Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Make Soup, Not French Toast.

Here in Louisville we are experiencing our second Polar Vortex event of the season with a little bit of snow and a whole lot of cold air.  Local television weather personnel stir panic in the hearts and minds of those who hurriedly pillage the supermarkets for the usual Emergency French Toast ingredients: milk, bread, eggs, and beer (because beer is apparently a little known but critical ingredient).  Mind you, I’m waiting for someone to come out with a line of winter weather gear called “Polar Vortex”—sure to give The North Face some lively competition.  

Michel doesn’t make French toast on cold days, or any other days, for that matter.  During this cold snap, he’s been making soup. This week it’s garlic soup.  If the thought of garlic soup scares you a little, let me assure you it is perfectly safe and extremely healthful.  And vegan.  

If you’re interested in a little snow day reading on the benefits of garlic, here’s a rather short list including everything from antioxidants to mosquito repellent.  And an old-fashioned trick for removing splinters.  Who knew?
Of course there is California’s popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in July. You’ve probably seen programs about it on travel/food channels.  And if you can’t wait until July to get your garlic fix, there’s National Garlic Day on April 19, 2014.  Again, who knew?  Celebrating National Garlic Day

Ready to make some soup?

Vegan Garlic Soup with Squash and Root Vegetables
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (Any squash will do.)
  • 2 turnips, cut into cubes
  • 3 carrots cut into ½ inch slices
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 carton vegetable broth, maybe a little extra
  • 1 cup (or more) white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of pomegranate molasses—maybe

In your favorite soup-making vessel:
  • Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for one hour or until vegetables are fork tender.  (If some of the liquid has cooked away, add a little more vegetable broth.)
  • “Fish out” about half of the cooked vegetables and put them in a blender.  (You will need to blend them in two parts because they won’t fit in the average-sized blender all at once. This also means you’ll need a second pot to temporarily hold the blended veggies while you do the second batch.)
  • For your safety:  Add a little cold vegetable broth to cool off the vegetables before blending.  Otherwise the hot mixture explodes, remember?
  • Blend at low speed until smooth.
  • Return blended vegetables to the cooking liquid you left in the pot.  Adjust the thickness with vegetable broth to your liking. 
  • If the soup is too tart for your taste, add a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses. (Or save your pomegranate molasses for some super-fancy french toast.)

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