In The Soup

speckled

I won’t go into the multitude of things that have been keeping me away from this blog, but I did want to stop in and let you know that despite the lack of posts here and my nearly four day twitter blackout (what on earth did we do before twitter? thank goodness my account came back last night), I haven’t actually dropped off the face of the planet. However, life has gotten even crazier than it was a week ago, and it likely won’t slow down any time soon.

Dinner: October 25, 2010

On top of all that, we have a dear friend coming to visit for a few days and we’re looking forward to eating and drinking our way around town, but with my usual great timing, I seem to be coming down with a cold. I made this soup a few nights ago, and Mike packed some for my lunch today. I used fresh cranberry beans instead of cooked dried beans, and since we were fresh out of potatoes I added a little extra pasta to the mix. I’m hoping the one-two punch of the leeks and garlic confit will chase any bugs away.

You can get my recipe at food52.

From Nuts to Soup

When things get quiet around here, it’s a pretty safe bet that things have been crazy at my day job. I’ve been doing what I do for a long time, and I learned early on how to juggle, but these last few weeks I feel like the minute I turn my attention to one task, three more things pop up that require my immediate attention. Couple that with the usual change-of-seasons sluggishness I tend to experience, and you have one tired dame who has struggled to find suppertime inspiration when I get home in the evening.

I had a gorgeous head of otherworldly-looking romanesco cauliflower that I turned into soup last night, starting with a base of chopped leeks softened in butter, then adding romanesco florets and some homemade stock, but when the florets had softened and I pureed the soup, I was less than thrilled with the texture. It was just too thin, and my fiddling with it to achieve something close to the result I wanted meant the soup cooked too long, going from a lovely pale green to an unappetizing greyish hue. I couldn’t even bring myself to take a photo. The flavors, however, were there, the delicate soup getting a nice burst of freshness from a celery leaf and preserved lemon gremolata stirred in at the end, so I think I’ll give this soup another go-round soon.

Shoulder Season Soup

Dinner: September 28, 2010

I’m in commuter hell this week – I’ve had a succession of early or late buses in the morning, consistently late trains, and unplanned cab rides home from the train station which, in addition to being annoyingly expensive and sometimes terrifying, have put me in a big ole cranky mood in the evening, and craving exactly what we’ve been trying to get away from – comfort food.

I sat on the train in my work clothes drenched to the bone after a rain-soaked spin through the Boston Public Market on Tuesday, with tomatoes and fennel and green beans and squash globes and all sorts of other goodies in my totes, and decided a big veg-laden soup was in order. After I got home, I peeled off my damp clothes and changed into something warm and dry, and then I got to chopping: slender leeks, carrots, fresh celery, beautifully ripe plum tomatoes, sweet red peppers, globe zucchini, fresh thyme branches and green beans all went into my pot at various stages, sprinkled with salt and bathed in dribbles of olive oil and a judicious amount of red wine as they cooked down. I added a little bit of orzo to the mix, and when it was tender, added a good amount of freshly grated parm to the soup off the heat. I blitzed up a fresh parsley and fennel frond pistou in the mini chopper to spoon on top, and served up our soup with a few thick slices of Olga’s Pane Francese and some gooey, runny cheese from Farmstead.

As antidotes go, this was just about perfect.

Soup Season

Dinner:  September 21, 2009

I arrived home last night with no game plan as far as dinner was concerned. I’m still in a bit of a rut, and the fact that darkness falls shortly after I get home in the evening isn’t helping. Summer’s over, and another long, cold New England winter isn’t far away. It’s soup season again.

We had potatoes on the counter and leeks in the crisper, so a potato-leek soup was my first thought. Our default is usually Julia’s Potage Parmentier, but I wanted to switch things up a bit. We had a batch of freshly made chicken stock in the fridge, plus a couple of hunks of Cheddar and the last of a bunch of fresh dill, so all of those made their way into the pot. I added a couple of blobs of Dijon mustard for tang, pureed the soup with a stick blender once the potatoes were tender, and served it up with crusty bread on the side and a little more fresh dill on top. This soup was quick, comforting, and bowl-licking good – a definite keeper. I’ve posted my recipe here.

Sweetie Pie

risen

Mike asked to take on dinner last night, and since my allergies had gotten the best of me, I didn’t argue. Besides, pizza was on the menu, and as you regular readers should know, he turns out some mighty fine ones.

This, however, might have been his best work yet.

the sauce

The base was a combination of little yellow grape tomatoes from Wishing Stone Farm, plus some diced red tomato and green garlic, all melted down in olive oil and spiked with ribbons of basil to form a light, fresh-tasting sauce. In addition to our favorite local mozzarella, there were soft leeks and freshly grated, super-aged gouda, both of which got beautifully golden in the oven.

And the crust on which this wonderful pie was built was SO good that it merits it’s own post… stay tuned.

Who needs delivery when you can get pizza this good at home?

A simple Spring soup

Dinner:  May 12, 2009

I’m a big fan of soup any time of year, but there’s nothing like a light, brothy bowl of springtime veggies to take the chill off an early May evening. I tossed this together mostly from odds and ends: first, a lone leek which had been lingering in the crisper drawer, then some thinly sliced fennel stalks, both cooked with a sprinkling of salt and a knob of butter until soft. Next I added some cooked flageolet beans and their cooking liquid, plus a few additional cups of water, some sweet young carrots, and a half cup or so of carnaroli rice. While the broth bubbled and the rice plumped, I thawed some leftover cooked asparagus and peas from the freezer, adding them to the pot to just warm through. I tasted the soup for seasoning and added a few finishing touches, in the form of fresh spinach, chopped fresh tarragon, and shards of Pecorino Romano. A little toasted bread on the side (with more of that Pecorino), and we were good to go.