I had originally checked Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours out of the library and then went and bought my own copy, and am glad I did. It’s not that I’m into “French” cooking per se, but I do like to cook good food and this books seems chock full of it!
Tonight a few women I’d gone to high school with came for dinner. We’d met for lunch a few months back and enjoyed reconnecting, so after several attempts we finally managed a dinner together. I wanted a meal that I could be “done with” by the time they arrived but one that could wait for us to be ready to eat so we could sit and visit (and walk out and see the chickens!) and then eat when we were ready.
I settled on soup and quiche. Quiche is good warm or at room temperature so I timed it so it finished baking just as they arrived. I basically used this recipe, but mixed Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, then added some grated Parmesan on top. I also used just one onion, but added half a pound of baby spinach, steamed, squeezed dry and chopped. I skipped the nutmeg and cayenne as well. I think it was especially good because I used up some heavy whipping cream we had left over from the strawberry shortcake cupcakes my eldest made when she was home this weekend. 😉
I made two soups, this asparagus soup and a corn soup. I like the flavor of asparagus but had never had an asparagus soup. Being St. Patrick’s Day, it seemed appropriate to serve a green soup! It was very pretty –and very tasty! The corn soup was good but a trifle herby for me. I think too much rosemary. In both soups, the leftover bits of vegetables were used to flavor the broth. For the corn soup, the corn cobs were set in hot milk to steep, while the rest of the soup was being readied.
I was lazy and chose to just chop off the tough ends of the asparagus rather than peel them, but I did still cook them to create the broth. (The original recipe has you peeling and trimming and tying all the loose bits into cheesecloth and cooking with the asparagus. I just cut off the rough ends and then removed them to the compost bin when I was done.) I also halved her recipe– except for the garlic 😉 — which was great for 3 of us for dinner with a small cup left over.
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1/2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 Tbs butter
- 1 leek white and light green parts only, trimmed and washed and sliced
- 1/2 an onion sliced thinly
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the rough ends off the asparagus but save them. Bring a pot of water to boil, large enough to fit the asparagus in. When it comes to a boil, drop the asparagus in, including the tough ends, and cook for just 4 minutes. Pour off 3 cups of the water to use for the soup. Pour the rest into a colander and pick out the rough ends and discard. Rinse with cold water and then put some ice on top. This helps keep the lovely green color.
- Dry the pan roughly and then add the butter and oil over low heat. Add the onion, garlic and leeks and cook, stirring now and then, a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the pot and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Watch that the heat doesn't get too high. You want it all soft but not browning at all.
- Uncover and the 3 cups of water the asparagus cooked in, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook 10 minutes or so. Uncover the pot and add the asparagus and cook at a low simmer another 5 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender (one of my favorite tools!) to blend the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- If you like, serve with some fresh chopped chives. I didn't do this because my chives aren't growing yet but I will next time. This was really good!