While spices warm up holiday desserts in a delightful way, I love cinnamon accents in savory dishes such as this Mexican corn and bean soup.
Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category
After another swim across Walden Pond a couple of weekends ago followed by plates of breakfast burritos at a local diner, my friend Kristi insisted that we stop by a local farm stand on our way back into town. She even started waving a 20 dollar bill saying she’d buy us vegetables.
Reluctantly Jenna, Lisa, and I agreed that we’d pull over for just five minutes. I don’t know what our problem was. The minute we stepped into the farm stand we started running around exclaiming over the color of the green cucumbers and purple eggplants and the towering pile of corn. Pretty soon I had assembled a still life of sorts on a rustic wooden counter and the lady running the farm stand got so excited she started bringing me veggies to add to my picture like these cute yellow cucumbers I had never seen before.
The first words I heard this morning were “… 2 inches of snow followed by sleet followed by freezing rain.”
A wintry mix. Again. We are only one boot into January and we’ve already been walloped with two blizzards and now rainwater is flooding icy sidewalks and curbsides. But I haven’t succumbed to the winter blues – yet. I mean, at least the weather outside is interesting even if it has been a bit frightful lately.
Last week my commute to work in the blizzard looked like this:
There is something about October that says slow down: two-hour naps should follow two-hour walks in the arboretum; spending a few hours to finish a book should pass without guilt. Think Dave Brubeck’s “Indian Summer.” This is about the pace that October should feel – kind of relaxed and bouncy, lightly mellow, and warm. The other day I rearranged my living room so I could lie on the sofa in golden autumn light and watch the shadows of changing leaf patterns silently tattoo across the floor. That’s all I did for a half hour.
It is easy to take the tomato for granted in late summer. A stroll around Copley’s Farmer’s Market, or any farmer’s market, shows an abundance of these beautiful round shapes, their skins taut and from juices who’ve had the luxury ripening in the fresh air of an open field instead of a hothouse. But these jewels are fleeting. Eat them while you can.
I was at the farmer’s market last Friday, a few blocks from the Monitor. I had met my mom and my brother there for lunch. Mom had taken a bus up from the Cape with a group that was listening to a performance of Trinity Chapel‘s organ (not to miss, if you are ever in Boston). My brother’s office overlooks Copley Square from his shiny office tower in the John Hancock building. It was easy for him to swoop down and join us for a sandwich among the smells of ripe vegetables and the sounds of a guitar and saxophone jazz duet.
Mom spotted a gazpacho recipe pinned to a basket of tomatoes in one of the stalls. I didn’t waste any time in loading up my own bag with the ingredients (parsley, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, yellow onion). I had been wanting to try making a batch of gazpacho since I spotted the Rowdy Chowgirl’s recipe, a new pal from the International Food Blogger’s Conference.
After leaving Seattle and the International Food Blogger Conference, I’m having a short visit with my mom and my “Auntie Marj” in leafy Leland, Mich. I’m heading for a long weekend in a cabin setting with friends, but I had time for a quick cooking lesson from Auntie Marj. She makes her own broth which also ensures that the chicken for this soup will be tender. Learning how to make your own broth is a good habit to develop, I’m told. I’m still working on it.
Once you’ve made your broth, this soup is fast, tasty, and will prepare you for the chill that is starting to creep into these last days of summer. Both mom and Auntie Marj served me plenty of motherly wisdom as we ate, because I was salting my soup with a few tears as I unpacked some life frustrations. Moms and aunts and kitchen tables are good for this kind of thing, but I recommend using regular sea salt or table salt for your soup. (more…)
My friend Nate has what I call a kitchen ministry. He gathers people around his table and showers them with affection and food on almost any night of the week. More than once I have gotten a “dp?” text message (meaning “dinner party”) that has pulled me out of the grooves my routine and into his kitchen just a few blocks away. It’s warm in there. The walls are painted reddish orange. And we always say grace before we eat. People depart transformed.
If there are more people than soup spoons, 15 was the count one night, Nate hands out measuring spoons as substitutes. I gave him a shoebox full of extra silverware for Christmas but I am pretty sure this box sits under his bed. He admits he likes the spontaneous creativity that comes with solving the problem of too many friends and too few spoons.
This stew reminds me of a dp at Nate’s house. A lot is crammed in and it exudes warmth. It’s from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.” I’ve left out a few fancy things below such as a bread crumb picada thickener and a romesco sauce to add zest. You don’t really need them, and if you think you do, you should just go out and buy the cookbook because it is full of great recipes. (more…)
This is one of my annual fall favorites, a creamy pumpkin soup with a bit of a spicy kick. This is also for mushroom lovers. (Sorry, ‘shroom haters.) It’s also pretty simple and quick to make before you head out the door to your pumpkin carving party. Or serve it as a first course at your chaotic Thanksgiving gathering when you barely have time to think between timing the turkey and mashing the potatoes.
I’ve got two pumpkin parties to attend this year. Bostonians may seem passionate about sculpting squash, and perhaps we are, but I think we are really trying to keep very, very busy even as the leaves darken and turn to brilliant gold. Busyness is a thinly disguised attempt to postpone the inevitable: ice and cold. Somehow thrusting bare hands into an orange pumpkin and coming out with a fist full of goop and seeds puts one in the right here and now. Winter can wait. (more…)