Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All hail the sous chef!

One of the best parts of being Mom's caretaker is that in the amount of time we have been spending together. I'm learning tons of new stuff! A couple of weeks ago, I got all ambitious and decided to cook up all of the veggies from the CSA box into three different soups at the same time. I'm proud to say that the only non-organic, non-locally grown veggies were the potatoes and celery in all three soups, and the list of things we needed from the store was minimal.

I did a boo-yah dance while I made the grocery list. Using all the vegetables in the CSA box is like having three yards of yarn left when you finish your project, minus the I-hope-I-have-enough stress.

On the way to the store, I told Mom that I thought this might be a huge disaster, and she assured me that it wouldn't be. On the way home from the store, I told her that statistically, one of the three soups would end up an utter disaster. She disagreed with my math, being utterly confident that all three would turn out well.

Mom sous chef-ed for me, washing and peeling the veggies while I chopped, cooked, set timers, and prepared not one, but three soups, simultaneously. To my utter surprise, all three worked out famously, and turned out to be positively delicious.

If you're curious, I made a potato leek soup, a potage of turnip, and a nearly-vegetarian borscht (I supplemented leftover chicken broth from the potato leek soup for some of the water, about half a cup), all out of Barbara Kafka's Soup Book.

Given the success of my soups, the next morning I decided to bake biscuits and serve them with freshly whipped cream and the apricot preserves we got in our box.

Now, to understand how good these preserves are, you need to know that I don't like jam. I'll have fig jam on brie with crackers, but other than that? I don't put anything on my peanut butter sandwiches, and toast is butter-only territory.

When I opened the jar of apricot preserves, I smelled summer apricots. There's was nothing sugary or gross about it- I could have eaten this stuff with a spoon out of the jar, and I probably would have if I had discovered it alone.

Given the successes I had with the three-soups-at-one-time experiment, I referenced my favorite soup book, pulled out a recipe for quibebe (not this recipe), and with my trusty sous chef, we made Definitely Vegetarian Borscht (with gold and red beets) at the same time.

The quibebe has gotten rave reviews, and the borscht is steadily winning over those who are not beet-inclined. I may have inherited my mother's jihad against vegetable haters, converting them with well prepared veggies that they've had historically adversarial relationships with.

I'm a big fan of doing a whole whack of cooking at once- we fridge everything that we're not eating, and we eat (basically) leftovers all week, and it's AWESOME. Not only am I making delicious, nutritious, low-sodium food for everyone, but this leaves me with more time to do other things than I had before.

Things I have learned:

  • My father can sense when dinner is nearly ready. Reliably, about 30 minutes from when the food will be ready, he'll call to see how I'm doing.
  • If there is a dumb, slow, and frustrating way to do something, you can be certain that I'll do it that way first. Then, Mom will see me suffering through some sort of ridiculously challenging task (like peeling garlic), and teach me the fastest, smartest way of doing it.
  • We have a "one butt" kitchen.
  • I like to chop, Mom likes to peel.
  • Studies show that food tastes better when the chefs are grooving to my "good songs" playlist, which has a lot of booty-shaking songs.


  1. Your post is making me hungry! We have a one-butt kitchen too.

  2. Congrats on the soups! I'm thrilled to hear that you are doing well and that Mom is also relatively spry. <3!!

  3. One Butt kitchen, Too funny. Soup rocks. The ultimate comfort food!

  4. Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-soups are fantastic! Crock-pot EBTKS soups are even easier. That's one thing we've been doing with our CSA box.

  5. best comfort food is irish champ....mash potatoes with scallions (spring onions) which have been boiled in a little milk - add both softened scallions and milk to the mashed potatoes and also add a little butter in to food ever!!

    Poppylillious (ravelry avatar)

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