Monthly Archives: July 2016

Soup #7: Drop an Egg

Jess: Again, no photos. But you could almost make this again for the sole purpose of adding them. It’s the easiest one yet!

This time, the recipe frustration came right at the beginning. “Remove the tough stalks from the mushrooms, finely slice them, then mix them with the olive oil in a large bowl.” So…is that the mushroom caps or the stalks you’re supposed to slice? I opted for the caps, figuring it didn’t make much sense to buy a bunch of mushrooms and then use the parts called “tough” in the recipe. Language specificity, please!

Roast mushrooms. Make a stock, ginger, and tamari broth with mushrooms. Drop in scrambled eggs so they turn into threads. Serve over scallions.

This was fast, tasty, and worth eating again. Dave has been such a good sport about this project—he doesn’t eat mushrooms, but when I offered to make the weekly soup on the night he’s golfing, he said he wanted to remain part of the experiment. Phoebe threw a little fit about it on the way home from daycare, so she’d already decided not to like it. Benjamin asked for thirds!

I served this with bread and olive oil with dukkah for dipping. We’ve got most of a bag of dukkah on our hands! It’s quite good that way, as the Internet suggested it would be.

I just noticed there’s a section in the cookbook called “feasts,” so I’m going to keep enjoying preparing the “quick fixes.”

Soup #6: Cauliflower Soup with Dukkah

Jess: This soup looks suspicious in the photo. It’s white! Kind of like clam chowder, but smooth, and clearly thinner. There are hardly any ingredients, but one important one, dukkah, turned out to be a challenge. I bought a head of cauliflower and a box of almond milk—I already had sesame oil and a lemon. I looked up where to get dukkah, a spice mixture featuring hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, and paprika, and found it on Amazon, but it was $18 for 4 ounces. I tried a few local shops, including Trader Joe’s, because their website mentioned it. No luck. I eventually decided the cost had to be borne as part of this experiment.

Today’s Thursday; we didn’t have anything planned after work, so we all met at the coffee shop and played games before dinner. Benjamin is getting really good at matching Zingo tiles! When we got home, I chopped up the cauliflower, cooked it for a little while, added dukkah, and then turned it into soup by adding the unsweetened almond milk. It smelled good to me, but then, I like almost all vegetables. Dave and the kids husked and boiled the first corn of the season to eat with the soup. When we were almost ready to eat, I put half the soup into the blender, as instructed. Dave had walked by and suggested that we should eat it unblended, so I agreed to blend only half. And good thing! As the soup whizzed around, the plastic cork (for want of a better word) that allows you to put food into the blender through the lid fell into the soup. And got sucked into the blades, which made an awful sound chopping it up. I think the rubber lid had expanded because I’ve been blending hot soup.

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That batch was inedible, so we ended up eating the soup the way Dave wanted to try it. Result? I think it would’ve been more delicious at the blended consistency. As it was, the almond milk was too wet. The cauliflower was tasty, and the dukkah was wonderful: salty, nutty, and full of spices. The recipe said to use a lemon, sesame oil, winter savory herb, and more dukkah to garnish. I set out bottled lemon juice, sesame oil, ground savory, and the bag of dukkah.

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Recipe frustration? Or just Ugly Americanism? The recipe says “winter savory herb, to garnish (optional).” I would’ve liked to garnish, but I kept thinking “which herb? Is it my choice?” Only after I looked it up did I figure out that savory is the name of an herb. And that there are varieties. King Soopers doesn’t stock it, so I bought a bottle of ground savory and figured I was covered.

This is a very fast recipe, which is a point in its favor. No one else in the family will want to eat it again, but I love vegetables and would be happy to spend my retirement, long after the kids have moved out, cooking and eating like this.

Soup #5: Zucchini & Za’atar

Jess: I forgot to take photos of this soup, and we ate it a long time ago, so this will be a bare-bones review. Which is fine, because this one is easy and yummy. Phoebe has basically decided not to like anything new, so she fussed, but Benjamin and I had seconds. Dave found it so-so. Although soup tends to be healthy, eating the dregs out of everyone else’s bowls probably isn’t!

This is really so simple. You cut up zucchini, cook the pieces in oil, add za’atar, and soften the zucchini in broth. In the meantime, you fry panko with salt and lemon thyme. This cookbook basically requires you to have Stan Hewett’s herb garden (that’s a reference to a beloved old Ohio mansion), so of course I couldn’t find lemon thyme. I used regular thyme and remembered—again—that I only like it in very small quantities.

And what’s za’atar, you say? According to Magic Soup, “An herb that grows in the Syrian-Lebanese mountains, sometimes called wild thyme in English, since it has a thyme-like flavor. It’s also a Middle Eastern spice blend, often made with wild thyme, olive oil, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac.” I was certain that a friend of ours had mentioned that Whole Foods had been promoting their A–Z spice selection and asked if we had heard of za’atar, so I drove from work at lunchtime to the Whole Foods in Superior. No luck. The very helpful help desk lady said I should go to the Middle Eastern store in Boulder, but I didn’t feel like making another trip out of it, so I ordered it on Amazon.

The soup was chunky and vegetable-y, and the fried panko added a delightful crunch.

Realizing that I hadn’t taken any photos of the soup as I made it, I took a photo of the frozen block of leftovers.

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