Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome! And Lycopene!

Hey there, Blogosphere!
I hope you enjoy reading and replicating many recipes I hope to post in the coming months. As my first post ever, I'd like to begin by introducing myself and talking a little bit about my influences and goals.
As an herbivore, I do consume meat when I have access to high quality product. For me, high quality meat must be local and/or organic. The more sustainable the meat, the more likely I am to buy, cook, or eat it. When I was living in San Francisco, finding local and organic animal products was a cinch. I knew where to go to buy the best quality animal products around. However, I recently moved to New York for graduate school, and am faced with the both daunting and exciting task of exploring and finding new hot spots for great produce and meat.
Even though I do eat meat and recognize the benefits of animal products to the human body, when I cook, I tend to find my creative juices flow more freely when I cook vegetarian meals. Something about using only fruits and vegetables turns me on. I just can't explain it, but it might have something to do with my obsession with holistic health.
Being able to cook up a meal of fresh seasonal and local veggies is exciting!
It makes me feel grounded no matter where I am. It connects me to the earth in a very real way.
And so tonight I would like to share with my readership a very simple soup for a rainy night (like tonight in New York).
Rain always makes me want to eat soup. And when I crave something, the most fun option is to make it myself.
This recipe is inspired by a soup I used to eat at the Black River Cafe in Oberlin, OH. Also, it should be noted that bell peppers are nearing the end of their season! So if you can, get to your nearest farmer's market and pick some up between now and mid-October, because chances are you won't see them again till summertime.

Red Pepper Puree (4-5 servings)

Equipment: saucepan, cutting board, knife, immersion blender.

1 or 2 T extra virgin olive oil (it's really up to you how much)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped (or more to your liking)
splash or two of dry white wine (or liquid of your choice to deglaze pan)
4 cups red peppers, roughly chopped
few twigs of fresh thyme (dried will be okay but not as good)
1 c water (or stock)
salt and pepper, to taste

Add oil to a medium saucepan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions. You can test if it's hot enough by adding one piece of onion first. If it sizzles in the oil, add the rest. Stir these around, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until onions are translucent, but not brown. Add garlic and deglazing liquid of your choice. Allow ingredients to simmer in saucepan until most of the liquid is evaporated, ~5 min. Now add all of the chopped pepper, thyme, and water. Stir, bring to boil, cover, reduce to low. Allow to simmer 20-40 minutes, or until pepper is soft. At this point, you can remove the saucepan from the heat and use the immersion blender to puree soup. Taste, and add salt and pepper as to your liking!
*Variations include roasting the peppers before chopping on an open flame until skins are charred. Remove skins by placing peppers from flame into brown paper bag or bowl of ice water. Both of these methods help the skin peel. Peel off the rest of the skin, slice each pepper lengthwise, remove seeds, and add to soup. It will not have to cook for as long, this way, either.
**Another variation is to add a bit (start small- maybe one ounce at a time) of good quality blue cheese to the soup before blending. It will make it slightly creamy and add a dimension of flavor.
***One last variation includes toasting slices (one per bowl) of French baguette and placing a dollop of raw goat cheese on top, then placing each crouton on top of soup, just before serving.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Meg -- what's your best resource for finding out what's in season where? Is there a web site you go to?