Tag Archives: Anna Thomas

Soup kitchen

detail from Johann Georg Sturm’s 1796 Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen

Soooooo….

When you realize that you have six pounds of parsnips, and the odd roast turkey carcass and the freezer needs defrosting (because the freezer is old enough to be NOT frost-free) and the weather is also not frost-free….time to make some soup.

You work in a kitchen, sometimes you make soup.

Soup Kitchen.

I’ve had some great soup gurus – early on Anna Thomas…

anna-thomas-2016

Anna Thomas

love-soup

I started with the soup basics in Vegetarian Epicure…This is only soups.

There are also the ethnic soups that are shades of my childhood, what we ate and what we talked about…

soups-of-italy

I’ve mentioned this before..still a page turner

Barbara Kafka has a soup book called, “Soup : A Way of Life”.

soup-babara-kafta

Not to be confused with

kafkas-soup

But I digress….

 

But most of the time I make soup by assembling the likely ingredients – in some cases the Most Likely ingredients – and then think about how they go together, and what needs to be added to make them one soup and not a bunch of leftovers.The soupness helps to bring things together, but the right accent can make things great.

There’s also the internet …..

Most of the parsnip soup recipes called for milk or cream, and there are allergy issues with dairy AND it would mean a trip to the store….and  wants to go to the store for ONE THING? And who comes back from the store with one thing?????.

But the internet had quite a few vegan veggie soups, many of which included cashews, which bring up nut issues   ….but also, I had NO cashews and then I would have to go to the store for one thing….back to that.

Then there were a raft  of soup recipes where the roots were roasted and pureed.

Roasting, easy-peasy.

Pureeing….there’s no blender in the kitchen, but boiling the roasted roots in broth makes mashing a really possibility.

Parsnips are peeled and cut. The better part of a head of garlic, peeled. All the veggies tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in a hot oven til fork tender, 350° oven about an hour, fork very tender.

Cool and save.

Soup Day morning, add 5 quarts broth made from the turkey carcass and a big sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for an hour, mash the parsnips to thicken it up. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Bring to a bowl.

Makes 15 servings.

parsnips-1

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Filed under Eating, Influencers, Soup, winter

Winter Blues

Ready for the Snow – George Lucas

 

Snow, snow, snow. Cold, cold, cold. Short days, but getting longer, but not nearly long enough. Long nights getting shorter, but not short enough. Not quite enough sunlight. At least the snow makes the full moon light brighter.

Beth went to  some sort of Publishers Book Fair earlier this month and brought me back some samples. (Thank you Beth! XoX). These are books that haven’t yet been released, the advance reading copies, which makes them doubly delightful, being both new reads and being ahead of their own time, as it were.

One book had menus as chapter headings, and the first chapter was Xmas, so I dove in – what better to read in a snow storm/Jonas/apocalypse?

It turned out to be about a woman pursuing a career (that she’s AWFULLY ambivalent about) with a marriage that she’s outgrown and then she re-invents herself as a single in the city …and since she’s had a career for over 20 years, she’s not exactly a Spring Chicken, but on the other hand she has a young daughter…sometimes….and a non-romantic interest nonagenarian (that’s a 90 something) who is a cook/philosopher. And she finds a Mister Man of Her Unrealized (at the books opening) Dreams before the end.

But of course.

A Twenty-First Century Sleeping Beauty/Snow White/Cinderella Fairy Tale, complete with Disneyesque Princess and unnamed Prince Charming.

disney_live_Three_Princess

Even Disney can’t tell them apart anymore

Each chapter in this fairy tale begins with a menu, and some of the dishes have descriptions or almost recipes written in, and good kitchen advice as well. And drinks. There is plenty of alcohol fueling this fairy tale, too.

As I was reading, I was imagining who would be cast in the movie version…Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps,

Jennifer Lawrence

even though Sandra Bullock would be more age appropriate, and no doubt Dustin Hoffman

dustin_hoffman

could play the Yoda/spatula wielding-leading man… or maybe it could be a limited run TV series, that’s part Drama/part Cooking show with cookbook/life manual to go with it. Since she doesn’t write about his death, and he’s ninety something in 2009, there’s sequel material out there……

And so I went to bed. It’s not until this morning that I realized the name of the leading lady is the same name as the author…both first AND last names, a woman who had done the sort of work that the leading lady had done and that the book is dedicated to someone who has the same name as the darling and mostly absent daughter, and

in a Dawn Breaking over Marblehead moment

dawn over Marblehead

Dawn (or light) breaking ovah Marblehead. We take our figures of speech literally round here.

did I realized this might be

MEMOIR.

As a novel, I’d have more to say about this, but as someone’s portrayal of their life……although my own life is sometimes

A Movie Directed By Mel Brooks,

Mel Brooks

it is not a telenovelas or a soap opera or reality show. And it certainly wouldn’t be  in my written versions. That kind of DRAHMA I can’t sustain for longer than a cup of coffee. If that long.

 

On the other hand, Our Leading Man put a homemade blue cheese dressing on avocados, which make me want that combination in the worst way. And since I have some Blue cheese in the house, and a recipe for blue cheese dressing   This one is a creamy version. I have another vinaigrette somewhere….If I can figure out where the book is -it might be on the shelf of the little bookcase that is still at the ancestral home.

Avocados are on my shopping list, even though I still don’t know how to buy one or keep it or eat it in the place between rock hard and tasteless and brown and slightly oozy and scary bad. But avocados and SuperBowl Sunday go together hand in glove, so there are plenty to go around and at a good price, too.

I’ve also been eating orange and red and yellow food, just for the color warmth.

Squash soup made with the frozen squash and some cranberry apple cider that got much sweeter as it cooked; I searched Anna Thomas Love Soup and she had a version of squash soup that had red lentils in it, so I added some of them, and some water. Her soup also had some spices, turmeric, cumin, red pepper – which sounds a lot like curry powder, of which there was none in the house. And although the vegetarian Anna Thomas wouldn’t suggest it, sausage would cut the sweet…

Love Soup

Curry powder and sausage go on the grocery list.

The lentils reminded me of Simon Mujumdar’s Life Saving Dahl, so find his book and put dahl on the list, too. Is Eating My Globe at the ancestral home, too? Interesting what got save first, and once safe was moved to the no worries list…..ah, internet:

EatMyGlobe

 

Life Saving Dahl – Simon Majumdar

And now, back to blues, as in foods.

 

Stiltob cheese

Stilton cheese – a blue cheese

 

 

I bought the bit of supermarket Stilton for a rarebit….and then  took a little trip down a rabbit hole as well.

Just what IS the difference between rabbit and rarebit? When did this become a dish and not just toasted bread and cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!

The short version of which is: It’s confusing! Both rarebits and rabbits abound and there are also a few other names for cheese on toast.

Hannah Glasse (The Art Of Cookery Made Plain & Easy) has the earliest printed Welsh Rabbit recipe, and it’s a rabbit, in 1747. Welsh not the only rabbit in Glasse – there is also Scotch and English rabbits there. In the next chronological reference I could find (this is all rather haphazard and not the least academic) in 1753 (The Ladies Companion)there is A Scotch, A Welsh A Portuguese and An Italian…. and later on there is also Scotch Buck and English Monkey and Blushing Bunny….and the rabbit/rarebit divide isn’t just between England and the US or even between centuries. Both countries and both 19th and 20th centuries use both names. Rabbit Hole.

Alice in Wonderland Tennial

Rabbit or Rarebit?? And just where are you from??????ONE answer, please!

I’m close to crying ‘Uncle’ in all of this, and then it will be a Wicked  WayBack Wednesday post.

In the meantime, this is the blue cheese rarebit that I clipped from Bon Apetit back in 1994 and have enjoyed numerous times since then, especially since I found that the local convenience store sells milk not only in Gallons and Half gallons and Quarts, but also in 14 oz. to-go bottles. As someone who doesn’t drink milk, buying even a quart means I have to come up with at least one other way to use it, so instead of 12 oz of milk, I use the 14 with no harm.

Stilton Rarebit

1 ½ T butter

1 ½ teas flour

1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard

1 ½ C milk

1 C Stilton (4 oz)(an English blue cheese)

1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 slices WW bread, toasted

Walnuts, chopped

 

  1. …Whisk flour in and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in mustard.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer till thickened, whisking occasionally: 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese and whisk until melted. Add remaining cheese, whisk until melted and smooth.
  5. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  6. Cut toasted bread slices on diagonal and overlap 4 halves on each of 2 plates. Ladle rarebit over.
  7. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

2 servings.

  • Bon Appetit magazine. Dec 1994 issue (New Year’s supper 1994)Bon Appetit Dec 1994 cover

In my notebook it’s on a page with Dylan Thomas quote:

….there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons….

By 1994 I knew that ‘cracker’s’ in this case were NOT saltines…..

christmas-cracker_

 

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Bread, winter

Potato Peel Broth

Peeling Potatoes - Vincent Van Gogh

Peeling Potatoes – Vincent Van Gogh

There are times when ‘going meatless’ and ‘reduce food waste’ can go hand in  hand. In my freezer is a container that gets all the tough ends of things, the wilted parsley, the ends of celery, the not pretty or not prime. When it’s broth making time they get added to the meat and bone OR they get used alone

But most veggies alone don’t have the heft to give substance to a broth.

russet potato

Russet Potatoes

The lowly potato is nothing if not hefty.

Anna Thomas in The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two has  a very simple truly GENIUS meatless broth.

Vegetarian Epicure Book Two - Anna Thomas

Vegetarian Epicure Book Two – Anna Thomas

BUT before you begin, you have to decide what potato dish you will making with the potatoes. Potato Soup or Potato Gratin or some other dish that uses 6-7 good sized potatoes. It makes no sense to save the peels and throw the potatoes away.

Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas

Potato Peel Broth

Vegetable based (that would be meatless) broth

1 large onion

1 stalk celery

2 carrots

6-7 large brown skinned organically grown potatoes (You are using the PEELS here, people. Organic DOES make a difference here. It’s about 3 pounds. Buy the special bag.)

Large sprig of parsley (or a small stalk of celery – or just the leafy tops – something flavorful and green here)

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp dried whole thyme (or if you don’t like thyme, whatever herbal flavor note you’s prefer. I love dill with potatoes….)

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 Quarts water

Salt and pepper to taste (fresh ground pepper is sooooo much better and now that you can buy peppercorns in a little grinder in the general spice section, why are you spending money on pepper dust?)

1 dash hot sauce (This recipe was written before the Sriracha, my now go-to hot sauce was part of the culinary landscape. But a drop or two of something spicy gives depth.)

Dash of lemon juice (If you have a lemon, you’ll use a lemon. Yes you will.Don’t forget the lemon)

Plan a dish that uses 6-7 large peeled potatoes (like Potato Soup or Potato Cheese Calzone or… you get the picture)

  1. Peel the onion and quarter it. Put in a large soup pot.
  2. Wash the carrots and celery and chop them and add them to the pot.
  3.  Scrub the potatoes thoroughly (this is a job for Loofa Gloves!) and cut out any blemishes.
  4. Loofah Gloves makes scrubbing potatoes a breeze.

    Loofah Gloves makes scrubbing potatoes a breeze.

  5. Peel them in strips at least ¼ inch thick. This is the very opposite from how potatoes are supposed to be peeled. I have to be rather Zen about this, and mindfully make fat peels. Add the fat,clean peels to the pot.
  6. Whatever peeler works for you - or you can use a paring knife

    Whatever peeler works for you – or you can use a paring knife

  7. Add the parsley, oil, bay leaf, thyme and garlic.
  8. Cover with the 2 Quarts water and bring to a boil.
  9. Simmer for 1 ½ hours.
  10. Meanwhile, use the potatoes for whatever you were going to use them for.
  11. If necessary, add more water to the pot to keep the vegetables covered at all times.
  12. Broth is done when it is light brown, fragrant and delicious. There should be about 6 cups.
  13. Strain. Toss out the spent vegetable bits. Correct seasoning; salt, pepper, hot sauce, lemon.
  14. Use, refrigerate for 2 or 3 days to use or freeze for later use.

Adapted from Anna Thomas The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two. Alfred A. Knopf. 1986. pp.58-9.

Peeling Potatoes - Frank Holl

Peeling Potatoes – Frank Holl

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Filed under Books, Recipe, The 1980's