Velvety Vegetable Soup

Today I decided to try out my new kitchen appliance: an immersion blender. The weather was perfect for it: cool, rainy, and overcast. The recipe? Velvety Vegetable Soup from Simply in Season. It’s from the spring section, which is interesting because I noticed that the vegetables are similar in the spring and autumn, at least the green ones.

vegsoupBecause I only had one leek, this was definitely an exercise in adaptation/substitution. Instead of using 4 cups of diced leeks, I used one leek, 1 bunch of green onions, and two fennel bulbs. I did have the 1 medium onion (chopped) and 1 cup of celery (although I used a lot of tops, not so much the stalk). Sauteed this in a few tablespoons of oil for 15 minutes.

Then, I added 2 t tarragon, 1 t thyme, 1 t salt, and a dash of pepper; 4 C chicken broth, and 3 C diced potatoes. You are supposed to cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, which the recipe says is 15 minutes but mine must have been stubborn because it was more than 20.

Finally, add 1 bunch of chopped spinach and simmer another 5 minutes. Now it’s time to have fun with the immersion blender (or you can use a regular blender).  As a finishing touch you can add 1/2 C milk.

This makes 4 servings, at about 259 calories per serving.

The verdict: The smell when you’re making it is heavenly. Even Troy thought so. Believe it or not, it tasted even better. I think I should have used actual celery instead of the tops because the celery flavor was a wee bit overpowering, but I could still taste a hint of fennel which was awesome.  Oh, and the Cuisinart immersion blender was a DREAM! I should have bought one of those a long time ago.

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Creamed (Asparagus or) Spinach (Omelet)

spinachomeletThe whirlwind of travel and activity has been getting to me. I took my comp time early, as part of my vacation a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But this morning I had to take the morning off to recover from jet lag and just let my mind rest. Now I know why we are instructed to rest on the Sabbath.

This morning I decided to make something comforting, so I chose the creamed spinach omelet recipe. As the recipe title notes, as with most Simply in Season recipes there are endless variations and you could use asparagus instead of spinach. And as I now know thanks to my “cooking with greens” class, I could also substitute swiss chard for the spinach.  Mind you, I have never made an omelet before. But I do think it turned out well.

First step: prepare the veggies. If using asparagus (1 lb), cut into 3/4 inch pieces and cook in water about 12 minutes. If using spinach/swiss chard, (3 C loosely packed) you can steam or go directly to

Step two: Melt 1 T butter in a fry pan, add 1 T flour and mix until smooth, then gradually add 2 C milk. It’s supposed to thicken, but mine didn’t much so I added another T of flour. Then I added the spinach. At this point it starts to look like spinach milk soup, and you might start to wonder about the sanity of whoever came up with this recipe, but then if you look on the bottom of the page you realize that Mildred from Indiana, Cheryl from Maryland, and Pearl from Virginia all contributed some form of this recipe, so it has to be going somewhere so carry on.

Step three: Whisk 2 eggs and 1 T of milk (I grabbed a T from the spinach/milk soup mix since I figured it wouldn’t miss it). Spray the small saute pan with coconut oil (you can use any you like, I just love using coconut oil for eggs). Pour the eggs into the pan. Pray. Here is the direction that helped me understand what omelet making is all about “As they set, lift edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. When eggs are set, spread creamed spinach or asparagus over half of the omelet. Fold over and serve.” For some reason it clicked, and I did the lift edge thing and it actually worked! OK so as you can see from the picture it’s not perfect, but definitely not bad for my very first try at making an omelet.

The verdict: Despite my initial misgivings, the omelet was seriously yummy. Very creamy. By the way, the creamy mixture makes enough for two omelets. The recipe also gives a popover variation which sounds yummy, but you’ll have to buy the cookbook for that 😉