Archive | November, 2012

Soup Days, Day Three: 3-Carrot Soup

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Everyone loves a pun.  You may roll your eyes, but you know it’s true.  Three-Carrot Soup was a title I just couldn’t resist.  It is, as you would guess, a recipe is for the carrot lover.  As J calls it, a “super beta-carotene see-in-the-dark soup”.  A riff on the Tuscan carrot top soup, it has the classic diced carrots and leafy carrot tops, but this version uses an extra layer: carrot juice.

One thing I love about this soup is that it is thrifty, in that it uses the carrot tops.  My Papou would be very proud (that’s Greek for grandfather, in case you didn’t watch Full House growing up).  He always made sure whatever came home from the market, made it to the dinner table.  Once, he was attacked and mugged on the street by two men who had followed him from the grocery store.  Afterwards he got up, loaded his dropped fruit into his bag, and picked up a package of Danish the attackers had dropped, and took it home for next morning’s breakfast.  My grandmother would tell that story and shake her head, and he would nod proudly and smile a little.

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Soup Days, Day Two: Lemongrass Coconut Noodle Soup

I’m writing this in my Zumba outfit.  I came home a little frayed at the edges owing to a new instructor that likes to interject a shrill “Whoooo, YEAH!!!” into her routine every few minutes that make you jump in alarm, and enjoys flustering you by dancing up to you at stranger-danger closeness and staring you in the eye as she gyrates.  I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, but I’m pretty sure I made a couple muffled noises that were something in between.

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Steamy bowl of goodness

I am so happy to be snuggled up now with a big bowl of this soup.

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Soup Days, Day One: Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Brown Butter Maple Pepitas

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As I sat a couple mornings ago in a rented kitchen-less cabin overlooking an area I’ll call “Blustery Valley”, I thought a little about what I would be making for our lunch, had I the facilities to do so.  The answer quite simply would be soup.  Lots of it.  But without a stove in sight (and for a while, no coffee cups either), I had no choice but to dream up hypothetical bubbling vats of steamy goodness.

J & I were up for the holiday weekend to visit The Sis (my sister-in-law) and her husband (Guitar Man) in their new home of Viroqua, a pretty little town in the Driftless region of Wisconsin.  Abundant in charm and amazing produce and people… and also down parkas and hunters caps and mittens.

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Crispy Kale Potatoes

I love it when things look effortless and actually are.  Like those days when you get out of bed and the bedhead actually looks like it does in movies (I get maybe one of those a year, the rest of the time it’s usually a bit like looking at installation art).

I love recipes like that, too.  Just like this one (and the last one).  Roast potatoes, toss in kale, roast a little more, and you’re ready.

In my particular case, this recipe also helps me use up some of the last of my chilly garden vegetables before too many more frosts, tempted though I may be to keep taking pictures of them like this one (of the kale).

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Simple crustless chocolate pear tart (gluten free)

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Last weekend we were sitting at an outdoor table at a breakfast place in St Louis enjoying a brief warm spell.  Ours were probably the last bottoms those cafe seats would see for several months, and we were in no hurry to relieve them of their duties.  Sitting next to each of our plates was the little tried-and-true fruit medley bowl. Sometimes you can judge an entire menu on the quality of a fruit medley.  In some breakfast spots, it seems put there just to annoy you and give you something to accidentally dump your maple syrup on.  A crunchy, tasteless cantaloupe chunk served in the depths of winter is enough to confirm why every diner around you has pushed the little bowl as far from the rest of their meal as they can, like an unwanted puppy begging for scraps.

This was no such medley, thankfully.  It was rather a good one, as was our meal.  At one point a friend took a bite of fruit and lit up a little.  “What is this?” he asked the rest of us.  I leaned in.  “Pear, looks like d’Anjou pear, maybe?”, I replied.  “Well, I’m putting ‘pears’ on my list of fruit I like.”  I don’t think that was a very long list for him, so it was proud day for pears.  And after I took a bite myself, I decided they really didn’t even belong in a ‘medley’.  This was more a solo artist kind of pear.

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A deep breath and…

Here it is.  A big blank page I can call my own.  I swear it echoes in here.

Hi, I’m Mae and I’m not new to this.  I had a little blog a few years back and it was my baby.  But as babies are prone to needing constant feeding and nurturing, it became clear after a few months that it was not the right time for me to take on that kind of responsibility (watch out, houseplants!).  So I put it aside and went out in the world.  I traveled.  I married my soul mate. I moved a state away and bought my first home.  I also spent a lot of weekends lost in a trance of scones, poolishes and Filipino Adobos.  I let anyone patient enough to deal with my rapid-fire questions teach me whatever they know about food, and when no one was around to pester, I read Thomas Keller with the same full attention that other women were reserving for Christian Grey.

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Darwin’s finches finishing our lunch for us on Floreana Island in the Galapagos

So now there’s Little Fig.  It’s probably best I tell you a little about what I hope this will be:

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