Our chilly damp weather continues. Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that it is definitely soup weather. So I made a clean sweep of the freezer, scooping up a bit of corn, both beef and chicken broth, a serving of beef and barley soup, and I’m not sure what else. This morning I added a can of tomatoes (turned out to be whole plum tomatoes when I wanted diced, but I didn’t discover that until I’d opened the can), some egg noodles, the peas and carrots combo from last night’s supper. Cooked it all morning at a low simmer—I have to watch because the hot plate turns itself off every so often and for long cooking, I have to go re-start it.

When my kids were young, we called this soup of the week. They used to identify Monday’s meal, the stew from Tuesday, the hamburger casserole from Wednesday. And it always came out sort of tannish brown, often that muddy color author Dan Jenkins called the color of Texas food. Today my soup was a rich brown because of the tomatoes and beef broth.

A good friend was coming to pick me up for lunch, but I surprised her with my pot of soup. She appeared delighted, and we had a good quiet visit without contending with restaurant clatter and chatter. She said her late husband used to make what they called “leftover soup,” and if it came out especially delicious, she warned everyone to enjoy it now because it could never be duplicated. It never does come out quite the same way.

It’s sort of appropriate that I made soup on the hot plate today because I’m excited to announced that my new cookbook, Gourmet on a Hot Plate: Tiny Kitchen Tips and Recipes is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be for sale November 15. Right now, you can only pre-order the digital version but on publication day it will also be available in paperback.

So if you’re wondering how I cook a full meal with a hot plate and a toaster oven or how I make tzatziki or why I put a pinch of sugar in spaghetti sauce, the cookbook has your answers.

In November, I’ll announce an ongoing blog page where I’ll add recipes and welcome your comments, recipes, and suggestions so we can have a conversation. Putting together a cookbook is fun but there are always those recipes you come across later and wish you’d included. And some I either haven’t had time or nerve to try, like Cacio de Pepe, literally cheese and pepper pasta—think Parmesan and Pecorino.

Stay warm and dry, folks.