Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Soupe d'ete

One of my favorite things about blogging is discovering new blogs with recipes I never would have dreamed of. If you're very observant, you might have noticed that I've added a new blog to my blogroll, Farmgirl Fare, written by Susan, who lives on a farm in Missouri. Needless to say, many of her recipes are based around fresh produce that she grows herself on her farm. One recipe that really caught my eye was this beautiful Soup. She made it to use up all her extra summer produce. Since I, unfortunately, do not have that problem living in the city, I used the recipe as an excuse to check out what looked most atrractive at the Greenmarket. I also swirled a dollop of my Pesto into the soup to brighten it up.

I stayed as close to Susan's recipe as I could, but, needless to say, I did make a few small changes. So here is my version:

Soupe d'ete

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Yellow Onions, roughly chopped
4 Red Peppers, roughly chopped
2 Zucchini, roughly chopped
2 Yellow Crookneck Squash, roughly chopped
6 cups Chicken Stock
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt and Pepper, or to taste

Heat Olive Oil in a large pot. Add Onions, Peppers, Zucchini and Squash. Cook for about 10 minutes, mixing the vegetables around so they cook evenly and are covered with Oil. Add Chicken Stock and boil. Reduce heat and simmer, with lid cracked, until vegetables can be cut with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes. Add Salt and Pepper. Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Serve plain or with Pesto swirled in.

and and and and and

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pesto d'ete

Labor day has passed and, with it, the accepted, if not astrological, end of summer. So, to commemorate all that beautiful summer bounty we were blessed with the past three months, I decided to make a Pesto. Pesto is very popular in the blogosphere during the summer. It is probably one of the easiest pasta sauces and perfect for summer for several reasons. First of all, it relies on an herb (usually Basil) as its main ingredient. For the Pesto to be superb, the Basil must be as well. And, although Pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle, I made mine in the food processor, which meant I didn't heat up the kitchen except to boil water for the Pasta. Of course, Pesto is also wonderful served cold.

Because this was my first time making Pesto (shocking, I know, especially since we're such big pasta eaters), I made a pretty basic one, using my book Garlic, Garlic, Garlic for inspiration. I only made a couple of changes, must notably using fresh Garlic instead of dried. Some people have found raw garlic too strong i pesto and I found the fresh garlic to be a perfect alternative. I also substituted Walnuts for the more common Pine Nuts.

Pesto d'ete

3 cups Basil Leaves
1 cup Italian Parsley
8 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, coarsely grated
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Black Pepper, about 8 grinds
pinch dried Oregano
Fleur de Sel, about 4 pinches
1/2 cup Walnuts
2/3 cup good-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine Basil, Parsley, Garlic, Cheese, Butter, Pepper, Oregano and Fleur de Sel in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and pasty (pulsing gives you more control). Add Walnuts, broken in half, and pulse/chop until all walnut pieces are of a consistent size. Dribble in Oil, keeping the food processor running the whole time. Scrape sides and blend again until the mixture looks/feels like pesto (thick and rather creamy).

Add to pasta, grilled chicken, grilled fish--whatever you want!

and and and and and and