Hello! Happy New Year!
I finally have a little time to both cook and write about cooking after a busy semester and producing a short film. So back to it, yes?
The cookbook is Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, and the soup of the day is Winter Vegetable Chowder.I should probably make more recipes from this cookbook, because every one I have made has been a winner, but then when I open the cookbook I’m like “Oh, that’s your favorite soup, you should make that one” and I just keep repeating old favorites. Part of this is because many of the recipes are time-consuming and involve a lot of peeling and chopping, and it takes a few times through to have them become second nature. But the time spent makes a huge batch of delicious soup that is tasty and substantial enough to be the main course at a dinner party, and the techniques you pick up serve you in making other soups. Continue reading
I’m a soup-making fiend!
This morning I made mushroom soup, also by adapting one of Anne-Catherine Bley’s recipes, to take to a brunch party along with the leftovers of the carrot-ginger soup. These recipes are more of a method where you start with onions or shallots cooking in olive oil, add a vegetable you like and some broth or water, cook until tender, puree, and serve – sometimes you add the creamy substance (coconut milk) during the simmer, sometimes you stir it in at the end (cream or milk). Her squash and/or pumpkin soups are served with a crisp piece of bacon to use as an edible stirrer. If you can make one, you can make them all. Cauliflower leek? Broccoli puree? Tomato ginger? You’ll be seeing a lot of them in this space in coming weeks because they are so simple, cheap, and satisfyingly rich-but-healthy. Keep reading for recipe and sad story.
If anyone’s still reading, this soup is pretty good. It comes from the fabulous Anne-Catherine Bley, proprietor of Le Bar A Soupes in Paris. I added about 1/3 cup of grated ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, and a pinch of curry powder to the mixture. That was a good choice.
Tonight’s dinner is a mash-up between this recipe and a recipe from Alice Waters’s The Art of Simple Food, with a little twist borrowed from Deborah Madison. It serves 4. You will want to lick the bowl. You may also want to garnish this soup with chopped green onions and homemade croutons that you make by heating butter and garlic in a cast-iron skillet and tossing chunks of crusty bread in. Coat everything well and then pop the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes while the peppers are roasting. Continue reading
Want a cheap, healthy, fast dinner recipe that makes good leftovers?
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s excellent Everyday Food cookbook.
You’ll need 1 lb. of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed for 5 minutes. 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved. 1/2 a small red onion, minced. 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard. Salt and pepper to taste. Some chopped mint or parsley would not go awry.
Whisk together mustard, oil, and vinegar and add red onion to make the dressing. Combine steamed broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and chickpeas in a bowl and stir in dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
I think it might be better tomorrow, as the acid of the mustard and vinegar will have a chance to work on the chickpeas. I’d let it sit for a while before serving.
I borrowed this recipe from the lovely Twistie at Manolo for the Big Girl, and she borrowed it from the divine Deborah Madison to whom this blog has become a shrine.
Visual presentation is not the point of this dish – it looks like a science project as you get to the end, but the flavor is amazing. I wish I had used kale or chard or a sturdier green than spinach – I think with spinach you can probably skip the step where you heat it in the pot with water and just fold it raw into the skillet and let it wilt. For a cheese, may I recommend crumbled feta? Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish to something else. I wonder how it would do with a white fish that has been baked in foil in the oven on a bed of leeks with white wine? Tomorrow I shall test it out as breakfast food by popping a gently fried egg on top of it and breaking the yolk so everything gets all runny.
I swear I am not becoming a vegetarian. This weekend I attended a party devoted to drinking beer and eating foods full of bacon and beer – bacon-wrapped-artichokes, bacon mac & cheese, moist chocolate cake made with stout, etc. Until the day I die, I will want to rip into rare steak, or tear a roasted chicken apart with my hands, and eat funky stews with oxtail and goats. Let’s talk for a moment about chicken livers cooked with shallots and then mashed up and spread on small pieces of toast.
But I don’t need or want to eat meat every day. I pay a premium for meat that was raised with care and kindness and devour it with joy, and the rest of the time I eat vegetables and fruits and nuts and grains and cheese. Lots of cheese. And in the dead of winter, when everything sucks, and my shoulders hurt from hunching them against the cold, and I dread the first step outside and the way that first breath will tear into my asthmatic lungs like a fist made of knives, the more I turn to that guru of great vegetarian cooking, Deborah Madison. I know with her recipes I won’t get scurvy and that there will be lots of bright colors and happy textures and flavors on my plate.