March 22, 2010

The Usual

Routine feels good. Boring - yes. Reassuring - absolutely. Yoga, breakfast, bus, 9 to 5, bus, dinner, walk, bath, and bed - that's my day in a nutshell. The occasional marathon-cooking session, a movie here, a kiss there - that may just be the extent of our randomness. I see the same people on my bus ride every day including two twiggy French girls who I can't stop staring at, a woman who seems like she's been 9 months pregnant for the past two months, and student studying astronomy whose gender I still can't figure out. Don't get my started on the bus driver, the epitome of Dustin Hoffman himself.

The weekends are a bit more mish-mash, but generally speaking, we lead a pretty boring life. But I have to say I love it. Boring isn't so bad. And since we're demystifying boring today, why don't I bring up the issue of broccoli soup.




Just so you may appreciate these photos a bit more, know that I risked a clean face taking this photo. Our chairs aren't as solid as I thought. Daylight savings time has delivered an extra hour of daylight to our apartment, so you may be seeing a few more photos around here as it's the first thing I try to do after I get home and peel off work.

Broccoli soup. I know, right - images of lima bean green glop dotted with deep green specks. Creamy. Gut-ache inducing. Boring. Green. I know, I know. But just as there's merit in a boring life, there's also merit in this humble soup. In elaborating on the issue of substance abuse, my boyfriend related certain substances to a pencil. "You can use a pencil to draw beautiful images, but you can also take a pencil and jab it in your eye," he said. It's all in how you use it. (See why I keep him around?) Same goes for broccoli.

It's all about how you use it.




In my opinion, broccoli's deep flavor isn't assisted that well by heavy dairy products, as traditionally done in cream of broccoli soup. If your broccoli is good, you want the other elements to supplement the vegetal flavor, not cloak it. My tastes of lightened up as of late, and I just can't take such a hit to the gut as this soup is known to do.

So go on, be boring for a change. Pretty soon you'll find yourself getting excited to get groceries. Just wait.


I wish I could tell you this recipe was from Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson, or another woman whose demeanor is similarly trustworthy. Although they probably have an attractive recipe for you - here's my stab at broccoli soup for you. Also, welcome new readers! Glad to see you around here.


Broccoli Soup
Amounts depend on the batch size and your soup thickness preference.

Ingredients
Broccoli
Vegetable or Chicken stock
Garlic
Whole milk
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Thyme, basil, or other herb of choice

Instructions
Cut the broccoli florets off the stem. Steam, roast, or boil to the point in which you'd almost eat them. A little 'al dente' - if you will. In the meantime, saute garlic in a bit of olive oil in a soup pot. Add the cooked broccoli and stir to coat with the garlicky oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the oil absorb and the garlic infuse. (What I mean to say is- wait a few minutes.) Add stock. I would start small with the amount and as you blend, you can add more. Bring to a simmer and let the broccoli finish cooking. You'll want it pretty tender so it will blend easily. Blend with an immersion hand blender, regular blender, or food processor. Add more stock to get your desired thickness. Top with milk to your liking and some chopped herbs. I used thyme and basil. Note: Besides the florets, I also used the broccoli stem. It requires separate and longer cooking than the florets. There's no need to use the stem, but you'll have to buy double the broccoli to get the same bulk.

5 comments:

Maddie said...

Can you believe I used to eat my broccoli...blanched? It pains me to think of it now, but ever since I discovered roasting, broccoli is back on my okay-to-eat list. This sounds like a cool new frontier for the vegetable that I'll have to try.

Also...I love routine. Don't let anyone tell you it's lame.

BettyCupcakes said...

Using broth as the soup base makes a ton of sense- maybe that's where I've been going wrong all these years. I see the light!

Sprout said...

Maddie,

Blanched! Although it produces a lovely kelly-green color, it's not so lovely on the taste buds.

Roasting is a god-send, agreed. Roasted parsnips are out-of-this-world delicious, maybe you want to try them sometime, too.


Betty,

Yes, broth is a light answer to many cream dishes. But who are we kidding, chowder without dairy? No thanks. Sometimes, dairy is necessary!

the lacquer spoon said...

I like soup-making too, esp at rainy weekend! Your broccoli soup is a good idea while I eat boiled broccoli simply with mayo. Will try for coming weekend :)

Sprout said...

Spoon,

Rainy day cooking is the best, isn't it? Trust me, we get a lot of rainy-day-cooking opportunities here in Seattle. More than we'd like to admit!

Boiled broccoli and mayo - now there's a combo I'd never put together. Thanks for sharing!