Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make It Your Own Soup

OK, scooch a little closer so I can get you all in the frame.
I hear great conversation happening.
Hot and sweet and pretty.
Time to get Roasting. Not that kind - no insults in my kitchen.
The song we're singing today is Roasted Vegetable Soup.
All together now.......

It's raining in CA. A nice gentle, steady rain. The kind of rain we need. Soaking in rain, not running off and causing trouble rain. CA handles rain run-off in many ways. In my neighborhood there are big open trenches dug along the street alternating with concrete culverts to collect water and carry it in pipes to who knows where. Today I watched the city scratch their collective heads, trying to solve the problem of the river of rain that runs down my neighbors driveway, which it always does when it rains. Is it only when it rains that they can work on this? If you're a civil engineer, maybe you could come out and make a few suggestions.

Rain puts me in the mood for soup. I went to Alton Brown, the teacher, for some advice. He doesn't make soup in the book I have but he talks a lot about sauces and I learned that Stock and Broth are not the same. Bones are not required for broth but they are for stock. So vegan stock does not exist. Now we're clear on that. I flipped to vegetables. I decided to roast the vegetables for todays soup because Alton says roasting hightlights the complex flavors that are sometimes washed away by wet cooking methods. We don't want that.

I cut up the celery after removing the leaves, thinking they are too tender for roasting, I'll blend them with the shallot, garlic and pepper later. I cut up the potato, carrots, zuchini, tomato and apple. All the cut ups went into a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary.

I cut the top off the head of garlic, chopped the shallot, seeded and cut the jalepeno pepper in half and gave them a little olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, wrapped them up in aluminum foil.

Into the oven at 300 degrees.

I set the timer for 1 hour. 300 degrees is slow roasting and it makes me more comfortable with the process. Not so easy to burn the smaller pieces. After another 30 minutes the veggies looked ready and the garlic was soft.  Cool down time.

When the veggies were cool, I picked up a piece of each item; apple, potato, zuchinni, tomato, carrot and stacked them like a mini sandwich and tasted them. Heaven. Just enough salt, pepper and rosemary. Then I checked the garlic - soft; the shallot was perfect; the jalepeno was tasty without being hot. Everyone was Melllllow.

Into the blender went the celery leaves, half of the vegetables, the garlic squeezed from it's shelter, the shallot and all of the jalepeno pepper with about 2 cups of vegetable broth (not stock).


New Years Resolution: No double dipping with the tasting spoon.

It's tasting time. Oh soooo good. Depending on how you want to serve your vegetable soup, add more vegetable stock to the blender to thin it out. Add all of the vegetables if you want a cream soup.

I suggest you fix up a couple of small dishes of:  parsley, rosemary, scallions thinly sliced, fresh tomato chopped, maybe some grated carrot. Let the folks at the table can garnish their soup to their taste.

This is a Vegetable Soup even an Omnivore can love.
A green salad, a little bread. You're gonna hear some ohhs and ahhs.

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