Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inspired by Julie/Julia by way of Yogi Liz

asparagus soup
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
So. I saw the fantastic movie, "Julie/Julia." And it turns out buddy Yogi Liz also saw it the same weekend, several states away.

Liz said she was inspired by the movie to pull out her vegetarian cookbook and start cooking from it every day. I know what she made the first two days, but haven't asked what might be today's meal.

So I says to myself I says, "Well, I've got a cookbook I asked for and haven't cooked one single thing out of it. It's "The New Moosewood Cookbook." Now, anyone who has read my blogs at all since 2003 will know I could never get by with going vegetarian every day. And I also don't like to get stuck in some sort of culinary routine. Even if it meant something different every day. I have food commitment issues. But I figured it couldn't hurt to try to cook some stuff from this cookbook.

So here it is, page 3, first recipe, "Cream of Asparagus Soup"

2 lbs fresh asparagus
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups water
2 cups hot milk
2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp tarragon
White pepper to taste

Break off and discard the tough asparagus bottoms. Slice off the tips and set them aside. Chop the remaining stalks into 1-inch pieces.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet. (I ended up dumping it into a larger skillet. Go ahead and just start with the larger one) Add onion, asparagus stalks, and salt. Saute for about 20 minutes over medium heat. When the onions are clear and soft, sprinkle in 2 Tbsp flour, while stirring constantly. Continue to cook over the lowest possible heat, stirring frequently, another 5 to 8 minutes.

Add water, stirring constantly. Heat to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. After about 5 minutes, sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbsp flour, mixing well. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Puree the soup with the milk, bit by bit, in a food processor or blender. Return the puree to a kettle or large saucepan, and season with dill, tarragon, and white pepper.

Cut the reserved asparagus tips into small pieces, and steam until just tender. Add these to the soup, heat very gently (don't cook or boil), and serve immediately.

We had some stale bagels lying around, so we toasted those and buttered them for a crunchy side. The only thing I'd change is less dill. I did not have dried, but I had fresh. It was just too dilly. But then, neither of us are big fans. I wouldn't leave it out altogether, though.

This recipes makes 4 or 5 servings. When we called the guys and Erin to the table, we told them it was asparagus soup. "Oh, we're fine," they all said. Good. More for us!