Monday, February 1, 2010

A pleasant evening with Dakki

My refrigerator was full of rogue vegetables, either left over from some earlier meal preparation, or purchased for a meal that never happened. I decided to make a big soup to use them up. While gathering my ingredients, and delving into my potato bin, I made a horrifying discovery – something large, black, slimy, and totally unidentifiable. I suspect it of having been the remains of a bag of potatoes. Blech. Double blech. Rebecca was present when I made this awful find, and was delighted witness such a signal housekeeping lapse, and to give me a lecture on the storage of potatoes. I think age (the potatoes' age, not mine) was more of a factor here, rather than improper storage technique, but there was that too, I must admit. Fortunately, there were some healthy specimens left, as my mental recipe wanted potatoes. The soup turned out very well, and I have included a recipe.

In addition to many slightly aged vegetables, I had two heavy cream containers, one half full, and left over from Christmas!!! I had been too lazy to either use it or toss it out. The other was from a more recent dessert that never materialized. I decided to make ice cream. The usually blasé Rachael said, “You mean you are going to whip up some ice cream, just like that? In minutes?” She seemed incredulous. But so it was. I examined the Christmas carton, and was surprised to find that it still looked okay. I daringly tasted it. Once again, it seemed to be in pretty good shape. I had Dakki taste it. She agreed, so I used those, and some yogurt to bring the total amount up to 2 cups. I added a cup of frozen blueberries and a third cup of sugar, whirred the whole thing in my blender, and then made ice cream in my handy Donvier ice cream maker. An impressive dessert in minutes.

I recently wrote about watching Lassie Come Home a number of years ago, and my embarrassing experience at the theater. I decided that I needed to see it again, so after dinner, Dakki and I watched it. It’s one of my favorite movies, and in my case at any rate, a real tear jerker. The fountains begin to flow about five minutes into the movie. I don’t know what it is about it. I have seen much sadder movies, and been unmoved. But this one always gets me. I loved the book when I was young, and it is one of the very few that I actually remember reading. I mean to say that there are many books that I remember having read, and remember what happened in them, and what I thought about it, but this one I remember where I was (outside in a lawn chair in the shade on a very hot day,) what I was wearing (blue shorts and a white blouse), and what I was eating as I read (Kool-Aid popsicles.) Another book about which I remember the particulars of my reading experience is Josie and Joe by Ruth Gipson Plowhead. I know, you’ve never heard of it. It was another of my favorites (and Rebecca’s, as well), and the only book I ever dropped into the bathtub while reading there. Which, of course, is why I remember the particulars of that one.

Zesty Squash Soup (made in the pressure cooker)

3 medium onions, cut up
1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced,
2 cups or more of cubed butternut squash,
2 cups diced potatoes,
2 chopped sweet red peppers
1 chopped apple,
1 piece of ginger the size of a fat man’s thumb, chopped into small dice
1 cup of chopped celery,
1 carrot diced (would have used more, but that’s all there was)
6 cups vegetarian broth
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper,
and salt (if needed)

Sauté the onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic and give it a few more stirs. Add the remaining ingredients up to the lemon, and cook at high pressure for five minutes. I made this without the lemon, and it was a little dull. So I added more salt and the juice of a lemon, and then threw in the entire lemon as well. I cooked it for a bit longer and it was perfect. The lemon seemed to disappear into the soup, and perked it up quite a bit. If I were making it again, I would add the lemon at the outset. When it is cooked and seasoned to your taste, whirl it with an immersion blender till it is fairly pureed, but still has some lumps to give it a nice texture. Add the cilantro and serve. Yum.


Janet said...

Lassie Come Home was one of my favourites also although I don't remember it in quite the detail as you. I read lots of dog stories - do you remember Albert Payson Terhune? That name just popped into my mind.

joannamauselina said...

I do remember him. He wrote "Lad, a Dog," which I know that I read, although I don't remember much about it, other than that I liked it. Maybe I had better read it again. There was a dog book section, and a horse book section at my library, and I always began my searches there.

Laura said...

You've just helped the economy because I'm going shopping to finally buy that pressure cooker and now I also want the Donvier ice cream maker too after reading how quickly you made this good food!

Jane said...

I never did finish Lassie Come Home, and I don't know the story. I'm sure it ended happily, but I never got to the end because I cried so hard I couldn't see the words.

Jane said...
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