To me, one of the most difficult aspects of creativity is knowing where to start. When starting with a blank canvas, what color do you start with? Or when composing a song, which key to begin? Some folk seem to feel confined with a formula, but for me, it provides a good launching point.

When I create a soup, I look to assemble three predominant ingredients that will provide a major, distinct flavor combination. Everything else is just an enhancement.

Take our Pork & Green Chile Soup. I wanted a soup that I could use green chile as a flavor component, so I started one point of my triangle there. Since I use a lot of pork, this protein seemed a reasonable second choice, and I added it as the second point of the triangle.

There are several directions I could go from here, since there are any number of flavors that would match well with these two. I decided on smoky spice of cumin. It is distinct and very recognizable, so it completed my formula.

Now with this strong flavor base I can fill it in with other complimentary ingredients, like corn, garlic, onions, and honey.

I followed the same procedure in developing our very popular Curried Tomato and Peanut Soup. I constructed my triangle with chopped tomatoes, peanut butter and a mild yellow curry powder.

I offer this little formula for your own trials in the kitchen. See what you can come up with. You may be surprised at the outcome. Let me know how it goes.

How I build a soup