(Note: After I wrote about a corn pudding in my post about the Chard Tart, I got some email asking when I would be sharing that recipe. It’s up now at Amazon Fresh. Go check it out – it’s a new favorite! Depending on when you read this, you may have to scroll down a bit on that page.)
Sometimes I have these moments when writing posts for my blog when I wonder, “Am I revealing too much here?” A while ago, I wrote a post which included a story about drinking too much. And here I am again with a suggestion for good food to eat when you have a hangover. My last post was about the mixed emotions I have about my kids growing up and now a recipe that came after a night of overindulging. Is that weird?
I know a lot of wonderful women, some mothers and some not, who love their beer/wine/cocktails. I’m guessing if you stop by here often and have come to know a little about who I am, the fact that I love a good glass of wine or three will not be surprising to you. Because I am vegetarian, because I really sincerely like healthy food, because I am in shape, and because I have a dedicated yoga practice, some people might assume that all I drink is vitamin water and freshly brewed tea. But that is not the case.
Last Sunday night, I probably would have been fine if I had alternated vitamin water or freshly brewed tea with the I-lost-count-of-how-many-bottles of wine we had at our dinner party. But I did not and I woke up feeling, um, not great. I have kids who are really good sleepers but if there is one thing I can count on, it is that if I need them to sleep in a bit, they will wake up earlier than usual. And then, they will need to be entertained. And fed. The nerve.
In this particular instance, Randy was worse off than I was, so I took the boys out of the house and attempted to run them in the rain. This is a pretty standard activity for a weekend day but in this case, I was also trying to insure that they would take a nap. As I revealed in my last drinking post, I tend to feel worse as the day wears on. Last Monday was no exception. I took comfort in the fact that I didn’t have to cook that night and could just lie still for a few hours while the boys napped.
But I happened to pick up my already much-loved copy of Plenty while on my back and without searching found this recipe for Tomato, Semolina, and Cilantro Soup. Like most people, what I want to eat when I have a hangover is a huge plate of greasy eggs and hashbrowns. With a side of Tabasco. At the same time, when I have a hangover, I feel -well, puffy. I want grease but I need something really healthy and light. In this instance, because I felt particularly bad, I wanted something comforting. I also wanted something to show for myself after wasting a perfectly good holiday (Labor Day) doing basically nothing.
I had everything on hand for this soup and it came together beautifully. Now, to keep it from essentially tasting like savory Cream of Wheat (not that there is anything wrong with that), I added some texture with some small cooked pasta that I had in my refrigerator. I prefer something to chew on in my soup so I loved the noodles in there. I also thought chickpeas would be a great addition but opted to keep it simple and close to the original recipe. The soup thickens as it sits so you will want to thin it with some water if you make it in advance. I would also recommend seasoning repeatedly throughout the process because it needs a lot of salt. After eating this soup and a salad for dinner and a good night’s sleep, I felt like a new person the next day.
One Year Ago: Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in Gingersnap Crust
Two Years Ago: Chantarelle and Corn Risotto with Fresh Thyme and Basil
Tomato, Semolina, and Cilantro Soup
Adapted from Plenty
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 cups water, plus more for thinning if necessary
1½ tbsp. sugar
1 cup semolina
1 cup cooked pasta
Juice of 1 lemon
Greek yogurt (for garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Put a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the onion and celery along with a good pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, thyme, and half the cilantro. Sauté until the onion is golden and soft and the mixture is very fragrant, about another 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, another pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and the tomatoes; cook for another minute. Pour in the water and sprinkle in the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Next, add the semolina to the simmering soup in a slow steady stream as you whisk vigorously. Keep on cooking for 10 minutes whisking occasionally to avoid lumps. Add the pasta and squeeze in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Before serving, add more water if the soup is too thick for your liking. Ladle into bowls and spoon yogurt on top. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.