N. has taken to playing in the kitchen while I work there, making meals or washing. Sometimes she simply empties cupboards, and often she demands to be up in my arms so she can "SEE? SEE? SEE?" but lately, she's also been "cooking." When I ask her what she's making, she usually says, simply, "soup."
I'm not sure how she got the idea to make soup, since she's only really started talking this summer, and there hasn't been a whole lot of soup-making around here, what with the temperatures in the triple digits and all (yes, I know one can make cold soups; we tend not to). Still, it's nice to be "fed" by my toddler. I love it when kids "make soup," because they become so creative with the ingredients. "BOK-key?" N. tells me. "BEEEEn?" and then: "PAPAYAYAYA?"
Despite the record heat and humidity in these parts, I could have used a little comfort soup today. The I-bug was still at home sick and
will likely be home tomorrow, too; I had a job interview; and I am developing a complex about the fact that I really only have one pair of shoes--sandals!--to wear to BlogHer. (My shoe-buying phobia is even worse than my clothes-shopping phobia. And I happen to really like wearing my one pair of sandals.)
If I did make soup, it would be something along the lines of the food we ate at a little B&B in Nominigue (now under different ownership, I believe) when we stopped there for a night during a bike trip through the Laurentians in Canada. I've been thinking about our host Guillaume a lot lately as I've been using up CSA produce; the meals he made us were filled with produce and herbs from his garden, and inspired, he told us, by his grandmother. His chickpea salad, which I tried to recreate the other day with some
chickpeas, lemon juice, fresh ground pepper, and fresh herbs, practically leapt into
my mouth. I don't remember if he made tomato salad, but if he did, it would have been
like the tomato, balsalmic vinegar, and fresh Parmesan dish I threw
together to go with the chick peas. It's funny, but I think that those simple meals were some of the best meals I've ever eaten, anywhere.
Here's to you, Guillaume. I hope you're still making wanderers feel at home.
adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups
This is supposed to be a spring vegetable soup, but it could also work well with some of the summer produce arriving in a CSA share or at your local northern hemisphere farmer's market now (onions, potatoes, tomatoes, beans).
3 T. butter
2 c. cauliflower
1 c. fresh peas (or beans)
1 c. chopped spinach (or chard or kale)
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions or leeks
1 c. chopped celeriac (you could also use turnips or potatoes)
2 quarts water
1 c. sherry or white wine
2 bouillon cubes
2 sliced tomatoes, peeled and chopped
pinch mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a soup pot and saute the vegetables (except for the tomatoes) for 1-2 minutes.
Add the water, sherry, bouillon cubes, tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook the soup slowly, covered, over medium-low heat for about 1 hours. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Let soup sit for 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, add more fresh finely chopped herbs.