Living in the middle of a pandemic has led to many changes in many people's lives. We had to learn to live without going out of our house. It might seem that it is not needed anymore in the past years; it is most probably due to our dependence on the internet. However, it is more apparent now because it is the safest way for us to communicate these days as you can read here. For this reason, people started to adapt to these changes and live for the new normal.
However, it does not mean that everything is just all doom and gloom for most of us. Many people used this opportunity to improve upon themselves. Many have learned a new hobby or improved upon a preexisting one. The degrees of these projects also ranged from the easier ones like doing a random painting to making entire artworks. Nevertheless, any endeavor should be celebrated as we are still living through these rough times.
A Practical Hobby
One of the more popular hobbies that people started picking up is cooking. It is one of those skills that has a low skill floor but a high skill ceiling. Anyone can cook as long as you have the ingredients and utensils to make it possible. However, the difference between someone who had just started learning to the pros is quite noticeable. Not all people have a passion for creating art from food, but cooking is an essential skill anyone should have in their repertoire.
As we are living in such an advanced time, though, many tools were introduced to make it easier. For example, items like blenders, food processors, and mandolins made chopping and mincing faster and more efficient. Other things like stoves and ovens already existed before, but most of them were improved for today's standards. However, some items made it even more comfortable than ever before.
Take a look at a soup maker, one of the wonders of the current century. As we know, making soups is easy, but it takes a lot of time. All the chopping involved is already time-consuming, and it can be tiring to use a knife without proper training. Additionally, the cooking process also takes more or less an hour before it cooks thoroughly. If you are looking for a smoother kind of soup, then you might end up waiting for a longer time.
Soup makers made this more straightforward since there is hardly any chopping involved. According to Soup Maker Zone, you only need to chop it enough to fit in the pot. Add all the ingredients inside, then start the machine. You do not need to turn on the stove as it is powered by electricity. Within a few minutes, you will have a hot and steamy bowl ready for eating. It is that simple, and there are many brands to choose from when it comes to these machines.
However, soup makers are not just for everyday cooking. Christmas is around the corner, and many people would want to celebrate. Even if times are tough these days, most of us will look for ways to be happy even in a short time. Christmas is one of those occasions that can be so lonely if you are alone, so it would be best to spend it with family or friends. With the coronavirus still around though, make sure to do proper safety protocols and do social distancing.
You will still end up eating together, though, so it is essential to make something special. What could be better than a hot bowl of soup? With a soup maker, you will be able to impress without making a whole lot of effort. Even if you are just with a few people, it is a good thing to make something edible. Below are some recipes that you can explore to create that perfect meal even more special.
Easy Recipes For You
- Creamy Butternut Squash
Take half or 500 grams of butternut squash, peel, cut into small wedges, and tossed in a little oil with salt and pepper to taste. Put it in a preheated 180 degree Celsius oven then roast for 30 minutes until tender. After which, put the roasted squash in the soup maker with a small diced onion, once clove of chopped garlic, and 400 ml of vegetable stock. Use the smooth soup function and let it do its thing.
After it is done, mix in 100 ml of cream or coconut milk along with some salt and pepper. You can also use two tablespoons of creme fraiche if you do not like the other options. Blend it in for a minute or so, then serve immediately. Garnish with a little drizzle of whatever you added, and a pinch of black pepper.
- Carrot and Coriander
For this one, it is easier since everything goes in the pot. Chop one small onion, one small potato, and about 350 to 400 grams of carrots. Add a handful of fresh coriander, or spring onions if you are not a fan of the said herb. You can roast the carrots beforehand for a smoky flavor. Add in your preferred stock, and set the machine to smooth. Once done, add in half a teaspoon of ground coriander, blend for a minute, then serve.
- Mixed Vegetable
If you have a lot of vegetable scraps like onions, carrots, celery, and the like, then this one's for you. Collect at least 200 grams of chopped and peeled vegetables, but make sure that there are some carrots or onions in the mix. Add 300 grams of chopped potatoes for additional carbs, then put them all in the machine in smooth function. Adding 700 ml of stock, chicken, or vegetable works well in this application. Once it is finished add in a little cream or creme fraiche, season with salt and pepper, your choice of herbs then serve.
Forget the tomato soup in a can as no one wants to eat that unless they are already desperate. Take 500 grams of fresh tomatoes from the market, chop them up into small pieces. Add one small chopped onion, one small diced carrots, half of a celery stick, and 450 ml of vegetable stock. Turn on the machine for smooth function, and add a little cream once it is done. Serve it immediately.
Caveats Before Purchase
As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities, and most of them are also vegetarian or vegan friendly. They are great even for everyday meals, but you can make some of them memorable for the holidays. The creme fraiche is there for a more luxurious option, while cream and coconut milk is also a possibility. However, these dairy products tend to curdle in high heat so add them at the end of the entire process.
However, there are some limitations when it comes to these products. For one, the settings depend on the model. Most of the earlier brands only have the smooth function, but the newer models do have chunkier applications. It is essential to take a look at these before buying any soup maker as you may need it for future uses.
Also, there are some items that you cannot put in the soup maker. For example, tough herbs that you cannot eat like bay leaves may not be processed by the machine. It would not turn out smooth either, so there will be chunks in the broth. Also, more challenging pieces like whole cinnamon sticks will cause some machines to stop. It is more beneficial to use powdered spices instead.
Meanwhile, the blades inside the machine are usually so powerful that it makes the soup even thinner. Be careful of adding too much broth, as it can damage the device if it overflows. It will also stain the metal surface, and it can hurt the look of the soup maker. It may not hinder the performance all that much, but there will be a lot of items that you would end up cleaning.
Also, take a look at the recipe itself. There are some items that you do not want to end up being too smooth, like chunks of meat and other vegetables. Even though there is a chunky function in some soup makers, you still need to be careful as it may process it further. The taste of your soup will be alright, but you will not appreciate the texture because everything goes down smoothly. It works with some recipes, but not everything needs to be that way.
Most importantly, the longevity of the soup maker comes into question. The best brands available right now last for about a year or two. Meanwhile, some machines might end up being damaged after a year of service. It can be due to errors in manufacturing, or there are items that you added that cannot be processed by the blades. Once it gets stuck, it might be hard to get it out, and there are pieces left inside.
There are also other ways that you can take care of this product correctly. Try to clean it by hand, and avoid the dishwasher at all costs. Keep it dry at all times too, since rust may form on the surface and can cause a lot of issues.
When it comes to soups, it should not be so hard for anyone involved. However, it should also taste good as it is an entire meal in itself. Meanwhile, there are so many other applications that you can use this machine.
Aside from making flavorful broths, you can also use it as a blender. Make warm smoothies, and just keep them in the fridge afterward. There are also recipes for almond and soy milk that use soup makers so that you will have another use for this product.