WND – Resistance is Futile

September 2, 2010

I had ambitions towards an entire meal from the farm stand – tomatoes, corn, zucchini, salad, melon, nectarines. I was doing pretty well – tomato tart, corn & zucchini salad, salad with nectarines, melon – and then I got to the soup, at which point it all fell apart. My problem was not a lack of summer soup recipes. I have stacks of summer soup recipes. My problem was that I was already using so many summer ingredients in the rest of dinner that there weren’t really any leftover to use as a base for soup without repeating myself.

Case in point, I have a great summer tomato soup recipe, but the point of this Dinner was to make the tomato tart again before we’re out of tomato season. Tomato soup on top of tomato tart felt a little excessive.

I have a zucchini soup recipe that I want to try, but I was serving zucchini in salad form and having it in the soup too felt repetitive, and I was more invested in the corn & zucchini salad than I was in the zucchini soup.

I contemplated an Indian spiced carrot soup, but the flavor profile felt off with all the olive oil, goat cheese and basil that was going on in the rest of the meal. And carrot soup, to me, screams for the liberal application of ginger, honey and garam masala.

A red pepper soup was a real possibility because all the farmer’s stands are overflowing with bell peppers right now, but I couldn’t find a recipe that I liked. As it turns out I should have thrown that question to the crowd, because one of my friends apparently has a fantastic red pepper soup recipe.

In the end I admitted defeat and fell back on a recipe for cauliflower soup which I love, but is perhaps a trifle more autumnal than summery. Although that being said, I did see the first (pale orange) cauliflower of the year at the farmer’s market on Wednesday. It made me wonder if you made this soup with purple or orange cauliflower, would you get purple or orange soup? Because for Halloween that could be really fabulous – you could make a half batch of each and make ying-yang swirls with them in the bowl.

Cauliflower Soup
Tomato Tart
Raw Corn & Zucchini Salad

Cauliflower Soup
(serves 4)
I can’t decide whether my roommate’s tastes have changed, whether I’ve worn her down through a war of attrition, or whether it’s some combination of the two, but now she likes soup. I feel my work here is done.

1 head cauliflower
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock*
1 cup water
½ cup finely grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop, and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender and return it to the pot.

Add the parmesan and stir until smooth. If you’re making this in advance wait to add the parmesan until you’re ready to serve it – i.e. I made this on Monday night, but didn’t add the parmesan until I’d rewarmed the soup on Wednesday evening.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Dust with nutmeg just before you serve.

* Depending on how strong/dark your chicken stock is you may want to use less stock and more water. Too much chicken stock and it will overpower the flavor of the cauliflower, plus it’ll turn your soup a creamy brown color instead of a creamy egg shell color. While that’s not a tragedy, a creamy ecru colored soup with a sprinkling of nutmeg is awfully aesthetically appealing.

Tomato Tart

Recipe previously given: Gilding the Lily

Raw Corn & Zucchini Salad
(serves 4-6 – I doubled the recipe and had enough to serve about 10)

I’ve had this salad in my ‘to be made’ file for nearly a month, but I’ve been lax in our corn eating habits so this is the first time I’ve had a chance to try it. It absolutely lived up to my expectations.

3 ears corn
2 medium zucchini
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil (or cilantro)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Slice the corn off the cob with a sharp knife (I recommend doing this in a wide deep bowl to prevent having to clean corn from every surface of your kitchen afterwards).

Cut the zucchini into quarters lengthwise and then slice thinly crosswise. You can use a mandoline for this, but I didn’t bother.

Whisk together the olive oil and lime juice. Toss the corn, zucchini, basil and dressing together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

With nectarines, because nectarines and peaches are in season right now and it seems criminal not to eat them at every possible opportunity.

It would take a stronger woman than I to resist something called a Sorbet Watermelon.



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  2. […] previously given: Resistance is Futile – I added diced lemon cucumbers this time too, and that was a nice […]

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