August 5th, 2009

Sometimes making a dish triggers the oddest memories.  This soup I found in Saveur beneath an article about a 73 year old Sicilian chef, Margherita Chiaramonte.  Not a soup person, I was drawn to this recipe by her photograph and the comforting flavors of the ingredients… sage, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, lemon…

Then I started to remember a scene in a Cinderella book that I once read where Cinderella was drinking soup that her fairy godmother made her.  I have always loved Cinderella.  As a child, maybe it was the sparkly slippers, the singing mice or the magic pumpkin, that caught my attention.  Soon my interest branched out from Disney and I began to read every Cinderella version that I could find.  I liked the ones where the Cinderella character was independent and resourceful.  She did not wait for Prince Charming to find her but worked hard to make her own happily ever after.  As a very independent and driven girl, I relate to that character.  Although, sparkly slippers and a Prince Charming does not sound that bad either…

This soup was delicious and very simple to make.  It does make six very, very generous portions.  Having eaten it for five days straight, you may want to half it when making it for smaller numbers.  The lemon, olive oil and pecorino really do add a lot to the flavor.  I recommend it with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine.

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Zuppa Di Grano Cuturru/Sicilian Greens and Bulgar Soup
(adapted from Saveur)

5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1⁄4 tsp. chili flakes
8 cups chicken broth
1 1⁄2 cups bulgur wheat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. escarole, washed and roughly chopped
6 tbsp. grated pecorino
1 lemon, sliced into 6 wedges

1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Add rosemary, sage, and chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute (Smell it!!! So delicious!!!). Add broth, bulgur, and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until bulgur is soft, 20–25 minutes.

3. Add escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Divide soup between 6 bowls. Drizzle each with some of the remaining olive oil; sprinkle with the pecorino. Serve with lemon wedges.

My Love Affair with Squash Continues…

July 3rd, 2008

As I have mentioned many, many, many times before, I love butternut squash…I also failed to mention that I LOVE SQUASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every variety is absolutely delicious. When I was younger, I would love it when my father would make us spaghetti squash with some olive oil and paremesan. It is amazing!

When I saw Cookthink’s Root Source Challenge #21 was to make a dish with Yellow Squash, I felt I was up to the challenge and I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to use. Every month or so, I get together with a good high school friend of mine to cook. We sit around talking, eating lots of Brie and making some good vegetarian dishes. She is one of those really good friends, who I can go months without talking to and yet, when we do talk, we pick up exactly where we left off. She and her husband moved up here last fall and I will definitely miss our cooking adventures when I move next month.

The last time we were together, she showed me a cute little cookbook, Gail Greco’s Gardens of Plenty. It had a number of interesting recipes that used herbs in new and interesting ways. The Lemon Yellow Squash Soup with Orzo caught my eye and I scribbled it down. Overall, I liked it but I think next time I would reduce the butter. I used frozen yellow squash because we are moving soon and trying to clean out all the food. I think fresh would have made it much better. Also, I would recommend increasing the lemon juice. There was a hint but not enough. I loved the addition of the mint and now I have plenty leftover to make some good ole’ Southern Sweet Tea!

Lemon Yellow Squash Soup with Orzo
(adapted from Gail Greco’s Gardens of Plenty)

16 oz frozen yellow squash (1 1/2 lb. yellow squash, sliced)
4 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely minced
salt and fresh cracked white pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup orzo
1/2 cup light cream
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon mint, chopped

1. Melt butter in larger soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook until tender but not browned.
3. Add squash. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 min.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender and liquid reduces.
6. Blend in food processor.
7. Return to soup pot and bring to a boil.
8. Add orzo and cook until pasta is tender, about 7-8 min.
9. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine cream, egg and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.
10. Add the mixture to the soup and whisk over low heat until blended. Do not let the soup come to a boil or the egg yolk will curdle.
11. Stir in the mint.
12. If the soup is too thick, add some more chicken stock.

P.S. Happy July 4th!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope everyone has a wonderful and fun holiday weekend!!!