Sunday, June 29, 2008
The soup is so named since I always seem to make it when we have lots of leftover vegetables from a plate of raw vegetables and dip at a party. (Could also be a 'clean out the vegetable drawer' soup.) The vegetables I used this time were carrot, cauliflower, luo bo (lo bok or daikon), and zucchini but they can easily be varied according to what you have on hand. I used a pork broth that I also needed to use up but a chicken stock would also be fine. I added a little chunk of cheese from a leftover cheese plate. Strangely, it went really well with the slightly sharp taste of the luo bo.
Cut half an onion, one clove of garlic, and two large carrots into small dice then sweat with some salt and oil in a dutch oven until tender. No need to get too fussy with the knife since everything will be blended. Add two cups chopped cauliflower, two cups chopped zucchini, two cups chopped luo bo, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are tender. Puree soup in batches; then return to pan and taste for salt. Chop up two roasted red peppers and stir into the soup along with 1 tbs blue cheese (optional). Makes about six bowls of soup. For a more refined soup you can stir in milk or cream and blend until it is really creamy and smooth.
Biting into a grilled cheese sandwich is one of those simple things that always feels luxurious. Cheese is rarely thought of as budget food (see Rotini and Bleu post) but there are ways to to make the most of this precious ingredient. One way is to get good quality cheese with a stronger flavour; you need less of it to make an impact. Also, when you make a grilled cheese don't use slices but grate the cheese finely before spreading it on the bread. I use less than half the amount of cheese this way, and the sandwich is better - too much cheese makes the sandwich unwieldy and sloppy to eat. For sandwich: Generously butter two slices of bread and spread mustard on the other side of one of them. Spread two tbs finely grated aged cheddar over mustard and place assembled sandwich in covered frying pan over med heat until one side is browned; then turn and brown the other side. This is great dipped into soup.