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Soup of the Day 20100809

Getting back into my weekly routine after three weeks of recuperation and the last one being full of family visitation. Tomatoes are coming in fast and furious, as are first cabbages, so salsa and sauerkraut processing will be required this week.

As ever, much zucchini coming in as well. Tip to the lazy: President's Choice "Memories of Kashmir" spicy tandoori sauce. Cut your zucchini into four inch long, 15° wedges, toss them in a big bowl with sauce until coated, cook under grill or over charcoal until tender and carmelized on the edges. Easy and tasty way to get rid of the damn things.

Back to getting rid of all the rest of the trimmings with daily soup: Today's Phở has the first peppers of the year—garlic, yellow onion, ginger, rings of some red finger-pepper I do not wot of, mixed arugula, turnip, beet, and mustard greens, spiced beef stock (beef bones, carrot, onion, cinnamon, white pepper, star anise, fennel, green cardamom, ginger), patis, hoisin, sembal olek on rice noodles.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
Yikes -- that's a lot of stuff in one bowl of soup.
Aug. 9th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Not really. Everything is either the base soup or spices, except for the peppers and the greens, and those are just leftovers from the CSA box.

About 10 minutes work, all told.
Aug. 10th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
My dear friend,

We among the lazy salute you. Thanks for the tip. I'll report later.

p.s. Put it in chocolate cake. One cannot have enough zucchini when it is matched with dark chocolate.
Aug. 11th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
I hear a lot of suggestions for putting zucchini into baked goods to make them moist. I don't do much baking in the summer, though, so the two don't seem to go hand-in-hand for me. Perhaps it's the tiny kitchen and the heat.

I usually end up using it, shredded, as a base in pekoras. It does really well to hold the fritters together, and it goes with the indian spices really well.

My other favourite lazy shortcut is shake-and-bake. But seeing as you're vegetarian, that's not so helpful.
Aug. 11th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
The Report.

So I ask Doc (the vet) to bring home a jar of that sauce last night after work (it was his evening to cover). He did. We realize it has a lot more dairy than we would usually indulge in. There is a great deal of pondering. Somewhat lamenting, we decide to return sauce to store and grill zucchini with a sprinkle of chili pepper instead (have I mentioned we're lazy?). To accompany this gourmet feast we throw on some mushrooms and tofu (wildly deciding to dab barbecue sauce on the tofu). The result?

A great deal of nutrition was ingested. We do not recommend.

I wonder if one could bake on the barbecue? I bet it could be done on the top rack. What about campfire cookies? Now there's an interesting challenge. Although I bet a loaf would be easier and it would use a lot less foil. But shake-and-bake is not lazy (if you want to be counted among the lazy you're going to have to set your bar a lot lower). On an inspired day perhaps I could shake-and-bake tofu, but why bother when the pekoras sound so much better.

Now I must run. I think I need to eat.
Aug. 12th, 2010 09:49 am (UTC)
1. Vegan alternate (slightly less lazy): put your wedges in a plastic bag. crush a garlic clove or two (depending on how much you use garlic), toss it in. Pour in enough olive oil, lemon juice (the stuff in the bottle's OK for this), a large pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Let sit ten to twenty minutes, then grill.

2. How can ye abide a'the Cape an' nay ken bannock? Our main bread on a six-week backcountry trip I took around Temagami in my yout'. Here's a video. Though it does take eggs....
Aug. 13th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, bud, you're the best.

When I started pondering campfire baking in that note above, I was thinking of getting you out of the kitchen. My own pumpkin cookies came to mind because they're so thick, and then I thought of zucchini loaf... but bannock! How could I not have thought of bannock?! Probably because I've only ever had it from the oven, I guess, but I love bannock. My Nana always used to make it for me as a treat. Some kids love milk and cookies; I love bannock and tea.

But anyway, the point is, I've always had my Nan's recipe, but haven't been able to bring myself to twisting it. My Nan's called for not just eggs, but sour milk and fat. I'd always figured I could get around the milk and eggs, but I couldn't think of a fat that I'd use that might keep the tradition I loved. It's a childhood treasure, after all. But when I watched your video and that guy threw in coconut I decided to throw all childhood tradition aside (Nana would be pissed, but I know she always liked my hooligan nature) and use coconut milk for the milk/fat. (In case you're wondering I used potato starch instead of eggs).

Anyway (again), long story short (ha!): had bannock on the bbq last night with grilled zucchini and mushrooms that had been marinated in your slightly-less-lazy garlic lemon (Fresh squeezed lemon, though. What do you take me for?)oil. Doc may never be able be able to eat a plain mushroom again and I'm very happy to have made my Nana's bannock. And I cooked it outdoors! Happy, happy me!

Did I tell you you're the best?
Aug. 14th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Well, I'm very happy it worked out for you. It's the way my family grilled zucchini for as long as I can remember. And yes, mushrooms take the same treatment.

This is my favourite vegan-compatible kebab: get a bunch of bamboo skewers and make kebabs between zucchini and mushrooms marinated as above, but add a large pinch of thyme to the marinade as well. Instead of long wedges, though, cut the zucchini into 1 inch 45° wedges, alternated with 1/4 cut of 1/2 cut of small sweet onion (so that each onion is cut into 8 equal sections, pierced from outside to core by the skewer) and under-ripe cherry tomatoes. Sort of like mushroom/onion/zucchini/tomato kebabs. Grill them until the tomatoes are soft and charred and the onion is caramelized. Serve on rice. Heaven.

Bannock and tea is the best. Especially plain builders' tea. After a twenty-mile paddle. Red Rose and that kind of thing. Puts body and soul together.

But I'm surprised there are substitutes for eggs in baking. The way I was taught to cook, eggs are a fundamental, unique, and un-substituteable thing. You need eggs for all the -aise sauces. But I guess baking allows for some fudging around the edges. Who would have thought potato starch? Weird. Does it really work?

In my defence as a carnivore, I have met the hens that supply our eggs. They live in a portable henhouse. It's a flatbed from a truck with a henhouse built on it. The woman who raises them hauls this henhouse out to a spot on her dad's fields, sets up a ring of chickenwire fence, and lets them graze for a day. Then moves on to another 20 x 20 plot of land. Often, they get out and lay eggs in a hummock or spinney. Adventurous chickens. My wife's boss is trying to allow Kingstonians to raise their own chickens in the backyard. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that myself, but I think it's a good thing. People, dogs, chickens, and cats, in that order, seem to be the true heritage of close animals we have as a species.

I remember my mother, on returning to the U.S. after fifteen years abroad. It was 1974, after battery-hen farms had become the norm. She cracked open a store-bought egg and almost threw it out because it was this weird albino thing. Yellow as a lemon. She declared to the room "What is this? Is this a yolk? I don't think so." And it wasn't. It was not orange and brilliant like a REAL hen's egg. A hen that eats bugs and grass along with her corn. It was an evil anemic ball of obscene yolk-wannabe. Fie on it, I say. I was raised better.

When I lived in Pakistan, eggs had yolks so red they were practically bloody. More pumpkin colored than anything. And when you have a yolk like that—all the sauces whip up perfectly just by hand. You can make meringue in the proper way: with just a bowl and a whisk.

Sorry. I realize I'm probably grossing you out. Anyway—I'm passionate about my staples, and eggs, milk, butter are base items in this house along with olive oil, wheat flour, rice, noodles, and onions. Garlic and ginger are almost staples, but not quite unnecessary.

I laud your commitment to the vegan lifestyle, but I have to admit it's not for us. The two of us also have serious allergies/problems with vegan-friendly foods. The only other fat than butter Cara Sposa can tolerate is olive oil, and only in small quantities. All the seed oils give her terrible heartburn, canola and soy especially. And for me, I love beans, but they give me gout. Yes, that 19th century ailment where your foot feels like it's being nailed to your shoe. Especially soy beans, tofu, and haricots verts. So I can't tolerate ANY soy product unless it's been cooked to denatured-protein-hell, and can only eat green or dried beans sparingly.

Aug. 16th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, bannock really is the best, and I'm so glad you reintroduced it to me and therefore introduced it to my son. I may never have made it if you hadn't brought it up, keeping it instead as a fading memory. Memories are so much better when they live. Thanks again. But Red Rose? I think you must have been a Canadian in a past life.

Thanks also for the kebab recipe. I was across the bridge this weekend visiting Bel, and we all enjoyed your kebabs Saturday evening beside the pool. They were a big hit which added to a wonderful visit. Hey, you're getting famous around here. You should write a book or something!

But sorry, Burgher, you cannot gross me out. I'm just not grossoutable. I agree with your mom about the eggs. I could go on about pale, processed versions of what is supposed to be food, but I won't. And don't worry, I'm not trying to convert anyone to my mad and kooky ways. I know exactly what gout is (Doc's had it a couple of times) and I know allergies can be hellish besides deadly, although thankfully we don't have any of those. Eggs are easy to substitute for most things, potato starch in baking (although nothing gets as high and fluffy as with eggs), silken tofu for creams and sauces (although again, you're not fooling the experienced). We eat as we do, because it fits our lifestyle and our beliefs. It works for us and that's all it has to do.

Damn, now I have to go eat again.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )