When you are used to cooking for two and are suddenly left to your own devices, funny things start to happen. Namely, your meals suffer. I inherited from my mother the proclivity to–when left to eat alone–combine leftovers of different and discordant flavors in the same bowl, at odd times of the day or night, and to eat them while doing a crossword puzzle. It’s not a lack of interest in the preparation, or in the flavor of the food, but rather a tendency to fall into a time warp of concentration and work from which we suddenly awaken, and, ravenous, go for ease of access and the simple need to fuel. The crossword puzzle is a way to somewhat absentmindedly reboot the brain. It’s that or solitaire. So while my sweetheart is scaling cliffs in Yosemite I have found myself, at 5pm or late at night, eating a “dinner” comprised of things in my fridge that can only be summed up by calling them “orts.” Yup. It’s been that good.
Yesterday we had the first rainy day in Sonoma in months. The sky was a smudge against the bleached hills, and while it never poured, a steady drizzle made it just cold enough to let it settle in the bones. In that damp afternoon, I went to the garden, picked a bunch of kale and uncovered startlingly red potatoes, gleaming like garnets in the black loam.
I was going to cook. I would not eat popcorn and pieces of turkey rolled around mustard and slices of avocado then dipped in hummus. I was going to prepare a delicious, nourishing meal and eat it at dinner time. I was going to make green soup.
Our sorrel hasn’t emerged yet so I used kale from the garden, some cauliflower that needed a home, and, just to make it extra green, the last of a bag of frozen peas. I had no onion but young garlic worked just as well.
While this soup is a great home for the ends of vegetables it is also one which is vastly improved by the quality of the ingredients you put into it. It’s a great neutral pallet for any array of herbs and spices but if your vegetables have come straight out of healthy ground or fresh from a farmer’s market, you won’t need more than salt and pepper.
The soup took me about an hour and a half to prep, cook, puree and reheat. At 7pm I closed my computer, poured a glass of wine, turned on some music, and sat down to a real meal by myself. It truly was health soup. Never underestimate the joy of cooking for one.
fresh or frozen peas
collard greens or swiss chard
broccoli or cauliflower
chopped fresh herbs to top
red pepper flakes to top
edible flowers to top