Asparagus Pale Ale Soup
Lately, I’ve been struggling with a creative plateau I can’t seem to push myself past. A dissatisfaction with everything I make. The recipes that just don’t seem creative enough, the photos that I can only see as average, and the sub-par writing. I’ve been trudging through this phase, trying to push myself, and the things I create, closer the level I want to be on.
A few days ago I came across this quote from Ira Glass that reminded me that although I’m not where I want to be, I just might be on the right path.
Because maybe discontentment is the only common thread of successful people. Maybe it’s dissatisfaction that pushes anyone towards the best self they can ever achieve, and maybe complacency is an anchor into mediocrity.
I don’t know if I have more talent to unearth in myself, or if I’ve squeeze every bit out of an average ability, but Ira Glass did give me hope that the struggle is part of the journey. And it’s a normal part.
I see this struggle in brewers, too. The ones that make the jump from homebrewer to successful brewery owner share that same dissatisfaction, the push to be better, learn more, create great beer, and master the simplicity of classic styles. The biggest leaps in potential comes from feeling self-dissapointment in the middle of your own celebrations. When everyone else is cheering your accomplishments, you are taking inventory of your short falls.
Seasonal and special release beers are brewers pushing the levels of their own creativity. A way for the rest of us to thoroughly enjoy the fight these talented, creative, souls are engaged in to push themselves higher in their own climb.
Hop Cuvee is a newly released pale ale from Bison Brewing. It’s a beer that has an accessible, balanced, hoppiness that uses three different types of hop as a celebration of the best hop crops of the years. It’s crisp and citrusy with notes of pine, it’s a great choice for summer. Dan Del Grande, Bison’s fearless leader says, “My hop blend in Hop Cuvée will change every year, like a vintage, to reflect the best crops that our organic hop farmers have to offer.” Bison is a great brewery to get to know, they have a love of great beer, and have figured out how to give it to us in a way that’s organic, eco-friendly, and aims for a lower carbon footprint every year.
This is a beer that celebrates seasonal crops, making it perfect for the asparagus that just came into season. It finishes the soup to give it a bit of an earthier taste. I prefer this soup warm, but it can also be served as a chilled soup when the weather jumps into the triple digits.
Asparagus Pale Ale Soup
- 3 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 large sweet white onion chopped
- 2 pounds asparagus trimmed
- 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup pale ale
- In a large pot or Dutch oven heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the broth and cook until asparagus has softened, about 10 minutes, remove from heat.
- Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender, puree until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream and return to heat, brining to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, stir in beer.
ashley – baker by nature April 15, 2013 um 10:28 pm
You are one of the most honest and inspirational bloggers I now, Jackie! And I absolutely love you for it.
Now, how about you send some of that gorgeously green soup this way, please.
Jackie April 16, 2013 um 10:02 am
Thank you Ashley!
Averie @ Averie Cooks April 16, 2013 um 2:31 am
Plateaus and not feeling like things are quite clicking. Yes, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it lasts a week, sometimes it lasts much longer. But if you wouldnt have said anything, never would have known. Every thing you post seems ridic crazy creative and inspired!
Jackie April 16, 2013 um 10:03 am
Thanks Averie! I’m glad to know that other people go through it too, makes me feel better 🙂
Cassie | Bake Your Day April 16, 2013 um 6:09 am
I am feeling this exact same way right now and it’s getting me down. Glad I am not alone. I love this soup, truly. With pale ale in it, I might be able to get Paul to eat, and like, asparagus soup!
Jackie April 16, 2013 um 10:04 am
I love reading what Ira Glass said because it made me feel like the dissatisfaction I feel is actually a good sign, that I should be grateful for that part of me that expects more out of myself.
ashley – baker by nature April 16, 2013 um 6:09 am
Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies April 16, 2013 um 6:44 am
I’m pretty knew to blogging, so this was something nice to hear early on!
This soup looks amazing, btw. I love asparagus and feel like I never get creative enough with it (mostly because I just want it in and around my mouth ASAP — but I’ll definitely be trying this soup!)
Happy Valley Chow April 16, 2013 um 6:50 am
What a fantastic idea! Definitely need to try this, sounds like a delicious recipe.
Happy Valley Chow
Ashley April 16, 2013 um 7:44 am
What a powerful quote to find! I’d agree with its truth, though it’s not exactly fun to endure the "I’m getting better but am still not where I want to be" phase.
And I assert you are tremendously creative and have a fantastic road ahead of you. Your cookbook, for one thing, is something I can’t wait to see and share with my friends who are beer fanatics. Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried has worked spectacularly (my dad can’t stop raving about the beer cheese I made). And you’ve offered some new and delicious brews I never would have tried. So persevere and know we’re all here to offer encouragement and support whenever you need it!
Jackie April 16, 2013 um 10:05 am
Thank you so much Ashley!!
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies April 16, 2013 um 2:33 pm
Well, obviously I would not recommend a juice cleanse (ha), but when I went a week without cooking, I felt SO much more creative and focused when I got back into the kitchen. Maybe find a way to take a little time off? I don’t think there are any food bloggers who don’t go through these funks once in a while. And I agree with Averie, if you hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have known–I do not see a creative plateau at all when I visit your blogs!
Leah April 17, 2013 um 4:19 am
Really looking forward to this soup! White or green asparagus?
Purabi Naha April 17, 2013 um 10:46 am
Now this is something really really delicious!! I loved this recipe and the picture is so good….it makes me drool!
Natalie || The Devil Wears Parsley April 18, 2013 um 7:36 am
Jackie, thanks for such an inspiring read. My husband hates that I pick out all the little things I see as imperfections, without recognizing or acknowledging the better things. I’m glad I’m not alone in this!
Love that the Bison beer is eco-friendly, organic, and overall cares about the planet. Thanks for the reminder; I’ll have to pick some up!
Organic Dan April 22, 2013 um 2:37 pm
As always, you never cease to amaze! The recipe sounds absolutely killer–and the photos are fantastic! Glad you loved the beer and look forward to sharing a beer with you one day.
Best of luck on the cookbook. If you ever need anything from Bison, don’t hesitate to holler our way.
Jackie April 22, 2013 um 3:34 pm
Thank you Dan! and I’m very much looking forward to the day we can chat over beers as well 🙂