Posted in A bit of history, Books, Earth, Eastern Shore, Fire, Food, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Maryland, Photography, Quotes, Recipes, Souper Sunday, Spirit, Spring

Souper Sunday: A lemony asparagus soup

Asparagus soup.

You needn’t tell me that a man who doesn’t love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either.  He’s simply got the instinct for being unhappy.

~ ‘Saki,” pen name of Scottish writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916)

We have been eating asparagus from our garden for the past two weeks.  We have a bumper crop this year and since I don’t like canned or frozen asparagus, the only left to do is eat it day after day after day until the season ends.  Barbara Kingsolver, in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, wrote about how the asparagus season lasts just long enough for us to grow sick of it and not want to see it again for another year.  I couldn’t find that particular quote, but did find this:

“Respecting the dignity of a spectacular food means enjoying it at its best. Europeans celebrate the short season of abundant asparagus as a form of holiday. In the Netherlands the first cutting coincides with Father’s Day, on which restaurants may feature all-asparagus menus and hand out neckties decorated with asparagus spears.”

~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life

It was that book, by the way, that inspired me to plant my first asparagus bed while we were living in NE Ohio.  The asparagus bed is one of many reasons I’m happy that M the Younger and his wife are renting our house and property in the Bogs.  They both like asparagus, they also like to grow their own food, so the asparagus bed has not gone to waste or ruin.

Steamed tips ready to garnish the soup.

The photo I began with doesn’t do the beauty of this soup justice.  Picking an orange bowl to photograph it in was probably a mistake, and the soup was a little on the thin side so the garnish of asparagus tips gave in to gravity and sunk into the soup.  Ladled into a white bowl, you would have been able to see how beautifully green this soup is.

I have tried several recipes for asparagus soup.  This is my favorite.  You can find the recipe here.  The only thing I change when making it is the broth.  I have used a homemade light vegetable broth and, in a pinch, Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (which I think has something of a celery flavor to it which is fine for this soup).  The next time I make it, which might be soon, I want to try this broth although I might leave out the parsnips.  I think the leeks and mint would be a wonderful compliment to the asparagus.  M wants to try putting a bit of cream in it and serving it cold.  We will probably try that, too.

I am also thinking that this might be a good soup to freeze to eat later.  I am going to give it a try with the next batch, assuming we don’t eat it all first.

Thank you for stopping by for Souper Sunday.  If you decide to give this soup a try, let me know how it turns out for you.  Also, if you have any good asparagus recipes, feel free to share them with me in the comments section.  We’re gonna be eating A LOT of asparagus over the next few weeks.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a harvest this big before (from our garden).

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  176)  Asparagus!!  177)  All the ways you can prepare and eat asparagus!  178)  Waking at sunrise and listening to thousands of laughing gulls greeting the morning from the farm field next door.  179)  Hearing a bob white’s distinctive call (which means they’re back for another season).  180)  A phone call from my granddaughters this morning to wish us a Happy Easter.  Speaking of which, Happy Easter to those of you out there celebrating it!

Posted in Fire, Food, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Home, Life, Mindfulness, Quotes, Recipes, Souper Sunday, Spirit, Spring

Souper Sunday

A garnished bowl of chili.

Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.

~ Harry James

This week’s soup is not a soup at all, but a chili.  I figure since restaurants get away with slipping chili into the soup categories on their menus, I can get away with slipping a chili into my Souper Sundays.  The original purpose of my soup challenge was to make something different, but some days I crave an old (or in this case, fairly recent) standby and this chili is my go-to for warmth and comfort.  I actually made this earlier in the week when it was quite cold outside.

This is a vegan chili although you could, if you wanted, add cheese and sour cream (or crema) for garnishes.  M and I like ours garnished with avocado, green onions, and cilantro that I’ve mixed with some lime juice.  It adds a nice, fresh, pop of color and flavor to the dish.

This chili was ready for a close-up.

There are a variety of recipes for this chili.  My favorite is this one, but I do change one thing.  I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of ground chipotle powder.  I’ve heard that some adobo sauces use a meat stock (chicken, usually), but the one I buy does not and is therefore vegetarian/vegan.  When I cut up the chipotle peppers, I remove most of the seeds.  I leave some for the heat/spice.  It’s a difficult balancing act because some chipotle peppers are hotter than others, in my experience.  The more seeds you put in the chili, the hotter the chili will be.  I also add some of the adobo sauce because it adds even more smokey flavor to the chili.  If you can find them, fire roasted tomatoes also add more smokey flavor.

Thanks for stopping by for another Souper Sunday.  If you decide to cook up some of this chili, please let me know what you think of it and/or any variations you try.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  151)  Weekend beach time.  152)  Foggy mornings.  153)  The sound of the Laughing Gulls in the farm field next door.  154)  Sleeping in on a Sunday.  155)  Listening to New Orleans jazz music while typing up my Souper Sunday post.

Posted in Food, Garden, Home, Life, Love, Mindfulness, Photography, Quotes, Recipes, Souper Sunday, Spirit, Winter

Souper Sunday: Minestrone

Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup

Whatever I’m doing, I’m in that moment and I’m doing it.  The rest of the world’s lost.  If I’m cooking some food or making soup, I want it to be lovely.  If not, what’s the point of doing it?

~ Sade Adu

I have to warn you before you continue that if you don’t care for salty language, you will not want to read the recipe for this soup.  It’s been adjusted (censored) somewhat, but there’s no doubt about the words being used.

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Now that I’ve got the disclaimer out of the way…  For this week’s soup, I used a recipe from The Thug Kitchen cookbook.  It’s one of my favorite vegan cookbooks because, frankly, the salty language peppered throughout makes me laugh.  I’m childish that way.  The recipes are fantastic, too.  Everything I’ve made from Thug Kitchen has been delicious.

Today I made their Warm The F*ck Up Minestrone.  Normally I would not follow a recipe for minestrone soup.  It is a clean-out-the-fridge type of soup that I intuitively make based on what is available and what needs to be cooked.  However, one of the purposes of this exercise in Sunday soup making is to use the recipes I have on hand.  The Thug Kitchen minestrone is seasoned differently than mine and I have to tell ya, it’s wonderful.  I used fresh rosemary from my garden, and frozen basil from last year’s vegetable garden.  The recipe calls for cabbage or kale.  I had both and they needed to be cooked so in the pot they went.  I also added a sweet potato which is not on the list of ingredients.  It’s minestrone.  There are no rules.

If you’d like to try your hand and soup pot at this recipe, you can find it here.  If you do try it, let me know what you think.

Posted in Books, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Food, Gifts, Home, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering

A Meatless Monday Meal

Lots of cooking going on in my kitchen today.
Lots of cooking going on in my kitchen today.

Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ.  After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it.  Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours.  A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition.  Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding.  It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.

~ David Tanis, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys

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Posted in Air, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Health & Well-Being, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Renovations, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

If we were having coffee

coffee2Coffee beans are at their peak flavor for fourteen days from the roaster.  Beyond that, they should be stored consistently below 0C/32F, ideally near the temperature where Walt Disney is kept.

~ Keven Sinnott, The Art and Craft of Coffee: An Enthusiast’s Guide To Selecting, Roasting, and Brewing Exquisite Coffee

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Posted in Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Food, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

Twenty minutes

Icy morning.
Icy morning.

Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees.  It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run.

~ Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale

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