Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soup Of The Day

This morning I was reflecting on how, when fostered and fueled, creative energy can permeate many areas of our lives.  As I’ve been generating more creative energy with papercrafting projects, personal art exploration, writing, mother-daughter crafts and other crafty endeavors, I’ve been noticing how creativity is spilling over into the kitchen!  I’ve enjoyed cooking through the years, but in the past, I admittedly followed existing recipes more frequently than I experimented with my own concoctions.  Nowadays, I’m often serving dishes of my own design inspired by ingredients on hand, fresh produce from our garden or seasonal produce from our local farmers market.    
I recently shared inspiration from our garden, and I thought it would be fun to bring one of those garden stories full circle by sharing how yellow crookneck squash harvested from our garden (along with zucchini and basil, all quite plentiful right now) continued to inspire me, this time in the form of cooking rather than pondering life lessons!  I am a soup fiend, by the way, so many of my own recipes are soups!  I find instant comfort in a warm bowl of homemade soup.  No, Paper and Ponder isn’t suddenly morphing into a culinary blog, but here’s how my creativity manifested a couple evenings ago…    

Lisa’s “Soup of the Day”
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
6-7 medium summer squash (I mixed zucchini and yellow crookneck), chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Vegetable broth (preferably homemade), water or 1 part water to 1 part chicken broth, enough to cover sautéed vegetables
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I chose lavender pepper)
Toppings - parmesan cheese, grated; ribbons of fresh basil or fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, additional freshly ground pepper

Saute onion in olive oil until softened.  Add garlic and summer squash & continue to sauté for approx. 5 mins.  Add basil & continue to sauté for 1-2 mins.  Add liquid of choice (veggie broth, water or water/chicken broth.)  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer until vegetables are tender.  Puree approx. ½ soup, so texture is both smooth & chunky.  (My favorite kitchen tool is an immersion blender!)  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with toppings, a side green salad and crusty baguette.  (I just learned that radish greens, sprouts or leaves with stems removed, are edible, so we tested and enjoyed some in our salad!)