It’s nearing the end of the semester here in colleglandia and business is hectic as ever. Between giving a presentations, preparing for final exams, wrapping up end-of-semester homework, going to classes and going to work, the only thing I’ve been able to do in my few spare minutes is wish the days were just a little longer. Needless to say my shelf in my apartment’s fridge has been feeling quite lonely lately, stocked with little more than a two-month old jar of pesto and a bag of organic baby carrots (ideas anyone?). It’s times like these when college foodies whip out their best strategies to feed themselves well even when they really don’t have the time. In under a half an hour, you’ll have a delicious meal and enough leftovers to get you through college crunch time. And thus I present you with College Survival Tip Number 1: Everything Soup.
Step one: Scour your kitchen for garlic, onions, carrots, celery or any other similar vegetables. Look hard, there’s always something hiding in the back of the fridge. Note, if your celery flops instantly to the side when held vertically, or if your sweet potato is nothing but a shriveled sphere, please compost or throw out and convince your roommate to lend you some ingredients. This may require some serious buttering up. Gather all edible vegetables (as many as you can–you’ll be thankful later), clean appropriately, and chop into bite-sized chunks. Add to a large pot and drizzle generously with olive oil, and let sweat on medium heat until all veggies begin to soften. Next, look in your pantry for canned beans or dry noodles, and add a lot or a little depending on how hearty you like your soup to be or how sparsely stocked your pantry is. Now, scrounge up a box of stock, some bouillon cubes, a can of brothy soup, or salted water. Add enough liquid to the pot to cover the veggies, noodles and bean. Add more liquid until you reach a desired consistency. Add whatever basic seasonings you have, which is probably salt, pepper and hot sauce. Just don’t add too much hot sauce or you’ll have to buy a gallon of milk to cool your mouth down (and if you buy a college kid a gallon of milk, you’ll probably have to buy them a package of cookies to go with it…) Let cook, covered, for as much time as you have before you need to run out the door, or at least until the veggies are cooked through. If you’ve successfully made a very large pot of Everything Soup, put enough in the fridge to pull you through crunch time, and put the rest in the freezer for later (and write a sticky note so you don’t forgot it in there for a year). Find a clean dish (I myself prefer a jar or a mug), fill it with your delectable creation, and pat yourself on the back for making something delicious out of ingredients you never know you had, and earning 10 points towards becoming a college culinarian! Well done. Now, go study.