Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot. Soup.

Most of us don't tend to think of soup on days where the temps are reaching mid 90's, but that's exactly what happened for me this week. The Sunday trip to the market unearthed some wonderfulness that screamed to be made into a big bowl of soup.

See, I love soup. I make a lot of it, mostly during the colder months. But, I remembered an amazing chilled soup I had enjoyed, with the company of my mother in law, long ago when I lived in St. Louis. I was out to duplicate it!

The large bunches of beets and raspberries were my start, but I needed to find a "base" recipe. The soup in St. Louis was called "Raspberry Borscht," but it had a lighter consistency than any borscht I had ever had. Enter Nigella Lawson and her "Spiced Pink Soup" recipe. It is a very simple combination of beets, lime, coriander, cumin, scallions, and sour cream, but it wasn't quite what I had in mind. It did, however, give me the base that needed.

I choose to slowly roast the beets instead of boiling, as most seem to do before making a traditional borscht. Chilled them, peeled them and threw them into my food processor with some lime, coriander, orange juice and the berries. Strained the whole thing (to get out the seeds) and added some chicken stock.

The result? The pinkest soup you've ever seen. It was earthy and it grew on you, but it wasn't what your palate expected with that color. Definitely worth the time to make, but will need some fine tuning. The chilled peach soup on the other hand....(coming soon WITH recipe!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The joys of the farmers' market

Ah...Sunday in CT means only one thing. The Coventry Farmers' Market. For those of you not fortunate enough to live nearby, this is one bad ass farmer's market. Dozens of white tents in an open field with surprises galore. Goat cheese, short ribs, beet greens, and a guy with a wood-burning oven in the bed of his truck. All under scorching hot sun (or in a muddy soup) with musical accompaniment to boot. And chocolate donuts. It is what I look forward to on Sundays all summer long.

The family and I started our Sunday morning routine with a trip to Target and 5 things on our list. With a full cart and an empty wallet we were done. First the ATM, then the market.

I had nothing specific in mind, but the thing I love about the market is that it is full of inspiration. Previous trips have awarded bags of organic beef, squash blossoms, giant zucchini (for 50 cents each), peaches, cherries, herbs of all kinds, and the requisite cookie...or cupcake...or pie.

Today was hot. Very hot. Undaunted, we put hats on kids' heads and set forth. 45 minutes later, we had a full bag, another empty wallet, and happy kids with chocolatey faces.

Today's loot included 8 giant red beets, 2 pints of juicy raspberries, a brown bag full of ripe peaches, two packages of monstrous organic short ribs, and 3 chocolate donuts (didn't actually make it home).

Now, what to do with them?

And here we go...

I guess this first post should be about me. My name is Zac and I'm passionate about two things in my life-- my family and food. I am a stay-at-home dad to two wonderful kids which is both consuming and entertaining. My goals in life are to be a good husband, a good father, and to have my own identity at the same time. I am by no means a trained chef, but what I lack in training I make up for in enthusiasm. This is my story.