Tuesday, September 29, 2009

French Lentil & Baba Ganooooooooush

As the lentils simmered Alayna used plumber's clay to fix her vase and I highlighted special lines in Jack London's biography I had earmarked not having a pen at the time. The soup smelled wonderful. Zizi couldn't stop waiting for shadows to move on the wall.

It smells like autumn now. This is good. I'm wearing two sweaters right now. Which is excessive but the room is chilly.

While the soup simmered Alayna and I went through her craft box. Thick oils and sandpaper, somewhere. I paged through her sketchbook from France. A drawing I did from a rooftop in Fez drinking mint tea. A picture of the corner of my apartment over the art gallery. And a lot of hollowy trees. A letter never sent to a boy. Van Gogh's bedroom. I miss textures.

We started eating the baba ganoush before the soup was ready and it was wonderful. We drank ginger tea from the elephant mugs before that. I walked home 30 blocks and the sky was purple and blotted with clouds and it felt spooky like Halloween. I howled when I tripped over a rat running across the street.

This soup tastes like France and a little bit of fall. It's good.

Lentil Soup
(adapted from Mojdeh's mother, who took it from Martha, as in Stewart, that originally had elusive french lentils and escarole, neither of which we could find)
  • finely chop about four cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil
  • add a medium sized white onion, also chopped, and cook until almost translucent
  • add 3-4 medium sized carrots in bite sized pieces and cook covered for about five minutes
  • add 1.5 cups of lentils (green or french) and 3/4 cup of yellow split peas (or stub lentils for all... we were just going for color and then they all looked the same, but tasted delicious)
  • Add one large can of diced tomatoes and fill the pot with vegetable or chicken broth, adding 2-3 bay leaves and several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • bring to a simmer and cook covered for 40 min (to test, make sure the lentils aren't crunch in the middle)
  • turn the heat off the pot and stir in one bag of arugula, letting it wilt in
  • Serve!!!

Baba Ganooooush!
  • cut an eggplant in half lengthwise, stab it with a fork a few times, and bake is at 400 for about 45 minutes (when you cut it open and it's all mushy and brown instead of white, it's done)
  • let cool, then scrape insides of eggplant into a food processor, discarding skin.
  • add the juice from half a lemon, about a spoonful of tahini (make sure you stir it well before adding so it's not all clumpy), 2 cloves of garlic and some salt and blend until smooth
  • Serve!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

As I got little veiny shrimp legs caught in my fingernails Alayna and I discussed how there are so many closet soupie fans out there. Like Gavin, who announced in a tizzy a few nights ago that he loves soup and it is unfair that he never gets any of our leftovers.

"Do you know how many people say, Oh Gavin, you must eat a lot of soup? And I say, Actually I never get soup. Do you know how that makes me feel?"


I did bring Gavin a very small jar of leftovers Monday night. But it was hard to part with THIS REALLY REALLY GOOD SOUP (Good thing Alayna and I cook like we have to feed eight to ten people at all times.) Alayna accidentally dumped half a jar of cayenne pepper in it, she tried to pick it out- but there for sure an added kick. Which, I liked. It's a good soup with a TON of shrimp. Don't cheap out, buy an entire pound of it. Alright. Start peeling the skins off those little suckers and get to work.

P.S. We bought the corn at the Queen's County Fair over the weekend-- which was awesome. I saw a pig race!

  • to start, cut the kernels of 4-5 stalks of corn and put the cobs into hot water with some bay leafs to boil... this will be your broth later
  • saute one pound of rinsed un-shelled shrimp in a little olive oil on low, stirring often, until nice and pink
  • remove from the pot with a slotted spoon, letting juices and oil stay in, and set aside to cool
  • put four cloves of roughly chopped garlic and half a chopped red onion in the pot and saute with two red peppers and a generous amount of chili powder (we actually spilled a LOT into our pot, took some out and it was delicious and spicy) until translucent
  • add the following with a little bit of your corn water (add the rest once the broth tastes corny), all chopped into smallish pieces so that they can cook faster: a small, peeled butternut squash, a large zucchini, about 4 red potatoes
  • once the above veggies are getting softer, add the rest of the broth and bring the pot to a simmer. add in the corn kernels and one chopped red pepper, and 1-2 cubes of vegetable bullion
  • now that the shrimp are cold, peel them thoroughly and add into the soup pot with about a cup of half an half and let cook another 3-5 minutes
  • Eat!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spinach Garlic Eggdrop Soup

Poor Alayna was home with a fever and couldn't make it to soup night. Which is a shame because I'm pretty sure the soup we made can cure any disease as it has about 10 cloves of garlic. Daniel and Zach came over and stood in for Alayna. They helped me cook and drank my left over wine and roasted eggplant dip. (Seriously, if anyone wants roasted egg plant dip, let me know...)

Anyway, the inspiration behind this soup was that I didn't feel like buying anything for it. This is a great poor man's soup. Especially if you have an herb garden then it's pretty much just water. I don't have an herb garden. Maybe next week.

Alright, there is a new New Yorker with my name with it. Go peal some garlic my little vampires.

  • In a soup pot add 2 or 3 cups of vegetable broth (optional... well, isn't everything optional)
  • Add 4-6 cloves of garlic into the broth with a bay leaf, sage, parsley and a few sprigs of thyme.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and let sit covered for 20 + minutes

  • In a small bowl pour in some olive oil, salt, parsley, thyme leaves and pressed garlic and use a brush to paint it on both sides of a thinly sliced baguette
  • Place on a oven tray and pop in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes... or something... just flip when browned and let sit a little longer... you know.
And go back to the soup...

  • Add a bag of spinach, stir it around until it wilts
  • Mix olive oil and 3 eggs in a bowl
  • Add a ladle full of soup into this bowl to temper the eggs (thanks for the fancey lingo, Daniel)
  • Pour this mixture into the soup pot.
Now drop a piece of miracle toast into your bowl and then ladle the soup over the bread.
It's delish!

Ummm, I can't stop making videos. I don't see this going anywhere good.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Laborless Sweet Corn Soup

I spent the end of summer in Vermont at my parents house in Stowe. And it was lovely. I finished the book I had been reading for the last month, I read the Sunday New York Times in actual paper form and drank coffee from a good mug and remembered how much I like textures and realized how much they have been missing in my computer-life. (My next thing is forming the "Texture Revolution," it's going to be huge...) I took a 30 mile bike ride on dirt roads and mountains and grass and it took me over 5 hours. While wondering where I was and where the trail had gone I looked ahead and saw this hanging frame. And I stopped and considered it and ate my apple. And it was a very good apple. That and it was my only piece of food. I ate it slowly.

But back to soup. I made a whole thing of this week's soup. My parents had friends in town, friends I have known my whole life, and on Sunday morning we met at the Farmer's Market to get supplies. The soup was a group effort. It should be noted that Judy Edling, no stranger to the kitchen, helped a lot, all the while giving me helpful advice on future dinner parties and recipes. Thank you, Judy.

The Farmer's Market, Stowe, VT

This soup is especially good right now when sweet corn is wonderful. I added about half 2% milk and half chicken stock but this can played around with if you want a less creamy soup. I don't see why you couldn't also just make it in a broth if you don't want to include the milk- vegan friends. Do I even have any vegan friends?
Either way, enjoy!

  • Simmer 4 cups of milk, 6 corn cob halves (not kernels), 2 sprigs of rosemary and thyme in soup pot
  • Melt 1/4 stick butter in large saucepan over medium heat
  • Add 1 chopped large onion, sprinkle with salt and saute until translucent
  • Add 3 chopped zucchini, 2 big carrots chopped, 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • When that is mostly done, add the corn kernels from the cobs

  • Remove the cobs and herb sprigs from the soup pot
  • Add the sauteing veggies
  • Add 4 cups of chicken broth (or whatever you think is enough)
  • Allow to simmer for 20 minutes to blend flavors
  • Puree the soup in a blender (we did this for half the soup and then mixed it in with the other half so it's still got bite. Also, helpful tip from Judy let the soup cool before putting it in the blender.)
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
Goo outdoors!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Peach Gazpacho

As you may have noticed, Mary and I have been on opposite vacation schedules for most of August. It’s been hard, but mostly we’ve survived by doing this thing called ‘hanging out with our other friends’. Last week, those friends were Jenny and Larisa , two lovely ladies I know from my pottery studio.

Making friends in New York is a strange thing, especially if, like me, you take a little while to warm up to people. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not because New Yorkers are unfriendly. They’re extremely friendly… as long as your not blocking a major thoroughfare on the sidewalk or in any way making a line take longer than it should (no, it is not an appropriate time to grill the barista on their knowledge of indie bands at 9am when there’s a line at the coffee bar, annoying hipster dude who obviously does not understand the importance of that iced coffee to my life right now).

The biggest roadblock to friendships here seems to be one of scheduling.
With old friends, it’s okay to call them up at 9pm to make plans for the evening. With new friends, there’s pressure to come up with something cool or interesting. What if you have nothing to talk about or they hate seeing movies (note to potential new friends: I kind of hate seeing movies because the theater is always cold and you can’t talk without getting shushed) or you bring them to a party that’s really lame? Will that doom your relationship? At least with dating you can save yourself with the virtue of a good night kiss!

But that’s part of the reason I love my pottery friends. For the past year and a half, every week we’re at the studio at least once, talking about pots or glazes or how something should be put together so it won’t crack or our jobs or our families or that TV show. It’s friendship, middle school style, where you’re not really doing anything but hanging out. Plus, they think my jokes are funny. And so, in honor of pottery, some (vegan!) peach gazpacho with a side of asparagus!

Peach Gazpacho

  • Roughly chop 5-6 ripe peaches, 5 ripe tomatoes, 2 red peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small red onion and a large handful of mint.
  • Blend and chill until cold (use the tomato water to start off the blender), adding salt and pepper to taste.

Bonus Asparagus:

  • Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and sauté
  • Cut one packet/bunch of asparagus into bite-sized pieces and add to pot, along with a handful of chopped baby portabella mushrooms
  • Cook covered until the asparagus is bright green and serve (butter optional)