Soup Disasters & Banana Cream Pie

Friday Bites is my new weekly blogging experiment, where I write and reflect on the food I’ve made during the week. It will be published every…you guessed it…Friday. Let’s see what happens.  

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re…full? Not full of joy or gratitude or feelings or whatever. I mean like, you’ve been eating lots of meat and cheese and carbs and you feel like you are just…full. Like kind of bloated, but fuller? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

When I get to feeling full in the way I just attempted to describe, I crave soup. Brothy soup. This week, I wanted to make some soups that were brothy but hearty enough to keep me satisfied.

So I went for Chrissy Teigen’s vegetable tortilla soup from her cookbook Cravings. It looked bright, healthy-ish, and tasty. I skimmed over the part of Chrissy’s recipe blurb that said the soup had “the perfect kick” and went about my business.

Without question, I chopped up an entire jalapeño and threw it into the soup pot (seeds, membrane, and all). A memory flashed through my mind of the time when, barehanded, I chopped up a fresh jalapeño from a friend’s garden, and the ensuing flames of pain that came when I got the jalapeño juice (alright, fine, the capsaicin) all over my hands and just inside the rim of one nostril. My fingers and nose burned for days. I wish I were exaggerating.

But I dismissed the thought because I would never make that mistake again. And anyway, store-bought jalapeños are fairly mild, in my experience.

As I measured two entire tablespoons of chili powder into the soup, the thought crossed my mind that this might be too much for me. I double- and triple-checked the recipe, and thought, “Okay. Two whole tablespoons? Really? Alright, Chrissy. I trust you.”

The soup simmered, and I fried up some tortilla strips with excitement and anticipation. My kitchen smelled amazing, and I was so hungry. When I finally got a chance to taste the soup, my mouth had exactly two seconds to enjoy the flavor before the spicy heat hit me. I felt like the chili powder had gotten into my sinuses, and my nose started running. I started sweating after two bites, and a few minutes later my eyes started watering. I felt like I was on an episode of Hot Ones, trying to make it through one of the hottest hot wings. I kept eating the crumbled cotija cheese because it felt so cool in my mouth. I started laying pieces of cold tortilla on my tongue. M poured me a glass of coconut milk (because the only actual milk in our house is saved for baking). My skin felt hot. I was turning inside out.

Now, what really bums me out? The “perfect kick” for Chrissy Teigen is 30 minutes of sweaty, teary torture for me and additional digestion problems that come by later at an unexpected time.

Thankfully, M can hang with the spice level of this soup, so it’s all his.

And because I’m sad about the soup, I didn’t take any pictures of it. Oops.  


I don’t know what it is about barley soups, but I can’t resist them. Beef barley, vegetable barley,  vegetable and beef barley, mushroom and barley. When I was a kid, I loved the Progresso beef barley canned soup and hogged them all for myself when my parents bought them from the store.

So this week, I made a mushroom barley soup using a combination of ingredients and process from The Kitchn and Real Simple recipes. (Look at me! I'm out here, just winging it!) There were no jalapeños in this recipe, no tablespoons of spice. Just some good old-fashioned onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and barley.

There’s not much to say about it, other than it was tasty, beautiful, and exactly what I needed on a Wednesday.



The real piéce de résistance of the week hasn’t been made yet, and it probably will have to wait until the weekend. What is it? It’s banana cream pie, recipe courtesy of Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook.

Why banana cream pie? Well, there are a few reasons.

  1. Banana cream pie is delicious. Why would I not want to make it?
  2. I’ve been watching the first season of The Mind of a Chef, and saw the episode where Christina Tosi makes a tasty-looking banana cream pie with ripened-to-black bananas. I was intrigued and, also, extremely on board.
  3. Last weekend, M told the story of the best banana cream pie he’s ever had. It was so good that since then, he’s measured all banana cream pies against That One Pie. I’m up for the challenge of making a banana cream pie that will blow that one out of the water.

But when we went grocery shopping, all the bananas — and I mean ALL of the bananas — were green. And not just yellow with a hint of green. They. Were. All. GREEN.

So I’m waiting. The bananas are in a paper bag, ripening extremely slowly. It’s the first time I can think of where the making of the delicious treat is not on my timeline — it’s up to the bananas.

So maybe I’ll get to make banana cream pie this weekend. Maybe I won’t. It’s really just up to the bananas.