I purchased a new cookbook recently, one that focuses on growing a home garden and cooking from it. It’s written by one of the top food writers in Britain and has beautiful pictures to accompany simple recipes. Though it is not a vegetarian cookbook the author explains that he believes strongly in a diet that is mainly plant-based for the planet and for his health, so a majority of the recipes are vegetarian.
So, Tender; The story of a cook and his vegetable patch by Nigel Slater is wonderful. Each chapter is one vegetable, it describes planting it, growing it, cooking it, and then recipes for it.
When I was looking at samples of the book online I didn’t realize that it would be such a large tome, but I did realize that I would want to cook one of the example recipes as soon as I could. This soup, called simply, A soup the color of marigolds.
Now, when to make such a soup? The main ingredients are carrots and yellow tomatoes and those aren’t going to truly be in season for the home cook for some time, and chances are that when the tomatoes are ripe it’ll be too hot for soup. I had carrots from the farm market. I decided to break all the rules and bought tomatoes at the grocery store since they aren’t available at the farm market yet either. The store didn’t have any yellow tomatoes so I bought orange ones and I only bought 4 even though there were 6 and I regretted not buying all of them when I got home. When I got home I realized I’d need to bulk up the soup and debated between tomato flavor and golden color, ended up choosing to add some roasted yellow peppers from a jar to increase the volume. Then I broke more rules and added some cream at the end, not included in the recipe. Because I had some and we don’t use it for very much and it was going bad. So there.
What actually came from our garden? The chives on top. We’ve got many weeks to go before we have any real produce from the garden. I think we’ll have some lettuce this week. Woot!
A Riff on A soup the color of marigolds.
A bunch of carrots; peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
A small yellow onion; finely diced
3 cloves of garlic; minced
4 orange tomatoes; peeled, deseeded, and chopped,do this over a strainer and reserve as much tomato water as possible
2 yellow roasted peppers; diced
4ish cups veggie broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup cream
1) In a big saucepan melt 1 Tbsp of butter over med high heat. Add onions and carrots and salt. Cook until they begin to release liquid and then add garlic. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed.
2) Add the tomatoes, peppers, and broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 min until carrots are completely soft. Stir in remaining butter.
3) Use an immersion blender to blend the contents to a puree, not entirely smooth. Aim for rustic. If you don’t have an immersion blender do half the soup at a time and don’t blend the second part entirely smooth. The soup should be chunky.
4) Stir in the cream and any other seasoning. Serve in bowls and top with any herbs of your choice.
You could sub any tomatoes of your choice, or leave out the peppers. Or the cream (and sub EVOO for butter) to make it vegan. Your choice. Remember, I was going for color.