Archive | July, 2010

Alayna’s “So Long NYC” note/ Summer corn soup

28 Jul

If you’ve been anywhere around Mary in the past six to eight months, you’ve probably heard that I’m throwing the most successful going away campaign ever in the history of the universe. It started off gently (and in January or February) with invitations like, “hey, I really want to see the Frick before I go…. want to do it this weekend?” And then moved on to the, “but I want to do one last happy hour at Boat Basin before I leave!”

Now I have accumalated a kind of ridiculous number of going away events in the past two weeks… going away drinks, going away party…

… going away dinner, going away beach trip…

… going away soup night…

… going away cocktails after soup night

And (tonight! because I’m a slacker who hasn’t posted until now!) going away pottery night. I’m not even actually going away until Saturday, and then Mary’s coming with me (don’t worry kids, I’ll send her back eventually!). But I will say, the going away soup was pretty stellar. Zizi even posed for a going away cat with soup photo.

It almost makes up for having to leave, but worry not, soupers… soup’s still on come next Monday!

Thaaaaaat’s right Soup Lads and Ladles, fret not, Monday’s Soup will continue every Monday. Alayna and I will alternate weeks. We’ll bring in new soup friends to help us. My new soup friend works here. I’m bragging, I know. Alayna will bring in new soup insights from Washington, D.C. What do folks on the Hill like to eat? I have no idea, not yet anyway, but soon we’ll all know as Monday’s Soup travels to the United States capital! Oh, dear lord, this reminds me of a song…

(Sing to the tune of School House Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill.”)

Boy: Woof! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little bowl is?

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: Gee, Bowl, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.

Bowl: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn’t even a bowl, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a bowl of soup, so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there oughta be soup.” Then he sat down and molded me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bowl, and I’ll remain a bowl until they decide to make me a bowl of soup.

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Bowl: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bowls never even get this far. I hope they decide to eat me favourably, otherwise I may die.

Boy: Die?

Bowl: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I’m gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.

Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

Bowl: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.

Boy: Oh no!

Bowl: Oh yes!

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a bowl of soup , the president can still say no?

Bowl: Yes, that’s called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you’re so old…

Boy: By that time it’s very unlikely that you’ll become a bowl of soup. It’s not easy to become a bowl of soup, is it?

Bowl: No!

But how I hope and I pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Congressman: He laddled you, bowl! Now you’re a bowl of soup!

Bowl: Oh yes!!!

Summer Corn, Zucchini and Mint Soup

For Broth:

  • Cut the kernels off six ears of sweet corn and set aside
  • Cover the six cobs, a pound of carrots, one yellow onion (quartered) and some salt and pepper with ample water and simmer for about an hour
  • Drain into a bowl and let cool

For Soup:

  • Saute six cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • When translucent, add one white onion, chopped, and cook covered until onion is soft
  • Add four large zucchini, thinly chopped and cover until about halfway cooked through
  • Add in reserved corn and cover again
  • When corn and zucchini are mostly cooked, add in a generous handful of chopped mint
  • When veggies are cooked through, add in corn broth, the juice of two lemons and blend
  • Serve warm or cold with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream

Green Beans Soup

20 Jul

One of my goals here at Monday’s Soup was to include lima beans in a soup. I have a torrid past with lima beans. As a small child I ate a disproportionate amount of vegetables, to the point my parents and grandparents would prop me up at the dinning room table, set bowls of lima beans, corn on the cob, what have you, in front of my large and chubby face, and have friends and family watch and gawk as I was let loose, speedily downing one bowl of lima beans after the next. On and on until someone picked me up from the table. Burped me and set me on my way. I’m not exaggerating. We have home-videos that just document how much and how fast I eat.

My grandparents gladly indulged this and my grandmother, whom I referred to as MoMommy (as in “More Mommies,” I’m brilliant I realize this- I also called my grandfather Ba-Boy, i.e. “Bad Boy” as he enjoyed the occasional cocktail or 5.) Anyways, story goes that every time I visited, and we visited almost weekly for a a long time, MoMommy would dotingly shell piles and piles of lima beans for me because lima beans were my favorite.

Then MoMommy and BaBoy passed away and my mother, I kid you not, never once made me lima beans. I literally don’t think I have ever had a lima bean since I was a four years old and enjoyed overly doting grandparents.

Therefore, I let out an audible gasp when I saw the big pile of lima beans at the Farmer’s Market yesterday afternoon and grabbed them in fists. Before Alayna came over, well actually she was– unknowingly to me– trapped on my front stoop in 95 F degree weather for 25 minutes but I didn’t hear the buzzer… I listened to Billie Holiday and tried to meditate with the feeling of shelling lima beans. They are tougher to shell than English peas, which I appreciated.

For those of you counting this is our second to last soup post. Which means next week is our last Monday’s Soup ever while Alayna and I both live in the same city. This means that our Monday’s Soups have increasingly become excuses to be festive. For the last month or two wine has become mandatory and more recently after-soup outings to our favorite bar that sits squarely between my apartment and Alayna’s and just so happens to have an all-night Monday night happy hour, has become the soup-after party. I love soup-after parties.

Alayna and I got nostalgic, I talked about how my first impression of her was being impressed, as we walked to art school in France, that her gloves were actually socks, and how, Alayna mused, if she were a vegetable she would be a leek. (I gasped.) I’d be kale, in case you were wondering, sturdy and faithful.  Then we started taking pictures of our matching dinosaur necklaces by candlelight, obviously. Soup. Memory makers in these bowls, I tell you.

Green Beans Soup

  • Drop 2 cups of sprouted mung beans in 6 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let them chillax
  • Meanwhile, in big soup pot add 1 onion to 2 tbsp of olive oil and generous shakes of cayenne pepper, simmer for 5 minutes
  • Drop in 3 or so handfuls of pole beans (or green beans) cut into bite sized pieces, let simmer for 5 minutes
  • Drop in 1 sliced and quartered summer squash, freshly shelled peas and lima beans (about 2 cup)
  • After everything is getting soft add 6 or so cups of water, enough to generously submerge everything. 2 or 3 broth bullions, 2 or so tspn of thyme and 2 tspn of herbs de provence, let it sit for a while
  • Add big handfuls of whatever greens you have, throw in the kernels of 1 ear of corn. Taste it in five minutes. Add some lemon. And salt and pepper.

Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

14 Jul

This has never happened before (AKA posting on a Wed.) but I made something last night that I was so excited about I had to share. This also might have been the first time I had a weird impulse grain buy and actually used those impulse grains effectively.  I’m proud.

Meet the Sprouted Mung Bean. These are super healthy for you, a lot of protein and low in calories and all that. They are also really satisfying to eat. This is a delicious cold summer salad or warm summer stew, depending on your mood. It’s really easy to make. And like, I said, I made it up. I’m really proud of myself.

Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

  • Boil 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • Add 1 cup “Sprouted Mung Beans” to boiling stock and let boil for 5 minutes
  • Turn off heat, cover and leave for 2 minutes
  • In a separate sauce pan simmer 1 onion (red or white) in 1 or so tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper for 10 or 15 minutes
  • Pour the pot of Mung Beans, with stock, into the onions
  • Add 1 or 2 cups of freshly shelled peas (preferably)
  • Add 1 ear of corn kernels
  • Add 1 tsp of thyme
  • Let all this simmer for a couple minutes. Add a squeeze of lime and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy because it’s the BEST!

Rabe, squash and apple soup with pesto

13 Jul

Meet my boot. I have a love / hate relationship with my boot. Love because I think it’s actually helping my mangled tormented ankle that has suffered years of neglect and abuse by yours truly. Hate because I can’t run or workout or raise my heart rate. And that’s driving me nuts. The fact that I’ll still be wearing this goddamn boot even after Alayna has moved out of New York sort of grief strikens me. Either way…. how lovely does that look? The picture below, I mean.

One thing Alayna and I got to talking about while she cooked and I sat in a chair by the garbage cans guzzling wine, is that there is a dark side to this whole farm to table / CSA / Farmer’s Market bit that everyone and their mother is celebrating right now. A little something that no one is talking about. I’m going to break that silence right now.

Vegetables are actually dirty. I mean literally covered in dirt. Alayna and I are both pretty lazy cleaners. I don’t even think dirt is that bad for you. Though I freak out about say, microwaves. But I had this experience recently where I made a really lazy, rushed gazpacho last week as an effort to get rid of my CSA vegetables before they went bad. It was delicious. Until I broke out in a rash at work. And then became freezing cold. Which was odd because it was that 100 F day last week and our office’s air conditioner had stopped working and literally all anyone was talking about was how hot it was.

As some sort of bizarre vegetable torture I tried the gazpacho again this week (uhm vegetable torture / I’m very cheap… Once again, there’s no such thing as a free lunch… ba da boom!) Anyways, yeah, weird arm rash and chills after half the bowl. Then I wisely decided to stop eating.

As our mantra says, Do not fear soup. But like, maybe I should have blanched those red dandelion greens I literally just tossed in the blender, stems and all. The thing with farm to table food is that it involves so much damn preparation. Which sometimes is a nice thing. Shelling peas is probably one of my favorite things to do. Blanching however, I always think is just a giant pain in the ass. But I guess I need to work on embracing this process more. That or embrace my arm hives.

Rabe, squash and apple soup

  • Roughly chop one or two onions and saute in olive oil with some red pepper flakes on medium-low heat until transluscent
  • Add one bunch of brocoli rabe, also chopped, stir and cover, bringing up the heat a little until they begin to look a darker green
  • Add 3-4 chopped zucchinni or yellow squash and mix in, keeping covered
  • Once squash is about halfway cooked, add in two chopped red delicious or braeburn apples (without cores)
  • Cover with broth, bring up to temperature, blend and serve with a dollop of fresh pesto


  • combine the leaves of one bunch of basil, a handful of hazelnuts, about half a cup of parmesean cheese and two cloves of garlic in a food processor with olive oil
  • blend
  • adjust flavors

Vichysoisse Soup

6 Jul

Looks like a tranquil and serene dinner right? It sure was. Until I got back home to my apartment the next evening, opened my refrigerator and remembered that I have tubs upon plastic tubs of CSA vegetables that are just piling up. Radishes, carrots, cucumbers, scapes, green onions, dandelion greens, etc. etc. etc. I could tell a panic was rising. I started to write down all of the vegetables on a list as to somehow calm my nerves. Yes, listing calms my nerves. But as I kept discovering pockets of new vegetables I had stored away from my last CSA pick up, potatoes on top the fridge, blueberries behind the box of basil, that’s when I had a little freak out.

Maybe it was the heat.

CSA-Freak Out. I know there are others like me. Gavin said this is for fun, just don’t use them if you don’t want them. But if you’re like me that’s not an option. The idea guilt riddles my bones. And then it’s one of those things where I realize I don’t have any time to actually cook or preserve this food until Thursday late night, which is also my next CSA pick up date. I mean, I could just not pick up my vegetables next week. But that feels like failure.

I remember reading a feminist essay way back in the undergrad days about a woman wanting a “A Wife.” She essentially meant a traditional homemaker. I feel that. As I work towards… honestly just trying to be good– trying to know where my food comes from and what it is, trying to minimize my environmental impact, trying to enjoy the art of cooking– I’m increasingly realizing the time factor this all takes.

But the thing is the more you learn about food culture and the process involved the harder it is to go back, to unconsciously eat a Subway sandwich and forget about what you know and don’t know about that sandwich (not that there is anything wrong with Subway, it’s just the idea of not knowing everything you are about to put in your mouth). With knowledge there is power… and obligation. And a lot of damn work.

Vichysoisse Soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced potatoes
  • 2 1/3 cups chicken stock
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/8 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. Gently sweat the chopped leeks and the chopped onion in butter or margarine until soft, about 8 minutes. Do NOT let them brown.
  2. Add potatoes and stock to the saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste; do not overdo them! Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Cool. Gently stir in the cream before serving.