Monday, September 14, 2009

SEPTEMBER 14 - PHILADELPHIA, PA - Back home and cookin' away!

I was feeling under the weather after the tour - so I could think of nothing more comforting than spending the afternoon in the kitchen, making a nice, big, batch of soup. I had gone food shopping earlier in the day, and excited by all of the local produce I'd missed out on for the past month, I admittedly bought too much. The solution? Throw it all in the soup! I normally would have used zucchini/yellow squash as well, but surprisingly the selection at my (awesome) local-centric corner store was less than stellar. Basically I guess my point is: use whatever veggies you like (and of course, those that are in season where you live, since freshness is paramount).

This soup can easily be made vegan - simply substitute 2-4 tbsp Nutrional Yeast for the cheese rind.

MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE GET WELL SOUP
makes a lot... I'd say it serves 8-12

Doctored Veggie Stock
makes about 3 quarts

You can also use this recipe to make all 3 quarts homemade - simply double the veggies and use 12 cups water, instead of 12 cups stock - I just had extra on hand that I wanted to improve.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled*
1 tsp salt
small handful of: coriander seeds (about 12-15), peppercorns, fennel seeds, and thyme
3 cloves garlic*
1 small head of fennel*
2 carrots, peeled*
2 stalks of celery*
1 small leek
small rind (about a 2x4" piece) of Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup Pernod, Ouzo, or any other anise flavored liquor
a few splashes of soy sauce
1-1/2 tbsp Vegetable Boullion+12 cups water or 12 cups of Vegetable stock

*Note: All of the veggies should be roughly chopped (they'll be discarded later)

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and spices. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Add the garlic, carrots, fennel, celery, and leek and cook 10 minutes more, until the veggies start to brown.

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Add the cheese rind and the vermouth, scraping up the brown bits, for about a minute.
Add the soy sauce, bouillion and water (or broth). Bring to a boil (faster if covered), then reduce the heat to medium low.

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Simmer for 20-30 minutes, with the lid slightly off the pot, so that some of the liquid can escape and the stock can become a bit more concentrated.
Remove from heat, put the lid back on the pot all the way, and let rest for a few hours (or overnight in the fridge).
Strain, discarding the solids, and you've got yourself some tasty, Frenchified veg stock.
Proceed with making soup:

The Soup

2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 onions*
2 carrots*
Just shy 2 bulbs fennel* (I reserved the fronds for garnish, and see below what I did with a little bit of the sliced bulbs)
1 stalk celery*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dry Vermouth (or any dry white wine)
8 plum tomatoes, peeled and crushed with your hands (this can be done by putting a tiny x at the top and bottom of each one and placing them in boiling, salted water - or stock, when you're making it - for 30 seconds. A quick shock in some ice water, and voilà, the skin comes right off)
2 cups (canned or cooked dried) beans (I used Scarlet Runner Beans that I boiled with a bay leaf and a couple cloves of garlic. I left them a little underdone so they'd finish in the soup.)
2 waxy potatoes* (I used Yukon Gold - Russets or starchy potatoes will dissolve too easily in the soup)
2 quarts Vegetable Stock (see recipe above)
2 ears of corn, kernels cut away and cobs reserved
handful of green beans, chopped into 2" pieces
bunch baby spinach
chopped basil, for garnish

*Note - all of these vegetables should be chopped into a half-inch dice.

Just like making the stock, heat the oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat, and add the onions. Sprinkle with some salt and cook for about 10 minutes, until they begin to turn translucent.
Add the carrots, fennel, celery, and garlic and cook 10 minutes more, until the veggies start to brown and you develop a nice frond at the bottom of the pot.
Deglaze with the wine, again scraping up the nice bits, for about a minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, corn cobs, potatoes, beans and stock.
Bring to a boil, and reduce to a heat to medium-low, moving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

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Add the corn and string beans. Cook 5 minutes longer.
Add the spinach another 5 minutes, or until the string beans are tender.

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Taste for seasoning and add salt and fresh pepper (if necessary).

Serve, topped with sliced basil and fennel fronds and with a side of good, crusty bread or...

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Manchego Garlic Toasts
makes 6-8

1 baguette, sliced lengthwise (like a giant roll), and crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 lb Manchego cheese, grated
Fresh ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil

Heat baguette pieces in a toaster oven or under the broil until light brown.
Rub each portion with the garlic and top with cheese.
Place back in the oven and toast until the cheese is slightly browned.
Top with black pepper, a drizzle of oil and serve with the soup.

I also served this with a side salad (I ended up having company - even a sick me can't bear to cook for just one or two). I quickly pickled some shallot and sliced fennel (yeah, I took a handful out of what I was gonna throw in the soup) in some white wine vinegar and agave nectar. Add the green of your choice (as you may have guessed, I used Arugula), the best extra virgin olive oil you have, and some fresh pepper. Toss together and top with a little more shaved Manchego (can't have too much cheese).

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3 comments:

Michael said...

Wow,
the best bassist I've ever seen and a fantastic chef also. We met in Annapolis. I was the guy from Florida that was talking to you and your dad and mom after the show. You and Adrian and Eric were(are)the best. Come to Fl, or at least, keep in touch. Just bought anew Bass today. Dean 10 string.
Mike

Julie said...

Sweet - thanks, Michael. Hopefully we'll be back down there soon (and then New Orleans, Texas...)

But seriously - thanks for makin' the trek up!

Michael said...

Back at you. Will use that recipe, as we are both in same diet category. email is aestadt@gmail.com if you want to talk non public. Going to see Atlantic Rythym Section Sat in Cocoa Beach.(very near here).
Till then,
M