soup

Halfway through the year, let’s take a look at where I am with my list. Updates (and true confessions) after each point. Let me know in the comments what you think.

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been kicking an idea around about all the dishes I swear I’m going to cook—recipes I’m going to try.

If you’re reading this and thinking I can’t believe she’s intimidated to make (fill in the blank), know we all have culinary roadblocks.

When I was thinking about this, I came across a piece on the Taste website, “Everyone Should Have a Winter Cooking Goal.” The author’s goal is to work on one dish until she masters it and has explored all its variations.

My goals are a little different–some of these I’d like to master, some I’d like to have become a regular part of my cooking repertoire and others are rainy day/all day projects. I’m thinking that maybe there should be one a month, but at the moment, I’m 4 short. Any suggestions?

8 Things I’m Challenging Myself to Cook in 2019:

  1. Crêpes: One of those projects that I thought I could throw equipment at and be okay. This just needs practice and probably patience. For you crêpe makers out there, is it easier to start with regular (flour) ones before moving on to savory (buckwheat) ones? Update: Thanks to my friend Jan, mastered this one. Have done both plain and buckwheat, plain are easier and probably more versatile.
  2. Soupe de poisson: This is one of my favorite soups and a prelude to bouillabaisse. Making this is just a matter of deciding to do it and getting some good fish. Update: Still on my wish list. 
  3. Whole fish: I don’t know why this has always seemed so challenging to me and since they just published this in the NY Times, I’m not the only one. Could it be one of those things like roasting meats that’s super easy but looks like you can cook? Anyone got a favorite recipe to share? Update: In spite of saving simple whole fish recipes and checking out the contenders at Adam’s, I haven’t gotten here yet, but it’s coming.
  4. More fish: Where we are, it’s much easier to get great (farm raised) meat, than good fish, but I’m going to make finding a good source for fish and befriending a fishmonger a priority this year (and it will make #2 & 3 much easier). Update: got off to a good start with this and give myself extra points for doing a lot more salmon to see if I could con Frank into eating it. We loved several of the recipes.
  5. Cream of mushroom soup: (as good as the CIA and/or the late Campfire in GB) Like the soupe de poisson, this is more a matter of going shopping and facing the stove. Update: Like the soupe de poisson, didn’t happen and I’ve got no excuses.
  6. Cauliflower rice: Yes, I can be trendy, and we need to cut carbs/sugar in my house. Update: Since I wrote this I don’t think we’ve had any cauliflower. Hmmm…
  7. Grains: Freekeh, farro, oats, lentils, etc. Time to switch it up from rice and potatoes. And if I would do #8, probably faster cooking than an hour on the stove. Update: More room for improvement and that goes for #8 too. Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot
  8. Use my Insta-Pot: for more than yogurt and use the pressure cooker part of it. Shoot, I guess that means I have to find the instruction book and read it. Update: It still makes great yogurt…

And, I’m going to start using the “good” silver! Update: Polished it and used it the last time we had friends for dinner. Nice to use the good stuff, try it.

What would go on your list?

 

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Cabbage and Farro Soup

by Anne Maxfield on February 4, 2019

Accidental Locavore Cabbage Soup with FarroThis cabbage soup was making the rounds of the Internet recently and everyone was raving about how good it was. It’s from Smitten Kitchen and serves 4.

Cabbage and Farro Soup

  • 1 pound cabbage: savoy or green
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 sprig of rosemary or thyme
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup uncooked farro
  • About 4 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
  • Shaved Parmesan, to finish

Accidental Locavore Cabbage for SoupCut out the cabbage core and finely chop it. Cut the leaves into 1/8” ribbons.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cabbage core, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften but is not yet browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 3- 5 minutes, until the garlic softens.

Add the shredded cabbage leaves and herb sprig, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let it steam a bit to soften the leaves, then toss the cabbage to combine with other ingredients. Cook, covered, until the cabbage is very sweet and tender,15-30 minutes depending on the type of cabbage you’re using. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat and add the uncooked farro. Toast it, stirring, for a few minutes, until it’s about half a shade darker.

When the cabbage is ready, stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Add the farro and broth. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, until farro is tender. The soup will be very thick, but if you’d prefer more liquid, add another 1/2 cup broth or water. Taste and adjust seasoning again. Stir in lemon juice.

Ladle into bowls and finish each with a drizzle of olive oil and a shower of Parmesan, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Farro for Cabbage Soup

My verdict: Frank loved it, but I was disappointed in it. I had great ingredients, cabbage, garlic and onions from the farm, homemade chicken broth but it was a long process and in the end it was cabbage soup.

As a friend said about a recent food event—meh.

The original recipe comes from Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables which I happen to have on my iPad. He calls for meat or poultry broth and I’m wondering if beef broth would be a better way to go. I did add a couple of pieces of smoked pig skin (left from making bacon) for flavor, and used good homemade chicken broth, but neither took it into the realm of super deliciousness.

Both recipes said it would be thick, but mine was pretty soup-like. Not sure what browning the farro achieved except dirtying another pan.

Since I was on the fence about this, I gave it a time out and left it alone for a few days. Time made it thicker (the farro absorbing more broth) and a squeeze of lemon and some shaved parmesan gave it flavor. I’m still not wowed, there are better soups out there that come together faster. What do you think?

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Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

by Anne Maxfield on October 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Roasted Leek and Potato SoupPotato leek soup is good any time of year.

When Frank kept bringing home potatoes and leeks from our CSA, I knew he was serious about me making a batch.

Since it’s fall, I like this version, where the leeks and potatoes are roasted with some garlic, making it heartier than traditional vichyssoise. Serves about 6:

Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and then in ½” slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1-2 heads roasted garlic (see below)

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and LeeksPreheat the oven to 400°.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender and lightly golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables and garlic to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock in batches and purée. As you finish a batch, pour it into a large pot or Dutch oven. When it’s all in the pot, add the remaining 1- 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraîche, and salt and pepper as needed. Heat over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and Leeks RoastedMy verdict: I’ve never made vichyssoise with crème fraîche before and if there wasn’t some in the fridge, I probably wouldn’t have used it this time either – which would have been a big mistake! It gave this very rich soup a nice depth of flavor that’s sometimes missing. Roasting the potatoes and leeks was a great idea and the next time I do it, I’d just toss some garlic cloves in the mix. If you were doing this in the summer and didn’t want to heat up your oven, grilling them would most likely be great! If you like a finer purée, use a blender, for a chunkier version the food processor is fine.

Accidental Locavore Garlic for Roasted Leek and Potato SoupIn preparation for this I roasted 4 heads of garlic separately (cut 1/2″ off the tops, put in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle a little olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour), not knowing how many I’d need (about 1 1/2 heads) to flavor but not overwhelm the leeks. Frank was wondering about adding bacon which would be fine, but not necessary – maybe as a garnish? This is great hot or cold, so depending on the season…

 

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Greek Egg-Lemon Soup: Avgolemono

by Anne Maxfield on February 23, 2017

Accidental Locavore Egg-Lemon SoupEgg-Lemon Soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well.

To me, it’s more interesting than most chicken noodle soups and if you’re making your own, much quicker.

Egg-lemon soup also has the advantage that you know exactly what’s in it (all five ingredients), unlike canned soups.

So, I pull out that classic from the 1980’s The Silver Palate Cookbook (still available if you never got a copy) and have soup in 30 minutes. Makes 6 cups.

Greek Egg-Lemon Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or more to taste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Pour the broth into a pot, and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes until the rice is just tender.

While the rice is cooking, whisk the egg yolks and the lemon juice together in a small bowl until well combined.

When the rice is done, remove soup from the heat, and slowly ladle 2 cups of hot broth into the lemon/egg mixture. Whisk to combine, and pour back into the pot. Stir.

Return the soup to medium heat, and cook until soup is just steaming. Do not let it reach a boil. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Eggs for Egg-Lemon SoupMy verdict: As I said in the intro, it’s my go-to when I’m sick. You’ve usually got all the ingredients on hand, it’s easy and tastes great!

I often leave the pepper out, but if you’re going to use it, try to use white pepper, it just looks better.

Some chicken diced up would add protein and you often see this made with little lamb meatballs, but that’s beyond my pay-grade when I’m sick.

And if this doesn’t work, there’s always albondigas.

What’s your go-to cold remedy?

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