Kathy and I see each other no less than six days a week, barring illness. With five days to exercise and a day of church, the only break the poor woman gets from me is Saturday, and with baby showers and ward parties, sometimes not even then.
So it was funny to me when I got a thank you card from her in the mail. I teased her this morning about waisting the price of a stamp when she could have easily handed the card to me herself.
"It's just more special that way," was her simple reply.
She got me thinking.
A few years ago, I made a recipe I found in a magazine for Candy Corn Soup. It was pretty mediocre soup at best, but the idea of it really made a hit. For the past two years I have tried other, much better recipes, always topping each bowl off with 3 candy corns and calling it Candy Corn Soup. The kids joyfully stir in the candy corns and then plunge in for a hunt like pre-schoolers excavating for plastic dinosaurs in a sandbox. Last night after dinner Ethan gave me a hug (yes, another!) and said,
"You sure are getting good at that soup."
I have a secret. It ain't really the soup.
It's the candy.
Sometimes special is in the tiniest details. The little extra efforts.
Like stamps and candy corns, or whatever it is in your particular bowl of mediocre soup.
This Year's Candy Corn Soup
2 boxes Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup
1 box Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Bisque
1/4 lg onion diced
2-3 tsp. fresh minced garlic
2-3 Tbs. butter
3 sausages or 1/2 lb bacon
1-2 tsp. mustard
2-3 cups cubed frozen potatos
salt to taste
Saute onions, garlic and crumbled sausage or bacon in butter until very gorgeously golden. Dump that gorgeous concoction into a pot with everything else and simmer about 30-45 minutes till the flavors blend and you start saying "Mmmmmm!" when you taste it.
Dish up bowls and top with 3 candy corns each.
For grown ups, I like to top it with candied almonds (below).
Melt 2 Tbsp butter and 4 Tbsp sugar in a skillet and cook until it gets bubbly and a little bit golden. Add 1 cup of sliced or slivered almonds (or nut of your choice) and continuously stir until the nuts are coated well and sugar becomes very golden. As soon as it turns this color, QUICKLY dump it onto a cookie sheet and spread it out evenly. Go slow and you burn it, baby. Allow to cool and then crumble it. Taste it many times as it cools. Taste it a few more times as you set the table. End up having to make another batch because you tasted it too many times. Have the left overs on ice cream.