Monday, February, 3, 2014
Polar Vortex view from the deck
Here we are in the “Polar Vortex” or as Val would say, “We used to just call it ‘Winter.'” The snow is so heavy and wet that they dismissed the kids early from school. So much for getting a jump on things. I forgot that I was supposed to pick them up until the school secretary called. I was already at the bus stop waiting, covered in huge, sloppy flakes and looking like a polar bear. I had to trudge all the way home, get in my car, scoop up the kids who questioned and complained all the way home. “Where were you? Did you forget us? Why were you late?” Mother of the year, that’s me.
Anyway, these are good soup days. The weather makes everyone want to order which is great for business but I am afraid my two stock pots won’t hold enough. 320 oz. of soup…10 orders of 32 oz. each. Yikes! I am going to be peeling, chopping and roasting vegetables until midnight if I don’t get started. But first I have to mix the bread dough. Oh yeah, and the pizza dough if my kids are going to eat tonight. Thankfully, I already have the Parsley Lemon Butter made and portioned.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
This week’s recipe is not without a pretty steep learning curve, which I didn’t realize until I got into it. First, I bought way too many vegetables: 2 extra butternut squash, 1 extra 5 lb bag carrots. Actually, I thought this was my only surplus until I tried to puree two stockpots full of roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and squash. I added about 8 cups of chicken stock to each, thinking that would do the trick to thin it out enough. The result: 2 stockpots full of vegetable puree ready for the Thanksgiving dinner table, just add a pat of butter. It was so thick, the spoon bent when I tried to scoop some out. I actually had enough vegetable puree for 640+ ounces of soup. I guess I’ll freeze it as base for another upcoming soup.
Oh yeah, and the bread this week, did not come out to my liking. I agonized over it all night and into Wednesday morning. My angst sent me back to the books, or THE BOOK: Jim Lahey’s “My Bread”. Just as I suspected, it’s the flour. Not enough protein in the cheap stuff. I should have stuck with King Arthur.
But wait, there’s more!
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
There must be someone out there who does NOT want me to deliver soups on Wednesdays. It has snowed on Wednesday for the past 3 weeks! We got the call at 5:00am, “This is Dr. Bonnie Gifford, Superintendent of schools, due to inclement weather, Falmouth Public Schools will not be in session today.” AAARGH. Not only do I have to come up with a new delivery plan, now it involves my two unruly elementary age children: “Punch and Judy”.
After getting stuck in my sister’s driveway for 40 minutes, sliding all over the road in the slush/rain/snow and wearing Ugg boot knockoffs that absorbed water like a sponge, I had about had enough. By the time I got home and shoveled my own mess of a driveway, took my soaking wet socks off and sat down to document the drama, I had to question myself, “Do I really want to do this every week?” The answer: “Yup.” Although this week was not without many obstacles, when I see the smiles on my customers’ faces and I’m singing to Hall ‘n’ Oats while chopping onions in my own kitchen, working my own hours, doing my own thing, I can definitely say, in spite of what the Universe throws at me, it’s worth it. And the soup came out pretty good, too.
Roasted Vegetable Soup gets the balsamic treatment
Roasted Vegetable Soup
serves about 4
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 pound parsnips, peeled
1 large sweet potato
1 small butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
chopped fresh parsley (1 small handful)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Lemon Parsley butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash, peel and cut all vegetables to approximately the same size. Place in even layers on rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until slightly caramelized and soft. Remove from oven and place into stock pot with chopped parsley. Add chicken stock to pot and puree with an immersion blender until still slightly chunky. Add more stock for desired consistency. Heat soup through and add balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese, bread and fancy Lemon Parsley Butter (see following recipe).
Lemon Parsley butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
zest from 1/2 of one lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Serve with freshly baked bread. Eat your heart out, enjoy.