Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple broccoli soup and why I never talk to my brother

“So do you guys talk a lot?” My brother’s co-worker asks us expectantly, clearly impressed that we are in the same room together so willingly.

I exchange glances with Richard, who is seated across from me. “Err… well… not really.” I say finally.

I know how it sounds. Like we have one of those forced sibling relationships – one that involves curt and stilted conversations every few months or, worse, handshakes instead of hugs.

She starts to look away, and I scramble to think of how to explain why our lack of communication is actually a good thing.

“But we don’t need to talk!” I pipe up in Richard and my defense. “We are there for the important stuff – he came out to LA to take me to dinner for my birthday, I flew out to Phoenix for this…” I continue, making a sweeping gesture at the Christmas party taking place around us at my brother’s house.

She tosses me an envious smile. “I wish my brother and I were closer.”

I nod in understanding – knowing fully well what that feels like. Richard and I actually weren’t close until the end of my sophomore year of college, and I spent most of my childhood finding him repulsive (when I wasn’t scratching his arms until they bled). In turn, he would alternate between calling me unbecoming nicknames like “stinky” and completely ignoring my existence. Given my vicious tendencies, I don’t blame him for either offense.

Today, I consider my brother like a best friend – except without the drama/fights over whose butt is bigger (mine). Our relationship is effortless and uncomplicated. It doesn’t need a lot of grooming or attention like endless phone conversations about what we did that day, or constant e-mails concerning what we just ate.

What sustains our relationship is the mutual understanding that we will always be there for each other. Everything else is beside the point.

This recipe for broccoli soup that my brother taught me how to make this weekend is, in many ways, symbolic of that relationship. The soup is perfect in its simplicity – clean, unfettered, yet dense with flavor. It contains only four ingredients, but nothing additional is necessary to make it a satisfying meal. It is good without cream or butter or the typically essential garlic.

When I arrived home at my apartment last night after my wonderful weekend in Phoenix with my brother, I couldn’t wait to make this soup for my dinner. It went together in less than 30 minutes and tasted almost as good as when Richard made it the previous night for the holiday party. The hearty soup made me feel close to him again and was another reminder that he’s there for me even when he’s not in the room.

Or, in our case, even when he’s not reachable by phone, email, text, Facebook, or Twitter.

Simple Broccoli Soup
From Richard

Serves 2

1 extra-large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
½ brown onion, diced
2 cups hot water
1 vegetable bouillon cube

Sauté onion in a large pot for 5-10 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Season with pepper. Add two cups hot water, the vegetable bouillon cube and broccoli florets. Cover and simmer together until broccoli is tender enough to puree – approximately 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree using either an immersion blender or blender until smooth. Add additional liquid (water) if necessary to thin it out. Return to stove and heat through until just under boiling. Serve immediately, or simmer until ready to eat. Sprinkle with additional pepper to taste.


Gastronomer said...

My bro and I are very much the same way, except that he likes to email me to brag about what he ate ;-)

One of my favorite posts, D.

Esi said...

Glad you had a good weekend! I talk to my sis about once a week...I think that's a good balance :) Soup sound great!

Bianca said...

Thanks for the recipe and that's a good analogy too!

Anna A. said...

It's great having bros, aint it? I love this soup - really so simple. Can't wait to hear about your weekend.

The Active Foodie said...

Phew, my brother and I aren't the only ones like that! :) Very nice post, and I love the soup idea!

mattatouille said...

Hm, this brother-sister thing is getting me to think about foodies and their siblings. Anyways, my sister and I do fight about whose butt is bigger, and mine definitely is, thanks to all the fatty food that I eat. I'm not proud of it and neither is she.

After my sister denied a bite of duck confit last week, stating she didn't like duck because she seems them waddling around at the park, I realized I still had a long way to go in transforming her into a foodie. I'm patient though.

Diana said...

Cathy - haha, I like those kinds of e-mails. Especially when I'm sending them. :)

Esi - Once a week is good! Just enough to keep each other in the loop without driving each other crazy. ;)

Bianca - Your welcome!

Anna - It was a fun one -- always nice to get away from LA for a few days.

Sonja - And I'm glad to know we're not the only ones too! I think guys are also a lot less fond of phone conversations than us gals.

Matt - Haha, aw, well she probably wouldn't approve of my next post then! We both devoured some waddlers on Friday night. :)

Jenn said...

Sometimes I wish I had a close sibling. The one downside of being an only child.

Nice soup!!

yutjangsah said...

Ah this post touches my heart. Nothing's better than that comfortable silence and those unspoken bonds.

Mariz Denver said...

I've been making this soup for ages and it's a huge family favorite.

Great data for Belden Products