Posts filed under ‘Soup’
What to do with the end of summer surplus? Too many big honkin’ squash in your garden? Too many ears of sweet corn in your CSA box these past few weeks and now you’ve got a surplus taking up too much room in the back of your fridge? In the mood for one last summer swan song of a recipe before diving into the autumn treasures of root vegetables, antique apples, and juicy pears? A little chilly suddenly with the coming of September and in the mood for soup?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! Even if you didn’t answer “yes” to any of those questions (what’s wrong with you?!), you’ll still benefit from a large scrumptious bowl of this Summer Chowder. It’s light enough to still pass as summery supping, but luscious and warming in a perfect prelude to fall fare.
Notice how this recipe features a beautiful pair of summer squash (“pattypans” to be exact). You might remember that I lamented in the last post about my serious lack of summer squash this season. Low and behold, one of my sad-looking squash vines in the garden is putting on a heroic show of late summer determination, producing once again after I’d done everything but pronounce it dead and held a less-than-ceremonious funeral for it at the compost pile. I gave it a big gulp of compost tea yesterday and hope that it will churn out a few more squash for me before the weather gets too cool for this tropical plant. Alas, it still doesn’t help me with my zucchini bread stash as this type of summer squash isn’t adaptable for baked goods.
A lovely reader wrote me a few weeks ago, asking for recipes that might use up sweet corn that had been sitting around too long. (Hope the move went well, Sara!) While sweet corn will look good for quite some time if stored in its husk in a plastic bag in the fridge, it does quickly loose its best flavor as the natural sugars in the corn kernels immediately begin to deplete once the cob is removed from its mother stalk. Because of this sugar breakdown, just-picked corn you buy at that farmers market or get in your CSA share is almost assuredly going to taste better than anything you’d ever get in the supermarket where the corn was probably picked at least a week before it ever made it to the produce section. The best corn you’ll ever have is that which has just been shucked off the stalk in your own garden and immediately boiled and eaten.
I can’t tell you how many times a customer came up to me last season while I was working at the Headhouse Farmers Market and, upon buying a shocking number of sorrel bunches, raved on and on about the soup they planned to make with it – schav. This Russian/Polish/Yiddish classic apparently had a large following of devotees among the shoppers at the market, but I’d never tried it myself. As much as I love sorrel, I wasn’t convinced I wanted it as a base for a cold soup. From what I gathered from these schav zealots, you put a ton of sorrel in a pot of water and waited until it boiled down and then let it chill. I pictured a lumpy green slime with a distinctively bitter taste to boot. Of course, I misunderstood.
With gobs of sorrel growing like gangbusters in the container on my deck, I decided it was time to work out my apprehensions and confusion about this much touted sorrel soup. As it turns out, schav is a complex soup, both in flavor and in concept. Since its origin is a bit muddled, it seems the recipe has also gotten a bit jumbled along the way and across the generations. As I went on an online treasure hunt for a “traditional” schav recipe, I quickly discovered recipes from all over the world and all with a unique twist to the list of ingredients. The only ingredients that seemed “mandatory” were the sorrel (duh!) and at least one egg.
Ironically, after searching high and low (electronically speaking, of course) for the perfect cold sorrel soup recipe, I found the one I fancied the most right on my own cookbook shelf. This one, which I’ve decided for the sake of full disclosure to call Sorrel & Roasted Potato Soup, seemed to have more umph, including potatoes and cucumbers to offset the zing of the sorrel. Oh, and by the way, in case you’re worried the way I was, the sorrel doesn’t get lumpy at all – rather it just sort of dissolves to create a luscious and delicious broth. Thumbs up for the “schav”!
Hey, would you look at this! There’s a food post on SFTF again! And here you’d thought it had become a gardening blog. Truth of the matter is that the local food pickin’s are slim here in March when we’re just shy of getting the season’s first lettuce and baby greens. I’ve had to look to my shrinking stash of root vegetables to carry us through the last few weeks of “winter”. Even if it is 70 degrees outside my front door today here in Philadelphia, it’ll be awhile yet until there’s much fresh eating to be had from the garden and at the farmers markets.
See that ugly duckling up there? The one in the upper left? I swear it’s quite tasty, even if it’s not pretty! Celeriac root became a favorite over the course of this winter. I’ve recently been converted to mild anise flavors in my food and tea even though I hated, to the point of gagging, the taste of black licorice when I was a kid. Since I was so repulsed by anise in the past, I really hadn’t give celeriac much of a shot since I’d heard it tasted a bit like licorice.
Once I gave it a try, celeriac (also called celery root because it’s celery family member grown for its root, not stalks) turned out to have very little anise flavor (at least the ones grown at the farm). Instead I find it rather nutty and a little biting like celery sometimes is. I’m muddling up describing it for you, I know, but I hope you’ll be intrigued enough to grab one of these scruffy roots next time you see it to give celeriac a chance to prove it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
This week finally felt like winter around here. Don’t get me wrong. It’s certainly been frigid for several weeks now, but the skies were gray and the ground dull brown. The epitome of winter, at least in my mind, is brilliant blue skies with blinding sunlight streaming down that makes a generous blanket of snow glisten as it crunches under your feet. That’s what this week has been in southeastern Pennsylvania. And the sunsets…ah, the winter sunsets are the most beautiful with hues of violet, crimson and orange that cut through the leafless trees. There’s another stunning one developing right this very minute as I type. I love that my window looks west!
I won’t bore you with a tired line like “winter’s the perfect season to snuggle up with a bowl of soup”. You know that already. What you might not think about though is making soup out of whatever is lying around your kitchen, rather than trooping off to the store to buy ingredients, or – gasp! – a can. Before we get to discussing today’s recipe for Roasted Root Vegetable Stew, I’m going to take the liberty to reprint here the soup “blueprint” I posted last January.
‘Tis the season for the sniffles…I got ‘em, you got ‘em, everyone’s got ‘em. Misery loves company right? Another love of those of us dogged by the flu or a cold is soup. Nothing beats a steaming savory bowl of soup when you’re sick, or, for that matter, any other time the mercury drops below 40. How fitting then that January is National Soup Month here in the States.
Last winter I did some thematic weeks of posting, including two separate Week of Soup events. These proved to be a very popular series here on SFTF so I know several of you love soup as much as I do. A pot of soup gurgling on the stove is the ultimate in comfort food. Quite often, as in this particular instance, it’s incredibly healthy too, crammed full of vitamins and minerals.
But I also know there are others of you that are a bit intimidated by making homemade soup. I have a wonderfully easy recipe to share with you today that will make even the most timid cook a quick study on stews. Anne Bramley’s Eat Feed Autumn Winter is the source for this hearty rustic Quick & Easy Italian Soup. As Anne does so often in the cookbook, she introduces this recipe with a keenly accurate and witty description: “This is the little black dress of the winter cooking world. Everybody has that simple little number to throw on without much fuss.”
It’s true! Just like that dress (or that shirt, for you fellas) in your closet that’s the workhorse of your wardrobe and somehow still manages to always elicit at least one compliment every time you wear it, this tasty soup is very simple to make and yet ridiculously flavorful. Dress it up or down with a few accessories – crusty chewy rolls for instance – and you’ve got yourself a soup that will take you from a quick workday lunch to a cozy romantic dinner for two.