. On.
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Ya’ll, I had planned on writing a post about how I had this feta potato salad at The Corner Kitchen in Asheville last summer and it totally rocked my world and I had to come up with my own recipe and so I made this and it was awesome and I hope want you all to enjoy it too. But then I found out today that I have to have a ROOT CANAL. TOMORROW. And so instead of an entire post you just get one really long run on sentence because I can’t focus on anything else.
This is totally lame and I should be able to focus better and write what I had originally planned. And I actually am feeling better now that I found out I’m going to have to pay less than I originally thought, because when the girl this morning gave me the itemized list of my expenses she left out a period, and so instead of one item reading $24.20 it read $2420. Punctuation counts kids, stay in school.
Of course, maybe someone who knows more about dentistry would know that an item that should only be $24.20 couldn’t possibly cost over 2 grand, but I don’t know this and so basically every time I go to the dentist I feel like a prime candidate for financial rape. Like, if she had told me that it would cost $10,000, and if I got it to them in cash by this afternoon they might be able to save my life, I probably would have been screaming at a bank teller within the hour. Same goes with my car – I can’t help but feel violated every time I leave my mechanic. I mean, how can a fucking battery cost $400?? But then of course they make me feel like if I don’t pay the insane cost they’ll give me back my defective car, and my breaks will probably fail and I’ll end up killing some poor pedestrian or myself and it will all be because I didn’t pay the $200 ransom for the battery. So I pay. Every time.
(This is probably not something I should be writing on a public site. It’s like I’m asking for it. Like, in a financial sense I have just put on a skimpy red dress and left my drink unattended at a party. A party filled with my future dentists and mechanics)
Sorry, this has absolutely nothing to do with feta potato salad. But this potato salad is really good and you should totally make it. And please don’t associate it with root canals. It’s probably best if you just look at the photos and forget this post ever existed.