We all start blogging for different reasons. Documenting a journey, venting emotions, dealing with stress or tragedy, finding some creative outlet, using up spare time, the list goes on and on. What no one tells you when you start blogging,though, is that at the end of the day, the part that you will cherish the most is the connections you will make. The people you will cross roads with.
I know many will argue that the virtual world is no place to “meet” or “get to know” anyone but if you have tried blogging for a while you will know that there is a precious connection that you can share with your readers, fellow bloggers and people you meet on this journey. A connection you can only feel with people who share your passion, who understand the spark of madness that is in every creative soul.
Through the past two years of blogging I have come across many people. Some made me smile, some made me furious,others made me think, and then there were those who opened up new worlds to me and made my life richer. Yet, the ones I cherish the most are the ones who inspired me.
Today I am trying to write a farewell to one of them.
Lisa Cifelli (or as we affectionately called her Lis), one of the founders of the daring kitchen and the person many of us consider the life of the daring kitchen. Lis passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday.I am still trying to get past the shock of it.Lis was the life force behind the daring kitchen. A group that I love dearly. She brought together amazingly talented and creative bloggers and created an atmosphere that is supportive, inspiring , challenging yet friendly. I fondly remember that the first thing I did when I started this blog was apply to the daring kitchen!I waited anxiously for the reply and jumped with joy when I was accepted. Going into the member forums for the first time made me feel like a kid on an adventure! I have learned so much from the daring kitchen, I met some of the most creative and wonderful bloggers I know, I faced challenges I would have never attempted on my own, I grew as a blogger and as a person and all of that would not have been possible without Lis.
Lis wrote a little intro for every challenge. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a passion for life that really shines through her words. You can’t help but smile when you read her words and month after month I found myself looking forward to her playful intros. I came to know Lis a little closer , when I hosted the homemade cheese challenge. Even through emails, her big heart, gentle spirit and devotion were touching to say the least.
I have written and rewritten this post for 4 days and yet every time I feel like my words don’t do her justice. She was one of those people who manage to touch your heart even after the shortest encounter.The news of her sudden and unexpected death brought me to tears. Maybe it is true that I have never met Lis face to face yet I feel a deep loss at her passing. Lis inspired everyone each and every month to rise to the challenge, to believe in themselves , to do their best, laugh at the mistakes, learn from them and to get up after every fall. Those lessons transcend far beyond the kitchen.
Lis, thank you for every lesson and every smile. For the inspiration and the challenge. For being one of those people that make life richer for everyone around them.
You will be deeply missed.
The last challenge that Lis introduced was this November’s Daring cooks challenge.
Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!
Sopa Castellana or the soup from Castilla, is a bread soup based on a strongly flavored stock. There are many variations of this soup in which you can add all kinds of vegetables, meat, spices, herbs, dried fruits and even poached eggs.
I chose to go the simple route this month. I made the tomato soup form Extremadura. I really loved the soup, the flavors were simple , clean and comforting in the autumn cold
I stuck to the challenge recipe with a few exceptions. I used red peppers only because that is what I had on hand. I roasted the peppers to add a smoky flavor to the soup. I chopped half the tomatoes and pureed the other half to vary the texture.My last modification was that I toasted the bread in a pan with some butter, garlic and parsley to add more flavor to it.
Thank you Begona for the wonderful challenge.
Tomato Soup from Extremadura
1 kg mature tomatoes
1 baguette (French bread)
2 red pepper (roasted and peeled)
3 garlic cloves
1 and 1/2 liters (6 cups) of meat/chicken/vegetables stock
4 large eggs (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Peel and chop half of the tomatoes, reserve
Puree the other half of the tomatoes, reserve.
Cut onion and peppers (capsicums) in small pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a pan, and saute the onion for 4-5 minutes
Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes
Add chopped peppers (capsicums),and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 more minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes, vegetable stock and cook the soup for 10- 15 minutes for the flavors to blend
When you are ready to serve poach the eggs (you can find a tutorial on how to poach eggs perfectly here)
Toast sliced bread.
Place 2 slices of bread in each plate
top with soup and the poached egg
Place some garlic parsley toasted bread on top
To make the garlic parsley toasted bread
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan
Add 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped and stir until you can smell the garlic
Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped parsley and stir for a minute
Add the bread that you have cut into cubes and stir until the bread is toasty and golden brown