The tomato soup I prepared last night should have been good. After all, I had followed The Minimalist's advice fairly accurately. First heat some olive oil, add chopped garlic and onions, and wait for the aroma. Add some fresh black pepper and salt. I use rock salt, so I threw in a few more pinches. Seven minutes later, in went three cups of chopped tomatoes and two cups of vegetable stock. I tore up some french bread and tossed it in. Within minutes everything except the tomatoes turned to sludge. Those stayed chunky in a nice soft way. Then the mixture began to boil, and the bread began to shine. Shine? This was not part of the recipe. Anyway, I put two basil leaves for decoration. It was like putting a tie on a pig.
A sip later I realized there was too much olive oil. The evidence was in my bowl. The tomato chunks had settled at the bottom with the garlic and onion, under a thick layer of olive oil. My Nepali cook - because of who I am forced to do these things - looked at it curiously and said nothing, which made matters worse, for he has an armchair opinion on all food.
Nevertheless, failure on soup is unacceptable, and it will be attempted again. But tonight's experiment is more complex: asparagus with tarragon and morels. Wish me luck.