Soup of the Fortnight: Green!

Posted by Anita on 04.24.06 4:41 PM

In honor of spring finally springing in my hometown, and also Arbor Day (April 28) and Green Day (no, not the band — Japan’s Midori no hi, April 29), let’s investigate all manner of green soups.

Here are a few I came up with, off the top of my head:
- cucumber gazpacho
- new mexico green chile soup
- avocado soup
- pea soup (fresh spring peas or split peas)
- posole verde
- cream of asparagus
- fava bean & artichoke
- herb soups like sorrel, watercress, etc.
- cream of spinach or broccoli

You could even do a chilled melon dessert soup.

But, in the end, I decided to make my friend Jan’s Creamy
Pea, Lettuce & Leek Soup
with Lemon Crème Fraiche and Chive Oil.

Not only did I forget to take a photo, but neither did anyone at the Seattle party where this soup made its debut… so I can’t even poach one! Trust me, it was gorgeous. I’m so glad I was making it for a dinner party, or I might not have bothered with the creme fraiche or the chive oil — and they definitely made the dish much better.

cooking, recipes, Seattle, Soup o' the Fortnight
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The joys of preserving

Posted by Anita on 04.22.06 1:44 PM

I started out canning just to see how it was done, mostly dill pickles and pickled beets, and the occasional fruit preserve. Then I started pickling and preserving a few batches of produce from my friends’ gardens, as a way of helping them cope with overabundance — 2 years ago, in Seattle, it was a huge batch of brandied plums, and a batch of pickled serranos and carrots.

Last year was a tough year, as we were moving long distance from Seattle to SF, and living in a furnished apartment without access to our own kitchen gear. I did manage a very small batch of tomato-bourbon jam, and my first batch of nocino (green walnut liqueur).

Now I’m hooked: I preserve at home now mostly to get flavors I can’t get from retail products. And a lot of what I preserve ends up being holiday presents and hostess gifts.

I just took a marmalade class this past weekend with June Taylor, a local preserving maven — unfortunately, the citrus season is almost spent, but I may put up a batch of something simple, just so I don’t forget what I learned.

And we’re about to plant a bunch of fruit-bearing trees and plants with the express intention of preserving and infusing. It was fun coming up with all kinds of different plants, from trees to shrubs to vines to groundcover, that will give us something to eat. Most of our yard will be edible in one form or another.

As far as books go, I like Georgeanne Brennan’s The Glass Pantry, which you can get used online for about $2, and Linda Amendt’s Blue Ribbon Preserves. I just recently purchased Putting Food By, which many consider the bible of preserving, but I found the authors’ writing style horrifically pedantic… it set my teeth on edge and I slogged my way through it wondering what people see in this book. It is remarkably complete, so if you need a recipe for somethings really specific and unusual, it may be the only way to go (as ad-libbing in preserving is a definite no-no — you really want an expert to have sussed out all the biohazard stuff, and changing from one fruit or vegetable to another can throw that all out of whack).

cookbooks, drinks, preserving & infusing, recipes, Seattle
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Soup of the Fortnight: Jewish

Posted by Anita on 04.06.06 4:36 PM

Mushroom-Barley soup (c)2006 AECIn honor of Passover, I decided to make the Russ & Daughters Mushroom-Barley soup from the NYT Jewish Cookbook.

(Yes, it’s shown with a decidely un-Jewish grilled bacon-and-cheese sandwich.)

If I made this soup again, I think I would use a LOT less barley than the recipe calls for. I kept adding more and more liquid, and still it was a bit too much like porridge. I finally gave up — realizing I was going to throw the balance off even more. And it needed a LOT more salt than called for.

cookbooks, cooking, Soup o' the Fortnight
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