I think I’m only going to make soup until Mary Ellen gets un-kidnapped. It’ll be like a hunger strike, but I’ll still get to eat soup, which sounds nice. I thought about starting a fundraiser for her ransom money, but I was too hungry from my hunger strike idea, so this will have to do.
I cleared out the rest of my garden this week and found several butternut squash as well as a few carrots I had missed earlier in the season. I started shooting photos while making this soup, but my camera died, and I couldn’t find the charger. You’re all in luck, though, because in addition to going to school to be Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I have also completed extensive coursework in courtroom illustration. So, I was able to quickly and accurately draw the important steps of this recipe. I imagine you won’t even notice the difference between my exceptional photography and illustrations.
Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil and then lightly salt and pepper it. Roast face down on a baking sheet at 400° until soft (about 45 minutes)
Once done, let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it. Scoop out all of the squash into a bowl.
Cut apple and carrots into bite sized pieces
In a large pot, saute garlic and leeks (or shallot) until soft and fragrent. Add carrot, apple, cooked squash, thyme, sage, and vegetable broth. Simmer until apples and carrots are soft )about 15 minutes or so. Add coconut milk. Blend with an immersion blender.
Oh, hey guys! Sorry, was that a microaggression? I want to clarify that I wasn’t assuming anyone’s gender there. I honestly couldn’t care less how many penises or butt holes you have.
Anyway, I don’t know if y’all noticed, but it is fall (oh, I just now got why southerners say y’all, it’s to avoid the microaggression!) I’m so, so sorry this blog doesn’t have any pumpkin recipes yet. It’s not going to change today. What will change is the number of soup recipes we have to offer you. Thanks to my productive garden this year, and the fact that there isn’t an Olive garden within 25 miles of me, I decided to make my own minestrone.
I adapted this recipe from many, many minestrone recipes. I also only used what I had on hand since I really didn’t feel like going to a grocery store. I also think this is one of the few places that whole wheat noodles would work really well.
Onion powder (or about ½ an onion if you don’t hate onions)
Garlic powder (or a few cloves of garlic)
1 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
Several cups of fresh tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)
About 6 cups of vegetable broth
A handful of fresh basil or 1-2 tsp dried
1-2 tsp dried herbs de provence spice blend
1 tsp oregano
1 can of chickpeas
About 8 oz pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional veggies that often go in minestrone, but that I did not have on hand: carrots, spinach, potatoes)
Heat oil in a large pan, and sauté garlic powder and onion powder briefly until fragrant. Add carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, chickpeas, and other dried spices. Cook for a few minutes. Then add broth and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and continue to simmer. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add in your fresh basil and other greens if using.
It was 1969 and a hot summer somewhere in west Texas. Serafina and I worked at a topless bar off the highway. I know what you’re thinking and no, they would not allow us to be one of the topless performers. We had to be fully dressed waitresses.
It was our dream to perform, but seeing as how we were the only employees forced to keep all our clothes on, it seemed like our dreams would never be realized.
Also, we hated each other. Serafina was always stealing my tables and tips and flirting with my customers. One particular night, as I was bringing table 4 our house special, Kicked up Kowboy Kale (I should also mention that our bar was the number one rated vegetarian topless bar for over five decades), she was sitting in my best customer’s, Seth’s, lap! And I was sweet on him!
Anyway, this kind of went on for the entirety of our employment there, which was only around four months. We didn’t become friends until our last night there. Oh, what a faithful night that was! The bar’s most famous dancer, Seitani, had a severe allergic reaction to some radish pasties, and was rushed to the hospital, right before she was to go on!
Serafina and I locked eyes, and rushed to the stage. There was no music, but we rhythmically (we each had a different rhythm) removed our clothes, trying to outdo one another. The audience booed, but we pushed on. The bouncer tried to catch us, but we darted out of his grip! Finally, in what could be considered the bravest, most spectacular move I’ve ever seen in my life (I still get emotional and teary thinking of it), Serafina ripped her pants off, revealing a rainbow vajazzle. It caught the light from the stage spotlight, and blinded everyone in the bar. The light was so miraculous that it acted as sort of a North Star to weary travelers, and before we knew it, her current lover walked in bearing gifts of cats (she accepted his romantic proposal DESPITE the cats).
We were fired immediately, but I was so in awe of Serafina, and realized she wasn’t just any part time, fully dressed, topless vegetarian bar waitress. She was my guru.
So now our readers know the short form history of how we met, here is a recipe that is dedicated from me to Serafina.
1.5 lbs carrots, fresh from the garden you should have
4 cups vegetable broth
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Ground pepper to taste
Prep your vegetables and set them aside. If you hate chopping veggies as much as I do, rejoice! You don’t need to be perfect because you’re going to purée this shit in the end.
Using a large pot, heat your oil over medium low heat, and add your onions. Cook until translucent. Add your garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Finally, add your apples and carrots and cook for a few minutes longer (I usually wait until I can kind of smell the apple cooking).
Add the vegetable broth, and your seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
When all your vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or the texture you like), or, you can do what I did, and transfer it to a blender in batches, spilling carrot water all over the dogs along the way. Either works.
Serve with crackers, a baguette, or my favorite, warm quinoa (yeah I’m that asshole).
Remember to drink your calories,
*fuck grating fresh ginger. This was such a pain in the ass and now I have like a pound of ginger left because they only sell them in 20 lbs increments. Just get the jarred ginger.
A work friend recently lent me her mother’s tattered copy of the Vegetarian Epicure. If you think this is the start to a really boring post, you’re right. It’s about making vegetable broth. If you already have a can or carton of veggie broth, maybe a spare bouillon cube, I’ll save you some time. It’s all basically salted water, and the salt is what makes it delicious. Anyway, maybe you’re like me and your bouillon expired (I didn’t even know that was possible), so this is the only option you have left.
So my work friend brought me the book in a canvas bag because it’s in about five different pieces. The first page has a note about the font they decided to use. Why don’t more books start by talking about font? It’s like no one wants to give you a window into their internal serif versus sans-serif debate. People need to stop debating politics and start talking about what really matters, fonts. Did you know Mary Ellen didn’t even talk to me about what fonts she wanted to use for this blog? I guess I was wrong about our friendship.
Back to the book… I was told that the soup section was fucking amazing, so that was where I started. The first recipe is for a broth, which is the base of most of their soups. It’s called “Garbage Soup.” Be still, my heart. Ok, if I’m being honest, the other name is Potato Peel Soup. I wasn’t sure about it at first (mostly because you have to do things like save your potato peels to use later and that’s just a recipe for filling my fridge with mold faster than usual). But, I decided to give it a try and started saving potato peels in a bag in the freezer (luckily I’m a filthy hippy who also composts and shit, so my boyfriend wasn’t too concerned when he found it).
When I finally acquired six potatoes worth of peels, I reread the recipe and realized I was supposed to cut the peels thicker than I did. Whatever.
Adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 ½ hours
Makes about 6 cups of broth
Peels from 6-7 potatoes, cut about ¼ inch thick (I just used normal peelings from my peeler, ignoring the ¼ inch recommendation)
1-2 leeks (tough green parts removed)
1 celery stalk
1 sprig of parsley (or use dry)
6 cups water
1 clove garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop celery and carrots into manageable chunks (I went with about 3 inch pieces)
Combine all ingredients into a 3 quart or larger pot
Simmer for about 1 ½ hours, adding water as needed as it cooks off
Strain out the veggies with a sieve, you should have about 5-6 cups of broth at the end.
Half of this broth went immediately into some AMAZING mushroom soup, which I promise I’ll tell you about soon. The other half is still in my freezer. Don’t worry, I added bouillon to my grocery list.