Friday, May 20, 2011

Hotel Room Gourmet: Ham and Asparagus Soup

You may be relieved to hear that we've seen the last of the Vegas posts! There's so much to do in that city that I could write about it endlessly - but for those who are stuck at home, and far from the bright lights and busy streets of Sin City, I know the topic quickly loses its novelty. Before I launch into the next segment of our travels (stay tuned to find out what that is!) I thought I'd give you another little snapshot of our current situation.

Yep, we live near Nashville now!

Matt and I reached our ultimate destination, western Tennessee, a few weeks ago but have had the worst time trying to find a house.  We viewed several properties and drove past literally dozens more, without finding anything that was both suitable and available.  Finally we settled on an apartment - which won't be vacated until June! In the meantime, we're living the high life in a hotel.

It's nice to have fresh linens and daily access to a free cold breakfast bar, but even that doesn't really make up for the lack of a place to call our own - a closet in which to hang our increasingly wrinkled clothes, our own bed (with decent pillows!) to collapse into each night and, most importantly, a kitchen in which to cook all sorts of nourishing and delicious things.

As the weeks have drawn on, we've become more creative in our hotel room cooking.  In an effort to resist the stereotypical instant oatmeal, ramen noodles and microwave cookies (okay, maybe we didn't resist the cookies), we've become experts at poaching fish in our tiny frying pan, and whipping up mini stir-fries for two.  Matt has even perfected the George Foreman Panini - made with bagels from the morning breakfast bar.

Inspired by his ingenuity, and the unseasonably cold weather we've enjoyed lately, I decided to whip up a batch of soup using only fresh veggies and a few ingredients sourced from our complimentary breakfast. The white asparagus we bought a few days ago was in increasingly desperate need of cooking (Matt is still wary after our last experience), so that became the base of my soup. I threw in some onions and a bit of ham - stolen from Matt's sandwich supplies - for flavor, but other than that, all the ingredients came courtesy of our new home away from home.

With no stock or bouillon to add salt and flavor, it's not the best soup I've ever made, but it was palatable and certainly did the job of warming me up nicely. I also enjoyed the 'challenge' of using what we had on hand and the feeling of actually creating something in the kitchen again. If you're looking for a white asparagus soup to make at home, check out my authentic German, full-kitchen version. If you're looking for a bit of fun, or curious to see just how low I'll stoop for the chance to cook, today's 'recipe' is below.

Update: I saved a bowl for the following day and discovered that the soup really improved with an extra 24 hours in the fridge.  The ham and asparagus was a great combo and gave the soup a much more savory, salty flavor on the second day.  I'm not sure I'd use the cream cheese again but I'll definitely be making this recipe if the future!

Gotta love our green, plastic dishes!

Hotel Room Ham and White Asparagus Soup
serves two
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6-8 thin spears white asparagus, chopped (reserve tips)
1 pat butter
1 oz. packet cream cheese (optional)
1-2 cups water
1/3-1/2 cup milk
2 oz smoked or cured ham, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat butter and onions until translucent.  Add chopped asparagus and tips. Heat, over medium heat, until slightly browned and a little soft.

Add water (I used about 1.5 cups) and ham, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Water may become cloudy - this is normal, and actually makes it more tasty! Remove asparagus tips and set aside.

Carefully pour hot liquid and cooked veggies into a mini blender (yes, we also brought our wannabe-Magic-Bullet on this trip!). Blend until smooth and creamy.

Return blended soup to pan. Over low heat, add cream cheese and stir until melted (do not bring to a boil). Add milk and additional water to reach desired consistency. If desired, add additional chopped ham to soup before serving. Serve hot and be thankful it's not Ramen!

This post it linked at:
Lark's Country Heart: Made it on a Monday

1 comment:

  1. This looks so good. I am so glad to see you here at Lark's Country Heart.

    Thanks for linking up to Made it on Monday.
    I hope we become your newest "habit" :)