Utah, Cows, and Moroccan Tomato Soup

We used to play this weird game when I was younger where we would shout ‘Holstein’ if we saw a holstein while driving. The game is a riff on the more popular Alphabet Game, but geared towards people driving in areas devoid of billboards and license plates. To be honest, our cow identification skills were lacking so I think any cow that had spots counted for a point. The design of this game is rather poor since inevitably we would come across a field of cows leading the entire car of bored children to start screaming ‘Holstein! Holstein!’ until our very annoyed father ended the game due to noise violations.

I’m not really surprised the game never took off in popularity, but it left me with pretty decent cow-spotting skills.

Most recently, I visited southern Utah for a weekend of hiking. Have you hiked in a canyon before? The one we hiked in looked like this:


A deep gorge with red-orange rocky walls so close you could touch both sides if you stood in the middle, a sandy floor, and numerous warning signs regarding the dangers of being in the canyon in rainy weather (i.e. flood warnings). A side note to my Mom: it wasn’t raining that day.

It was beautiful in a way I can’t really describe. What’s a word for more beautiful than beautiful? It was the beautiful-est.

Every so often, the gorge would widen slightly and there would be a grassy clearing still flanked by 40 foot high canyon walls.

You can imagine our surprise when we hiked out of a very narrow section of the trail and stumbled upon a group of cows.

“Holstein! Holstein!” is what I should’ve shouted if I wanted to win, but my hiking pal didn’t know the game so I resisted the overwhelming temptation.


I couldn’t help but take a hundred pictures. In fact, I left Utah with more cow pictures than I care to admit.

I guess I just really like the idea of these cows also hiking through the canyon just like us. Maybe they too felt a little cold as they were traipsing along the darker portions of the path. Maybe they also felt annoyed by having to walk in the dry sand for miles. Maybe they wished they had packed more snacks to eat along the way.  Per usual, I spent a lot of the hike oohing and ahhing at the surrounding scenery. Perhaps, the cows were also MOOOO-ved by the landscape?

I’ll never know for sure.

Like the canyon walls, this soup is orange-red. I didn’t try to eat the walls of the canyon, but I imaging that this tastes much better. I love a good tomato soup and this one is a nice spin on a classic with garbanzo beans and a subtle smokiness from the cumin and paprika. I loved it. You will too.


Moroccan Tomato Soup with Chickpeas
Source: Cookbook
Printable Recipe

4T butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
salt, pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2tsp smoked paprika (regular works too)
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp ground ginger
1 (28oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes
2C low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1T honey
1/4C cilantro, chopped

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat butter. Add onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until tender about 10 minutes.
Add garlic, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add in tomatoes and broth.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.
Return to heat. Add chickpeas and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Add lemon juice and honey.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve garnished with cilantro.


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