I'm just posting the prep picture here -- let's just say that this pretty array of ingredients was the high point of this batch of soup. Sometimes things just don't come out as good as we were hoping . . .
In J.D. Salinger's Seymour: An Introduction, Buddy re-reads a letter from his brother Seymour. He writes: "You've been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart's choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself."
That's my approach to cooking, in a nutshell: I cook what I'd most like to eat. And I'm blessed with a spouse who's happy to eat whatever I make, and kids who do make an effort, most of the time . . .