In order to make a good book, a break-out novel, you have to have inherent conflict, opposing forces that both want something.
This is my house.
I want to not eat meat.
Everyone else wants to eat meat. I think it’s wasteful to make separate meals all the time (no-meat, meat).
So, like any good protagonist, I’m attempting to convince Shaun and the dogs to eat vegetarian meals. But, I am easily bored so I give the recipes a humorous writer-twist. And that brings us to this squishy squash soup recipe that I made this week. It was creamy and delightful and you can add things to it like cilantro!
Squash Me Up Soup Recipe
It’s squash. It’s soup. It’s creamy. It’s orange. That’s got to be good, right?
- 2 TBSP Unsalted butter
- 1 Leek (all chopped up)
- 1 Butternut Squash (3 – 4 pounds, cube it up)
- .25 tsp nutmeg
- .5 tsp black petter
- 4 tbsp sherry (More if you just got rejected)
- 3 cup vegetarian stock
- 1 cup milk (the full-on fat kind because you are a starving writer)
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- sherry vinegar (to taste)
- salt (to taste)
Find a medium stock pot and melt the butter in a medium stockpot. Turn it on medium-lowish heat. Feel like this is how your book feels – sort of mid-list, sort of squishy. Ponder with angst.
Once the butter is melted, stop staring at it and put the leeks in there.
They have to sweat.
So do you, right? Writing is sweat for the heart, grit for the soul, an endurance sport.
Stir it once in a while. That’s how your agent responds to you, right? Once in awhile. Stir until the leeks are soft but not brown.
This takes about 5 minutes.
This is much quicker than anything in the publishing world.
Except mean tweets. Mean tweets are fast.
This looks kind of cool. Admire the leeks. How your book is like them. Good smelling, soft yet not burnt.
Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper, and some salt.
Stir it around once in awhile for another 5 minutes.
Add the sherry.
For the next 2-3 minutes let the sherry hang out in there.
If it is not against your religion, drink sherry straight from the bottle. That’s just what happens when there is nobody helping you cook.
Do not judge yourself. That’s what reviewers are for.
Add enough stock to barely cover the vegetables.
This is sort of like the publicity budget for your book – just enough to cover the basics.
Drink more sherry. Wipe it off your chin.
Okay. It’s breakout novel … I mean … soup… time.
Turn the heat to high. Make it boil.
Feel satisfied. That’s success right there.
Now reduce the heat to a simmer. Control that simmer like you control your readers’ emotions and keep it there for 20 minutes.
The squash should be fork tender like your readers’ hearts.
Add the 2 tablespoons cream.
Blend until smooth.
This is scary because it is hot so be careful. If you are using a regular blender and not an immersion blender DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE! This is like a manuscript. You can’t just throw it all in there for two seconds and call it good. There are steps to blending just like there are steps to revision.
Add however much salt, pepper, sherry, and sherry vinegar you need to make it taste good.
If it seems bland go raid the spice rack and add cumin or curry or open the fridge and squeeze some hot sauce in there – a TB or more to taste.
Once it is in the bowl, put cream on top so it seems fancy.
Dog Verdict: WHERE IS THE BACON?
Man Verdict: This would be better with bacon, honestly
Carrie Verdict: Cilantro is the new bacon!
I’m on WERU today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. EST. You can call in and ask me stuff. I’ll be talking about writing and books. The link is here.
TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME
Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.
Dogs Are Smarter Than People
And finally, the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.