Friday, October 22, 2010

Pattypan Squash and Fennel Soup

This week has been a small lesson in failure. Sure, I have a book coming out, but there are so many things I'm not doing. Blogging regularly. Investing the time to take better photos. Befriending bloggers and editors. Pitching freelance stories. Tweeting. Facebooking. Tweeting some more.

Just writing the list makes me tired.

What's unfortunate about our sped-up, plugged in world, is that increasingly, the simple little things seems to be valued less and less. Where's the time to read a book if I'm always on the computer? And new writing projects are rarely, if ever, born from a revelatory blog post.

No. The things that make me want to write, and cook, and write some more, come from real life: the fog covering Twin Peaks. A rain slicked street. Being up early, with only my coffee, and my oatmeal mixed with pear compote to keep me company.

Still, I vow to do better, because that's what we Type-A-Personality-Industrious-Catholic-Girls do. I tell myself I will write more, blog more, and take more photos while I am doing it. All this will be balanced by long walks up big hills, and time spend reading The New Yorker and the best collections of food writing.

And then I fail, fail, fail.

So I cook, because cooking is good, and simple, and no matter what, we gotta eat. I open the fridge. I pull out the veggies that have nearly turned the corner. I find a recipe. I adapt it, roasting the veggies with a little paprika.

The smell of them fills up the house, reminding me again, that what's good in this world isn't always founds through an i-product.

The simple whir of the roasted vegetables mixing with broth and a hint of cream make a velvety soup. It's the color of coffee with lots of milk, but finished with another dot of cream and a spoonful of red wine vinegar, it is complex and warming. We eat in the soft light of Sunday supper, with jazz on and a big glass of wine.

This is real. It's the good stuff, and what I'll try to share more.


Pattypan Squash and Fennel Soup
4 or 5 medium Patty pan squash or zucchini
1/2 big red onion
1 medium fennel bulb
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store bought
1/4 cup heavy or sour cream (optional) plus more for serving.
Drizzle of red wine vinegar (also optional).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the zucchinis, fennel and onions into chunks, place in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and paprika. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once.
Remove from oven and using a stand-up or immersion blender, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables. Add three cups stock, and more if needed, until the soup reaches desired consistency. Add cream if you like, and also red wine vinegar to round out the sweetness of the vegetables. Serve with a dollop of cream or yogurt.
Feeds 2. 


alanachernila said...

Amen, sister. Here's to the things that make us want to write, and the meals we make in the mean time. Thanks for this.

naomi said...

Love! Looks like we spent Sunday the same way. Mine included farro with roasted squash, sweet onion and fennel. Extra squash set aside made for a tasty soup tangy with yogurt which Thatcher LOVED! I have always enjoyed my time in the kitchen but it has taken on a new meaning while cooking for my son. Trips to the farmers market are so much more exciting with his little sparkly eyes taking it all in. Enjoy the fall goodies and the break in your busy schedule to spend some much deserved time in the kitchen. You have been in my thoughts...maybe you can come for a Christmas cookie day!

Julie said...

I think I was meant to find your blog tonight--I've been feeling a bit in a rut as well. Too much life, too much nonsense, not enough fun...and I'm certainly not meeting my self-imposed goals. Ah well, this too shall pass--after a little red wine and a good night's sleep! I only wish I had a big bowl of your delicious soup right now...can't wait to try the recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Anne Zimmerman said...

@ Alana: I am so excited for your cookbook and to cook from your blog. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

@ Julie: It is funny how we get the right inspiration at just the right time, isn't it? Your garden looks amazing so I am sure it will make a great veggies soup.