Welcome to Ruby’s Corner…
I have always been attracted to corners. The corner tables in a café, the corner seats at concert halls (easy to get in and out of) … or the safe space I run to at big, scary parties. Just put me in a corner and let me see the world with my eyes focused outward, with nothing too close behind or beside me to make me nervous about what could sneak up on me.
Ok, I’m not that paranoid. Well, not always.
Really, though, it’s a good place to be. I love being an observer. There’s something about the watching and the listening that makes me feel connected to it all~ and then in turn it makes me want to share it with you. As you spend time with me every month on Paper Saint, I want our time together to be more than words on a screen. Pretend we’re sitting at that café or at that concert making sure we can see the exit door before the concert lets out (ugh, traffic). Let’s go to the party, discuss ideas, food, music…and most importantly – people watch.
Thanks for being in my corner. -Ruby Amanfu
We all have different ways of coping in social situations. I’ve been interested in this phenomenon my whole life. When we step out into society, we each become an ingredient in Social Soup. We all get thrown into the pot and stirred up, and the end product is either gonna be too salty, too bland or just right.
When I was a child, I would sit in the bay window at home and watch the other kids play outside. I’ve always been fascinated by observing human interaction – and admittedly oftentimes exhausted by it as well. One thing I do love, though, is the study of ingredients! So here, I’ve set up social descriptions in the form of a loose recipe of Lentil Soup to describe, in my humble opinion, what makes up the majority of personalities in any given room.
You are often loud and ever gregarious. You want to leave your mark when you exit a room. You get added to the soup and can sometimes dictate its flavor because you have a tendency to be strong, to linger and to produce an after-taste. Some after-tastes are awesome and you don’t want them to leave your palate, so don’t get defensive. Just remember – not everybody likes garlic.
You bring balance to the soup – to the room. You’re usually one of the first to arrive because you can, and you won’t be considered uncool if you do. You’ve got your feet on the ground and you’ve no ego about who or what else gets added in because you’re confident that if you weren’t there, it just wouldn’t be the same soup. I mean, party. I mean … you’re so friggin’ awesome.
The Vegetable Stock-
You are more the quiet type in social situations and are perfectly fine with not really being noticed. You’re an easy flavor; easy to get along with because you aren’t overwhelming. However, your flavor might not be quite that easy to recognize … but on the whole, you’re totally ok with that.
You like to be noticed – but only as long as you are being helpful. You effortlessly pick up other flavors in the soup, while providing something substantial to chew on. You sometimes end up being the center of attention without even trying, even though the truth of the matter is your depth of flavor comes from your ability to absorb everything else in the pot. You strive to be necessary but not ‘narcassary’. I can make up words. Writer’s rights.
Which ingredient are you?
Speaking of soup – and was totally accidental for this month’s ‘Corner Conversation’ segment to be about food (but get to know me and you’ll soon find that sometimes I just can’t separate the two) – my Corner Cuisine recipe is for Apple Soup. It’s nothing like apple pie, though. You’ll probably want to have it with pork chops or a lamb roast, while ice cream will be nowhere near your thoughts when you devour it. Mmmmm … you’ll see.
Serves 4 Small Portions
- 2 strips of thick cut bacon*
- Ground cinnamon*
- 1 box of chicken stock*
- 3 medium apples* (Braeburn preferred), peeled and coarsely diced
- Two stems of sage*; remove leaves and discard stem and coarsely chop leaves
- 1/2 of a yellow or sweet onion*, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Sour cream*
Place 2 strips of thick cut bacon in a cool skillet and raise the temperature to medium high. Lightly sprinkle ground cinnamon on the exposed side of bacon. Crisp bacon on both sides but do not blacken. Remove bacon to a slotted rack or a paper towel on a plate and leave to cool.
Add the onions and sage to the same skillet and cook on medium heat until translucent. Add diced apples to the skillet and stir them into the onions. Sprinkle one ‘3 finger pinch’ of salt evenly onto the mixture and turn up the heat until you hear it sizzle and see it browning. Get a nice caramel color on the apples and remove them from the heat.
Heat half of a box of chicken stock to start in a medium sized soup pot.
Transfer onions, sage and apple mixture to the warmed chicken stock. If the stock does not cover the mixture entirely, add more stock until the mixture is just covered – but no more. Let simmer until the stock reduces slightly and the apples are soft and plump (like they would be in a baked apple pie); approximately 10-15 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
Pour the entire mixture into a food processor, blender or VitaMix. Process until rich and velvety. If it’s too thick add a little more stock. Salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer back into the soup pot if needed to heat to desired temperature.
Transfer to small bowls. Top w/ a swirl of sour cream and crumble the cooled bacon on top.
Yeah, you’ll like it.
I‘m listening to Hozier right now. I will at once confess my un-coolness and admit that I didn’t know of his music until I got asked to join his U.S. tour this fall. After checking out his music there was only one reasonable response to said inquiry: “Heck YES, I’ll go.” Heck yes, it’s that good. Heck yes, you should listen to his music immediately.
Pre-order here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hozier/id900672435
Until next time, folks. Thanks again for being in my corner.