Sunday, July 26, 2009

The 1 Mile Diet

Hi All.
Crazy time here as I finish the last of my edits, due tomorrow and then my book is done! How exciting. I also have a pub date. Restoring Harmony will be available May 13th, 2010! It's even up on Amazon already if you search under my name.

I know you came here for SS though, not to hear about my book...however, it's just a CRAZY-BUSY so I'll just quickly say that we had 17 people (plus us) today which I think sets a record for a non-event SS (like our anniversary or The Neighbour's birthday).

Exactly one year ago today, I made curried zucchini soup because it was coming out of our ears, and guess what? It's that time again! So instead of blogging, because I'm trying to grab some dinner and then race off to the beach for the sunset after editing all day, I will just send you here to last year's post. It's pretty much the same except the first paragraph. This post is labeled 1 Mile Diet because The Southerner grew the zucchini and the onions over at The Commons.

P.S. Sunday Soup will be on hiatus next week as we have a family event we're going to and so our kitchen will be dark! Oh, no! I know...but SS will be back on 9 August.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Say Cheese!

Yesterday I ran into the Fleece Lady at the market (selling her lovely fleece goods!) and she mentioned that she had bought some fabulous tomatoes and intended to bring salsa today. I had been thwarted in my attempts to buy cauliflower (no more until the fall - boohoo!) from the farm gate, so I spent a bit of time trying to think of some kind of soup that would be complemented by a salsa appetizer and I decided on cheese.

I had a lot of half & half left over already, so a creamy soup was in order anyway. This turned out to be one of those soups where I just cannot allow myself to add up the cost of it or I we'll be eating oatmeal all week to stay in our food budget. Some soups are like that...especially anything with dairy, but they are usually sooooo worth it, and this time was no exception. I made a lovely cheddar soup with carrots, potato & onion diced up very small, and a hint of sherry. Another problem with expensive soup is that the recipe never makes very much and so even though I tripled the recipe, I only just filled the crockpot. Usually I have a couple of quarts left over to refill with, but not this time. We did not run out, but the last five people to show up did have smallish portions.

Luckily, there was lots of bread, the aforementioned salsa & chips, blueberries brought to us by The Writer, and grapes and more blueberries brought by more guests and cake. Yes, cake! The Older Sister had a birthday yesterday, so today she wore the traditional Sunday Soup Birthday Princess sash and I made a cake for her. She had told me that she wanted a vanilla cake with thick frosting. I wasn't sure if she meant a white cake or a vanilla cake, but I took her at her word and found this recipe online. I added the innards of one vanilla bean to the batter to really up its vanilla quotient, made a vanilla butter cream frosting, and put raspberries and frosting between the layers. It was quite decadent.

The missing raspberry is not because I ran out, but because a certain Birthday Princess thought that she needed a raspberry, and it was her cake after all! You'll remember that I'm teaching The Sisters to cook and it is apparent that we have a ways to go because the Older Sister was surprised to hear that I made the frosting. I make the butter! I make the bread, the soup, crackers, everything you eat here! I can only assume she didn't know one could make frosting. Well...we are going to be having some more cooking lessons ASAP! My work here has clearly hardly begun. But it's fun work and it looks like yummy lessons are in order.

We had a large gathering and it has become apparent that we really need to enlarge our deck, so I think we'll order the supplies and then maybe everyone can come a few hours early one week and we can just knock it out. I'll make cake.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Soup Haiku

Cooking in the season
Golden beet soup with greens
Editing on a deadline - no words left

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Fruitful Sunday

Today I decided to try something new...well, earlier this week, I decided, but today everyone got to experience the fruit of my labours. That would be cherry-pitting labours!

As I mentioned before, one of my goals for this second year is to cook with the season, and this week, the first of the British Columbia cherries came into the store. I spent a good portion of the Cubs game (I listen on the internet radio) on Friday, pitting cherries for our freezer (7lbs!) and while I was doing it, I started thinking about soup recipes I've seen for Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup. Even though the Fix-it Guy seems to think I made up cherry soup, I actually have several recipes in different cookbooks! And there are tonnes of recipes on the web too.

I ended up combining two recipes and here is what I did (loosely). One reason I mixed recipes together is because many of them call for flour and as you know, there are at least two SS attendees who can't have gluten. Another change I made is I used black cherries and reduced the sugar since all recipes pretty much called for tart cherries. This makes A LOT. Like 8 quarts! So you might want to make less, although The Southerner and I do have excellent plans for the leftovers.

The Chef's Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup
3lbs pitted black cherries (halve the cherries, remove the pit, don't cut them up any further)
18 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
cinnamon to taste (2 tsp?)
2 cups of sour cream thinned with 1/2 cup of 1/2 & 1/2
1/3 cup cornstarch

Bring the water, cherries, cinnamon and sugar to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with some water and stir well with a fork to get rid of lumps. Add it to the cherries, stirring continuously. You need to make sure it reaches a boil because it won't thicken unless it does. Once it's thickened (slightly, it will still be fairly thin, but you should notice a change), remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Let cool and then put in refrigerator overnight.

Before serving add sour cream that you've thinned with 1/2&1/2 and mix well. Serve in chilled bowls. For bread, I made these drop biscuits. They were very easy and quite yummy too and complimented the soup nicely.

While I think the guests were a little surprised, and some of them even a bit dubious when they heard about the soup, everyone seemed to like it a lot. We also had a bunch of surprises! The Fleece Lady brought...well, I don't know exactly what they're called, but they're these round balls about the size of a truffle made of fruit and nuts and other excellent ingredients. Also, there is a couple who are newish, but becoming regulars at SS and I don't have nicknames for them yet, but The Ones Without Names are originally from Romania and since they heard the soup was Hungarian, they brought some lovely Romanian bread. It was all twisted together and fantastic! Roxy Steve brought delish bakery bread.

The Younger Sister brought pound cake with fresh strawberries and bananas and she used my mixer to whip the cream herself. Very impressive, even though I heard a rumour that she did NOT use a separate bowl for the dry and wet ingredients like I taught her...I'm sure this cannot be true! Her cake was lovely and we still have some!

Our big plans for the leftover soup is we are going to freeze it and serve it over the cake like ice cream. I bet you wish you were us!

Have a great week and eat with the season! Oh, also, on my writing website, I have some gardening and cookbook info you might like to see.