Velouté d’asperges et courgettes au thym et citron (it sounds so fancy for leftovers…)

Some parts of being a former French teacher I will not let go – the biggest being a serious French Food Fangirl, and proud of it. Why? Allow me to illustrate – they can take the bits of stuff we would have thrown out and turn it in to something extraordinary.  This is creamy asparagus soup made with asparagus butts. You know, those end pieces you trim off and throw away? 
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This is a super simple recipe and you can discern every ingredient with each bite – the sweetness of the squash and onion, a faint note of celery, the earthiness of the asparagus, touches of lemon and thyme and through it all the gorgeous richness of that butter. Oh, my.

 

This beautiful, rich, fresh-tasting soup came to be because I was going to post about a roasted asparagus salad but wound up with some serious woody asparagus stems.
VAC4med

And that made me think of my last French host mom, and how horrified she would be if I threw that much food away. So, I put those, and a couple chopped up courgettes, a celery rib and a slice of onion in the steamer.
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After twenty minutes, I puréed it with some warm chicken stock, pushed it through a mesh sieve, put in a ton of butter and a dash of lemon zest and fresh thyme and called it exquisite. Which it was. 

Asparagus Courgette Soup

The next time you have some asparagus butts, make this. You will be SO happy!

Asparagus Squash Soup with Lemon & Thyme
Serves 2
Fast, healthy creamy soup equally delicious hot or at room temp.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
217 calories
12 g
46 g
18 g
6 g
11 g
367 g
28 g
8 g
1 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
367g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 217
Calories from Fat 159
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
28%
Saturated Fat 11g
56%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 46mg
15%
Sodium 28mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
40%
Vitamin C
74%
Calcium
7%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of asparagus butts
  2. 2 courgettes (zucchini/dark green summmer squash)
  3. 1 small celery stalk
  4. 1 thickish slice of an onion (about 1/4")
  5. Chicken broth as needed
  6. 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  7. 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  8. 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Instructions
  1. Steam the veg for 20 minutes.
  2. Purée in your food processor for a good bit with enough hot broth to get it going. You can add the rest of the ingredients here, or after you strain it - your choice.
  3. Strain the purée through a mesh sieve to get out the woody parts of the stem and celery strings.
  4. Serve with a lemon wedge, and if you're feeling truly daring another pat of butter.
  5. Now in your best Julia voice, say "bon appétit!"
Notes
  1. Serve with some garlicky croutons and Yum!
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calories
217
fat
18g
protein
6g
carbs
12g
more
Adapted from La Dinette de Crevette
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/

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Aw, Bitch Please (with those damn roasted chick peas)

Oh, food trend. You fucking hipster. Fine. You got me.  And lawdee lawd, do you suck.

CP1

 

The meta blogs are all roasted chickpea this, and roasted chickpea that. And Billy loves him some chick peas. So I started to think,  my that sounds delicious! They must know something I don’t know! Surely roasting them will not return them to their pre-cooked state, as my girlfriend T. jokingly asked at Happy Hour last. 

Wrong. 

First batch – she-who-shan’t-be-named’s recipe states 400* for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Results? Bits of charcoal, quickly tossed in the carport to avoid stinking the whole house.

Second batch – (after recipe research and comparison, and the determination not to be bested by a garbanzo bean) 375*, 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Seasoning – pimentòn ahumado dulce, garlic and onion powder, flaked kosher salt, olive oil. 

Peas – one 14.5 oz, drained rinsed and dried (but not peeled. The Goddess gives us fiber for a reason, people.)

Oven – convection @ 375*

Second batch – stirred every ten minutes. Not bits of coal this time, but rather a range of barely a crust on the outside to T’s predicted rock-hard state.

But, here’s the thing. The first bite or two you really taste the seasonings, and think “hmmm” and can possibly forgive the erratic textures.  Possibly. But after that? You’re just munching on this sometimes almost soft, sometimes break-your-teeth-crunchy canned-chickpea-flavored stuff.  

Don’t be fooled by the hipster food – it’s fucking with you.  Not even one of Bill’s super amazing Bloody Marys could  make me want to eat this shit.
BM_CP1

Not-So-Cherry Cherry Tomato Jam

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So, you know when you go to Costco and get that HUGE clamshell of cherry tomatoes, and you tell yourself – Oh! I’ll eat all of them. They look so good! I’ll have some every day!  
Only a week later they look like this?

CherryTomOLDOr, maybe you have a neighbor who went to Market on the Move and brought you four pints of them? (Because you have the best neighbors ever!)

CherTomSTILL2

 

What to do, what to do? Soooo many cherry tomatoes. Some a little on the sad side. Well at our house, that means cherry tomato jam.  

This stuff is like grown-up ketchup – it goes on everything.  On a sliced baquette with some goat cheese. On a pork chop. On a ham and cheese scone. On a bacon sandwich. Everything, I tells ya.

I make mine with the toms, some grated onion and sliced shallot, thyme, sugar, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire, garlic and olive oil.

All the bits...
All the bits…

 Since these were M-O-M cherry tomatoes, and most likely not organic, I gave them two good washes with soapy hot vinegar water.

IMGP2749Anybody with a split skin, I tossed.  (Hello? Hot soapy vinegar water?)  Next, slice the toms in half. These aren’t cranberries – they don’t automatically pop when they’re done. Trust me, I’ve tried.  You get stuck trying to mash them at the end and it’s a pain. Plus, this way you can inspect each one.

CherTomSLICE

Throw them in the pot and simmer on low for a couple hours. I actually wound up having to add some tomato paste to mine. It *is*January, they weren’t exactly chock full of tasty tomato-loids.

CherTomPOT

 

You can can it at this point. Or freeze it. Or just toss it in the fridge for up to a few weeks. I’ve been known to make a mini batch of these when I’ve got a partial pint mummifying on the counter.

I tried to use less sugar this time, and it did not set up – it’s like a thick tomato jam sauce type thing. But still *very* tasty. Just not as pretty. And, unfortunately, I’ve promised some to friends so hello, cooking shame. Haven’t seen you in like…a day.

So tasty!
So tasty!

Alright – moral of the story? Never throw away ageing cherry tomatoes again!

 

Cherry Tomato Jam, Not-So-Cherry
Serves 56
Sweet and tangy with thyme, vinegar and mild onion. Yum!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
42 calories
8 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
0 g
45 g
2 g
8 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
45g
Servings
56
Amount Per Serving
Calories 42
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
0%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 pints cherry tomatoes (about 1.25 #), superwashed and halved
  2. 2 c. sugar *
  3. 2 c. water
  4. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  5. 1/3 c. grated onion
  6. 1 medium shallot, sliced in to thin rings
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 c. (4 glugs) of good olive oil
  9. 1 Tbsp. wocestershire sauce (you know you can get anchovy-free vegetarian sauce, right?)
  10. 1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Wash and halve the toms.
  2. Throw everything in a large pot and simmer on low for two or so hours.
  3. Can it or freeze it.
Notes
  1. This made seven half-pints.
  2. You may want to add a touch more balsamic if you are freezing. Because I canned mine, I put two teaspoons of cider vinegar in each jar before filling it.
  3. You should double the sugar if you'd like a more jam-like consistency.
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calories
42
fat
1g
protein
0g
carbs
8g
more
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/