A Winter’s Meal

Art By Ladyholder

Title: A Winter’s Meal
Author: Ladyholder
Fandom: NCIS, SGA
Relationships: OFC/Bates, Markham/Stackhouse
Genre: AU
Wordcount: 2,902
Warnings: None
Summary: Cooper gets back from Earth and wants a touch of winter comfort
Author’s Note: This is thanks to the Mods on discord who drooled over various winter soups and thought it would be good if Cooper could make them. And there’s a surprise at the end for anyone who gets the munchies!
Beta: None

 

“It’s winter back on Earth,” Beryl observed.

Jones glanced over at her from his desk. “And that has what to do with a city sitting at the equivalent of the equator on this planet?”

“She got infected with the pumpkin spice movement on Earth. Our quarters are currently subarctic,” Gene explained. He was sitting at the table in the non-working corner of the kitchen. Spread out before him were four decks of cards. He was busy removing all the unneeded cards from each pack before he started shuffling them. “Jones? We’re only going to have eight jokers if I just use the ones from the new sets.”

“What’s the condition of the set we’re replacing?” Jones asked. He pulled his tablet computer out from under a set of clipboards before spinning in his chair to face Beryl. “So? What are you thinking?”

“Well, I left Earth before I got to really enjoy winter,” Beryl said slowly.

“You hate snow,” Jones cut in.

“I do,” Beryl agreed. She eyed the cards Gene was showing her and shrugged. “The cards are worn, but it’s not like we don’t know that we all use jokers to screw with each other. Anyway, I hate snow, but I do like the food winter means.”

“You want soup,” Jones surmised. He eyed the cards as Gene started folding them into the new deck. “Don’t add that one, Gene. It’s got a stain on the backside. Why do you want soup, Beryl? We’re in the tropics. Let’s have ceviche instead.”

“I hate fish,” Beryl reminded him. “But sure, let’s put that on the menu. Not just the shrimp things that Marta brings in, but some of the white fish and the langoustine things. We can use the bituu for the citrus taste.”

“We got some avocados with the last batch of supplies,” Spenser called. “And the red onions are looking good, so’s the cilantro.”

“The tomatoes are also looking good,” Beryl said. “I also have a few bags of masa that we can use to make a lot of chips and tortillas.”

“Sold,” Jones said. “I’ll add some other things from the same general area of cuisine to round out the meal. And I’ll make sure there’s some non-fish items.”

“Right, figure out how to work it into the meal plan for the week. And check with Marta about getting a triple order of seafood from her,” Beryl directed. “Anyway. Soup. We can do a seafood based one, but I want cream of potato, plain, with sausage or with bacon. Beef barley, stuffed with all sorts of veggies, tomato soup, minestrone, a purely vegetable soup, chili, chowders, fifteen bean soup…”

“Stop, you’re making me hungry and I ate a half hour ago!” Marcus called as he walked into kitchen. Jason was following behind him, laughing at his plight. “I’m going to put in a request to have all of that and some bread to sop it all up. Because that stuff sounds delicious.”

“Oh…,” Beryl cooed. She turned to look at Jones and waved a hand at him.

“Right. So, bread: white, wheat and sourdough, corn bread, bread sticks and what else?” Jones asked as he started tapping at the tablet.

Beryl pursed her lips and rocked a bit on her feet. “Crackers?”

“We have a recipe for that?” Jones asked, turning to look at the other baker on the city. Stoddard eyed him critically and then shrugged. “We do seem to have a recipe for that. We’ll give it a whirl.”

“I will eat whatever you produce as a taste tester!” Marcus promised as he pulled up a chair to the table. “How many jokers do you have in that deck?”

“Somewhere north of twelve?” Gene said as he divided the deck out and handed a stack to Marcus. “Shuffle.”

“Don’t they have actual card shufflers?” Jason asked as he settled into place beside his partner.

“They do and I looked into them while I was on Earth,” Beryl admitted. “But the damn things require D-cell batteries. I can’t justify them.”

Jason grimaced at that. “What about talking to the engineers to see if they can come up with something that recharges?”

“There’s a thought,” Gene agreed. “Don’t know how we’d do it, but it might be a fun project for them. I’ll reach out to Dr. Z and see if he has someone who needs something to relax with.”

“Simple engineering as a way to relax?” Beryl asked. She walked over to stand behind her second and peered at the supply lists he was putting together. “I don’t like that one,” she said as he settled on a cream of potato recipe. “I don’t want to use a flour roux for the soup. It tastes funny.”

“Hmmm,” Jones hummed his agreement and flipped forward to another recipe. It was one they had hashed out between them and they both liked it beyond all the other options they had. “If I was going to be an asshole, I’d suggest we use the purple ones.”

“Ha. Use those in the vegetable barley soup,” Beryl suggested. “They turn cream of potato soup grey. We’ve got sour cream, right?”

“Yup, the kinda-cows are doing excellent and that first wheel of cheddar we made before you left should be ready to eat now,” Royce said. She waved a hand towards the dairy fridge. “I mixed up a large batch of sour cream yesterday because we’re having baked potatoes tonight.”

“Huh,” Beryl muttered. She patted Jones on the shoulder and wandered out to check out the new item. She snagged a spoon on her way out of the kitchen so she could taste it. The color of the cream was a bit more yellow than what she saw on Earth, but it looked right, smelled right when she spooned up a small amount and tasted right as she tried her dollop.

Walking back into the kitchen she grinned at Royce. “You make delicious sour cream, Royce.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Royce called as she started laying out the oiled and seasoned potatoes for baking. “We can make the batches overnight and when we used bituu, it worked a treat as a souring agent. It lasts about a week, but honestly, we don’t need it to last for much more than a day.”

“Fair,” Beryl agreed. She settled into place at the table and leaned into Gene’s shoulder as he shuffled cards. “So, we can make a huge pot of cream of potato soup and then divide it into three. One plain, one sausage and one bacon.”

“You really hate making a roux, don’t you?” Jones asked with a grin.

“I don’t like the flavor it gives the soup and it’s a legit pain in the shoulder to make it. Can you imagine making enough roux to cover three pots of soup that can feed the horde? One pot of soup with it is enough.”

“Gumbo?” Gene asked with a begging look at her before turning it on Jones. “With andouille sausage?”

“Do we have any andouille in the deep freeze?” Beryl asked Jones.

“Hmm, lemme look,” Jones said before he started tapping at his tablet, fingers moving quickly over the screen. “Yeah, you ordered a couple hundred pounds and we have it divided into amounts that will work for gumbo for the expedition.”

“Excellent,” Gene said with a smile. He swapped out half of his deck with Marcus and started shuffling the new cards into his previous set. “So, when do you think you can do this?”

“When is the next Sunday?” Beryl asked as she pulled out the small tablet she’d picked up on Earth and logged in. “Two weeks.”

“We’re not doing it as the day after meals, Beryl,” Jones said firmly. “Sunday meals are enough of a pain in the ass to put together. Adding in the prep work for all those soups and breads? We’d have a mutiny.”

“Point,” Beryl agreed. She tapped a finger against her lips and jerked her attention away from contemplating soups to think about actual logistics. “Three weeks? That would let us get any meats in, prep out the seafood, the vegetables, stocks and also, the Daedalus will be in that week, so they can enjoy it too.”

“And we can send them home with some to buy us some more goodwill,” Royce observed.

“The MS for the ship likes our bread too,” Stoddard called over his shoulder as he walked out of the kitchen.

Jones snorted softly before he shook his head. “Right, I’ll add that in so we can have a good-sized bake for them too.”

“What’s on the menu tonight?” Jason asked. He was busy craning his head around, trying to figure out what was happening in the room at large.

“I thought you just ate?” Beryl teased.

“That was Marcus and I’m hungry,” Jason said with a shrug. “I knew we’d be coming down here, so I thought I’d see if I could score food.”

“You walked into a kitchen to talk to people who deal with food on daily basis and hoped to get fed? Really?” Jones asked. “You’ve been in here enough to know where the food for our crew is. Go serve yourself. Jeeze. Act like we don’t want to feed you.”

“Ha,” Royce called as she maneuvered the trays of potatoes into the main oven. “The issue is we do want to feed him. And every other person on this city.”

“Right?” Jones asked. He glanced over at Royce and raised an eyebrow at her as she stood in front of the oven after it closed. “What’s that look for?”

“Well, I know we’re doing roast Great Beast and we’ve got one of those huge birds roasting on a spit, so do we want all the potatoes to be baked?” Royce asked.

Beryl turned around to look at her petty officer. “What are you thinking of Royce?”

“I’m thinking we can make a batch of roasted potatoes wedges, a set of mixed roasted veg and mashed potatoes,” Royce offered. She turned to look at Stoddard as he walked back into the kitchen. “And I think I saw a test batch of egg noodles in the bakery?”

Stoddard nodded at her. “Yeah, one of the things we experimented with this week was grinding a form of durum for pasta flour. Egg noodles are the easiest to make and we have a lot of eggs from the ostrich things.”

“So many eggs,” Beryl muttered. She eyed Jason as he settled back into his seat at the table with a full plate. “Do I need to have medical check you for a tapeworm?”

“Do not,” Jason said, curling an arm protectively around his plate. “You know we were out at the mainland base, for the last week? Well, the Colonel decided that he was going to let each team out there cook our meals.”

“Why does this fill me with dread?” Jones asked as he looked over the edge of his tablet. “I know we have people who can go out and help with that.”

“And the major and the colonel both know this,” Gene agreed. As the senior most enlisted member of the military on Atlantis, he was well aware of how staffing happened for them. “But the guys need to know how to cook and we’re close enough out there for them to learn and not kill anyone. And since no one is out there for more than a week, they won’t starve if one of the meals cooked is shit.”

“Yeah, no,” Jason disagreed. He ate several bites of the pasta before tearing into the wedge of focaccia to drag it through the cream sauce of his dinner. He ate his bite before sighing softly. “The guys tried, but I’m not sure any of those people had ever boiled water before, let alone cooked an actual meal. I didn’t really eat. Marcus did though.”

“I have a cast iron stomach,” Marcus admitted. “And I brought two granola bars.”

“Is that what you had to eat before you came in here?” Beryl asked, confused. “Because we don’t honestly consider those food, more of a snack.”

“Nope, I got clean first and slid in to the last bit of lunch,” Marcus said with a smile. “I can wait to eat more with the actual dinner because it sounds amazing.”

“You’re easily pleased,” Beryl accused. She cocked her head to the side as she considered what was on the menu for the evening meal. “I’m good with the changes, Royce. Just make sure that there’s an equal amount of roasted vegetables to go with the meal.”

“Sure, ma’am,” Royce said happily. She went back to her station and pulled a series of large bowls out from under her work surface and started assembling the rest of dinner.

“You already had the vegetables cut, didn’t you?” Jones asked as he watched her work.

“Yup,” Royce confirmed. She turned to look at the lead for swing shift. “Krause, do you want me to update the menu board or do you want to do it?”

“Since I’m planning it out right now, how about I do it?” Krause called back. She finished typing something before glancing up at Royce. “I know you have the mashed potatoes staged, but what are the vegetables you’re roasting?”

“Yellow and butternut squash, some zucchini, various mushrooms, red onions and cauliflower since we used all the broccoli to make coleslaw,” Royce said. “I was thinking about adding some of the bell peppers, but I don’t know how much of those we have. When I was planning this, there weren’t any in the crisper.”

“We have lots,” Beryl interrupted. She’d been by the greenhouses earlier that day and confirmed that the bell pepper crop was going gangbusters. “I made sure that there’s a few buckets of red, yellow and orange ones in the vegetable crisper.”

“Cool,” Royce said happily. “The vegetables will be done with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. I’ll put some balsamic vinegar on the side for anyone who wants to add it to their serving.”

“Sounds good,” Beryl said. She turned back to look at Jones. “Dessert.”

“Cobblers, pies, the dreaded pumpkin if we have the stuff in stores, cakes with a side of whipped cream,” Jones rattled off. “You know, the standard stuff we do anyway with some special winter stuff.”

“Right,” Beryl agreed. “Put out an email to the expedition to see if anyone has a favorite soup or winter dish that they miss and might want? We can add different dishes in over the next few months.”

Jones nodded once. “Sounds like a plan.”

“Cool. Are we going to play a card game?” Beryl asked as Gene started combining the two separate decks.

“Not tonight,” Jones said. “Brook wanted to get together with his team and the cards to do some team bonding.”

“If they do that in here, we’re going to laugh as they try to play,” Krause warned.

“I’m sure he’s aware,” MS2 Draper, the swing shift supervisor, called from her spot by the meat. “But I’m going to say I don’t mind him being in here if he’s worried about that.”

“Works for me,” Beryl said. “Obviously, let me know if there’s any issues.”

“Will do, ma’am,” Draper agreed.

“I’ll send you the menu and supply list as soon as I get it worked out,” Jones promised.

“Once I have it, I’ll take it to Dr. Weir and get it approved. I’m going to tentatively pencil it in for three weeks from today,” Beryl decided. “And we’ll do something easy for the days before and after.”

“Sounds good,” Jones agreed. “Since we’re not going to be playing cards, I’ll finish my work, Jason and Marcus can stay in here until Jason finishes his meal and you can go finish unpacking.”

“You’re such a bossy bastard now that you’ve got chief,” Beryl complained lightly as she stood up and held her hand out to Gene. “And I did finish unpacking. I’ve been back for weeks.”

Jones eyed her before turning his questioning gaze on Gene. “Well?”

“There’s no packing boxes lying about, but you know that doesn’t mean anything,” Gene admitted. “I can go check, see if I find anything interesting stored under the bed.”

“I hate you both,” Beryl declared with a sniff before she started walking out of the kitchen. She wasn’t going to admit it, but the bed she shared with Gene had a lot of storage space under it and she’d used it ruthlessly. There were a number of boxes under it, and she’d been through each of them.

“Sure you do, ma’am,” Jones called before he started laughing.

“I didn’t mention the boxes under the bed,” Gene murmured in her ear as he caught up with her.

“You didn’t have to,” Beryl said with a sigh. “Jones knows me too well and he’s aware of how I pack.”

“Right. Well, we can go through the boxes before coming down for dinner?” Gene offered.

Beryl smiled before she turned and pressed a kiss against Gene’s cheek. “I like how you think. Let’s do that. And I did get something for you while I was on Earth. Guess I can give it to you now.”

“Cool,” Gene said. He slipped one hand into hers and started leading her towards their rooms. “Let’s go!”

Laughing softly, Beryl let her partner drag her away.

 

 

 

Ceviche

Saltines

Beef Barley Soup

Vegetable Barley Soup

15 bean Soup

New England Clam Chowder

Tomato Soup

Garden Vegetable

Gumbo

Focaccia This is the one the Husband uses. Totally delish & easy. It makes great sandwich bread he says

Roasted Vegetables

 

Cream of Potato Soup

No oven needed.

 

Edibles:

4-5 medium potatoes, cubed

1 medium white onion, diced

1 tbsp diced garlic

1 cup heavy whipping cream

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock  (Make sure to pick a good stock)

½ cup sour cream

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp Tableblend Mrs. Dash(tm)

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried chives

 

Kitchen Stuff:

1 knife                              1 large stock pot                           1 measuring cup

1 cutting board                 1 set measuring spoons                1 potato masher

1 vegetable peeler           1 stick blender  (optional)            1 cooking spoon

 

Options:

1 cup leeks                      1 cup clams                                   1 cup broccoli florets

Bacon                               Fresh chives                                Spicy Italian Sausage, cooked & crumpled

Cheddar Cheese             1 cup frozen corn nibblets

Assembly:

  1. If you are going to have bacon or sausage in the soup, cook it now in whatever pot you’re cooking the soup in. Once the meat is cooked, spoon it out and set is aside and drain off the fat from the pot.
  2. Peel and cube the potatoes and onions. It doesn’t really matter how big the potato cubes are, you’re going to either use a potato masher or the stick blender to make this as smooth as you want it. Since I like my soup with some chunks, I use the masher.
  3. Put the chopped veggies into the large stock pot and add in everything, including the herbs, but leave the sour cream and the cream out. If you are planning on using any of the options, this is where you would add the vegetables.
  4. Add the water/stock at this point & remember to add enough to cover the potatoes. If you are using water, add some powdered stock or broth for additional flavor. Because making vegetable stock is another recipe. Or, you can just open the box. I know I do!
  5. Turn the heat on under the pot to high & cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and easily mashed, do not drain out the liquid! Use the potato masher for a rougher, less smooth texture or a stick blender for a smoother soup. If you’ve added the sausage to the recipe, I wouldn’t suggest using the stick blender, it would make the texture all wrong. The masher is good enough.
  6. Add in the cream and sour cream at this point & stir to blend.
  7. Taste test, add more salt/pepper to taste and then serve hot.

 

Serving Suggestions:

Usually, I serve this with cheddar cheese a dollop of sour cream and sometimes bacon. But you can add the following:

  • Hubby likes to add a can or two of clams to his servings of this soup and make a very quick and easy clam chowder.
  • As mentioned in the body of the recipe (see the highlighted part) you can add broccoli to this to make it a potato/broccoli soup.
  • Leeks are another favorite vegetable of mine and add a nice flavor to this soup as well.
  • The chives are nice as another topper with a zing, so add away.

Basically, anything you can top a potato with, you can do to this soup. But I would hold off on the chili!

 

 

16 Comments:

  1. Now I want soup too. Guess I’ll have to talk hubby into making some. Thank you for sharing another amazing story in this series. ❤

  2. I love the camaraderie and the way they bounce ideas off each other. It is so easy to fall into a pattern with menus and keep repeating the same combinations, but they work to provide variety and that goes a long way to help with morale as people get enthused about a particular favourite or trying something new.

  3. Always love reading about Cooper’s adventures and this was a fun little story. And thank you for all the recipes! Gonna need to bookmark it for that alone. 😀 <3 <3 <3

  4. Another great story! Also, thanks for making me crave my clam chowder as it is getting a little colder! LOL I love this series and you can just keep adding to it any time you feel like it! 😀 Great job!

  5. Thank you for the lovely look into life behind the counter, and for the awesome recipes. What a wonderful thing to add. Potato soup has been whispering in my brain for awhile. It’ll be in the 50’s here for awhile. Good soup weather.
    Love your glimpses. Thank you

  6. The story was great and now I’m hungry…

    I adore your Cooper, she’s so awesome! Any story with her in is for the win! Thank you so much for sharing! (And thanks to the discord Mods for enabling you! And also, for the recipes, they al look yummy!)

  7. Everything about this is lovely! Thanks for all the links and the recipe too. I rarely meet a potato I don’t love, so always happy to have a new recipe to try.
    Autumn and winter are my favourite seasons too. I do badly in heat plus I knit but tend to run hot (boo!) so it’s the only time I am even approaching cold enough to wear my knits. I think I might find the weather on Atlantis more challenging than the Wraith! 🙂

  8. As always, the Cooper stories usually leave me hungry! Glad to see even with her new rank, she’s still herself and still focused on the food. And I feel for the soldiers trying to cook for themselves, but yeah, they gotta learn.

  9. Seren verch Dafydd

    Another gem in the saga of Beryl Cooper. I love this series.

    ou have perfect timing, its cold and rainy here in the American Midwwest and I was planning on Grilled Cheese sandwiches and Tomato soup for supper.

  10. Well, this was such a lovely surprise… the story and the recipes. I love Cooper for so many reasons, including her attitude and love affair with food. This might just be the best one so far, though. Soup! It’s starting to get cool where I live, so soup sounds just divine. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I adore Cooper, and I’m always fascinated by her shop talk with the rest of her crew. Meal planning on that scale is kind of mind boggling.

    I love how they banter, and the long running connections that are clear between everyone.

    I”m always thrilled to see another story with Cooper!

  12. And now I am hungry. Thank you, WW.

  13. As usual you never disappoint. Plus she gave us a recipe how awesome is that! This series is awesome and I always look forward to seeing new additions.

  14. So glad I already prepped the slow cooker before I started reading…

  15. This was lovely! Thank you! I adore Cooper in any fashion you care to show her but this was especially apt. As far as the soup recipe goes, double thank you for the recipe! As for your options, if you add chopped cabbage to the leeks and ham you then have Colcannon soup! I swear Autumn and Winter are the reason I’ve literally worn out three crockpots. Mostly making soup. Thanks again LadyHolder!

  16. I supervise a kitchen at a federal facility. The way you write the characters is so true to life, down to the planning and plotting to get food made. I can replace every one of the characters in your stories with one of my staff, as I’m reading, I’m thinking yep that’s Lisa or that’s Mike etc. I love all of your stories but Chicf Cooper and her crew hold a special place in my heart.

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