I appear to be on a soup jag.
It's such a comforting, get you through, sort of meal. A subtle warming from the inside out. Washing over your insides, every pore exhales with steamy exhaustion. The body collapses into it. Soup.
With one lonely, and dare I say atrophied leek, along with what amounted to 1/2 pound of baby Yukon and reds just chilling in the crisper, I had a base for our second Sunday supper.
Our poor crisper drawer, it's heavy with foster care for rogue potatoes, blemished carrots, limp celery and aging parsnips. A packed house. Just next door, the onion drawer. Reds, yellows and shallots, rumbling around like tumbleweeds in solitary confinement.
Somehow we have two bunches of Italian parsley, both in fair condition. Plenty of garlic...never an issue.
'You know what freckles are, don't you?'
I shake my head no.
'They're angel kisses.'
I had pigtails and freckles. My pop-pop-Bill, grandmother's second husband, was explaining to me what freckles were. I adored him. He always had the bar set up in the kitchen. Ready to serve mixed drinks to my parents and cho-cha-cholaaaa (coca-cola) to all the grand kids. A veteran of the National Bohemian Brewing company in Baltimore, their crisper drawer was always filled with Natty-Boh.
I was a little girl. I'm not sure I believed in angels, but for some reason, then and now, I find the thought endearing...just because.
As I peppered the soup and dumped in a good bit of chopped parsley I thought of freckles.
So, rather matter of fact, like Nigella, I got on with it. The making of it, that is. Here's how it went...
A serious quantity of olive oil, followed by a rustic half inch dice of two stalks celery, one small yellow onion and one very tired and lonely leek, white part only, poured into the pot. I turned on the heat to a nice hesitant flame which gave me ample time to extract and chop the most enormous clove (all appearances were that of Siamese twins) of garlic I could find lumbering inside the refrigerator door.
After the garlic was added, I gently simmered until things were looking translucent and vulnerable. In went approximately 5 cups of chicken stock. Once that came up to a boil I added in the potato and cranked up the flame to a nice gentle roll and waited for ten minutes. Stirring here and there.
After ten minutes the soup was ready. Is it a given that I salt and peppered to taste? I hope so. Salt is essential, as is pepper. The two are a match and turn up the volume on any dish they care to regulate.
With food processor I whirred and pulsed in many tiny batches and returned the now pureed soup to the stove top.
'You want some soup?' I asked.
'Maybe. I was thinking cereal. Just a little something to get me through the rest of the night.' Said he.
'I'm having soup.' Said I.
And so it went, we both had soup. But it goes without saying that Roberto had a little cereal later in the evening as well.* In addition, Roberto's aunt Ida's cookies. They are beyond description. Absolutely nothing like them. A cake like cookie, rectangular, a hint of sugar, maybe a trace of vanilla, butter. They're absolutely perfect for sopping up what's left of the cereal milk if one is inclined.
*Roberto was, but found out most unexpectedly that the milk had turned.
With enough soup left for Monday's dinner, we'll add some pastina. It will take the edge off of Monday and settle our frazzled work-week-nerves as we push closer to Tuesday.
Freckled Potato Leek Soup
1 leek (white part only)
1 small yellow onion
1 stalk celery (equal to 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic (large)
1/2 pound baby Yukon
5 cups chicken stock
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coat pot with a generous amount of olive oil. Dice leek, onion and celery into 1/2 inch pieces and add to pot. Lastly, add chopped garlic. Simmer over low flame until translucent. About 10 minutes.
Add 5 cups chicken stock and bring to boil.
Add diced baby Yukon (again, 1/2 inch dice) to pot and bring to boil. Let cook at a gentle boil for about 10 minutes.
Salt and pepper along the way.
Turn off flame when potatoes are fully cooked. Throw in chopped parsley. Let soup cool slightly before processing. After processing return soup to pot and reheat. Check for salt. Serve and eat.