Last week, all I wanted was a bowl of soup. The idea would flitter across my mind throughout the day: Want. Soup. I even started eyeing the cans of Campbell’s at the far back of the cabinets that we keep on hand in case one of us gets sick and needs a salty childhood comfort food, which I’d pretty much never eat if well.
Tuesday, it rained all day. It was overcast and cold, and my husband had gone out to meet up with some former workmates. I was cleaning out the fridge, trying to assess what I still had and what I was going to need from the greenmarket that week. I found three bunches of carrots I’d bought the week earlier, brought home, and then completely abandoned in the fridge. Some had gone a little squelchy, but about a pound of decent ones remained, so I decided, at 8pm on a Tuesday, to make carrot soup.
I sat down at my laptop and googled +”carrot soup” +recipes and got several thousand different recipes. Creamy carrot soup, curried carrot soup, Thai-style carrot soup… this was going to take a while. I peeled the carrots, covered them with water, threw in a bouillon cube and a cube of ginger I’d frozen, set them to simmer and sat down to read recipes.
After the 27th recipe, I realized… carrot soup is a blank canvas on which you can put anything. I could probably put almost anything in it and it would be good…
By 11:30pm that night, this is all that was left of the pot of carrot soup:
Here’s the base recipe:
Librarian: “Oh, looks like you’ve got a book overdue.”
Me, acting casual: “Do I?”
Librarian: “Yes… Memories of Philippine Kitchens?”
Me: “Oh, right. Can I renew it?”
Librarian: “No, it’s on hold for someone else.”
Me: “Oh, um, okay. I’ll bring it right in.”
Reader, I can assure you, that was a bald-faced lie.
I apologize to the other New York Public Library patron who is patiently waiting for this book, but I am not returning this cookbook anytime soon.
Memories of Philippine Kitchens is not only a.) totally gorgeous and b.) incredibly fascinating, but that salad (slaw? slawlad?) is dressed with one of the greatest salad dressings I have ever eaten.
Salad dressing adapted from the Kangkong Salad recipe in Memories of Philippine Kitchens:
1/3 cup vinegar (I’ve used rice and red wine vinegars)
4.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard (optional; I prefer it without)
up to 1 tsp chili sauce (sriracha or sambal olek)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
If using as a salad dressing, add 1/4 cup water. Otherwise, whisk to combine all ingredients.
For the slaw pictured above, pour dressing over half a red cabbage and two or three cucumbers, all sliced very thinly. (I used this slicer to shred the cucumbers into the long strips you see.)
Refrigerate for a couple hours, during which time, the cucumbers will leech out some water and dilute the dressing a bit.
Just don’t blame me if this dressing turns you into a library scofflaw as well.
Why people started buying their fruits and vegetables from the nice, shiny, sanitary grocery store:
Never has the category “Greenmarket Grub” seemed so apt. I found this dude (and family? what the hell are those little black spots?) in my peaches. Not that it’s going to stop me from from buying food at the Greenmarket in any way, but let’s just say, I’m off peaches for a while.
Yeah. All set with peaches, thanks.
About six years ago, I had just moved into in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood and before I’d even unpacked all the our boxes, I signed up for Urban Organic‘s home delivery service.
The first week’s delivery sat at the wrong door of the brownstone in 93° heat all afternoon. I called and gave them instructions of which door to go to.
The second week, I found a box of humid, wilted produce in exactly the same spot. I called and gave them explicit direction of where to leave the box, and just to be sure, I left a note at the wrong door: wrong door, don’t leave my box of food here, thanks.
The third week, I stayed home all day, hefting my pregnant self up and down the stairs every hour or so to check the wrong door. And there it was, my note on the door and my box of produce. I canceled my Urban Organic subscription immediately, but that still left me with something that looked like this:
Let’s face it, you’re not going to impress anyone with the looks of this soup. It looks like wallpaper paste.
It tastes considerably better.
I’ve never really liked honey.
I’ve always felt it was okay for certain situations — in tea when you’re sick, mostly. So, when I ran out recently, I wasn’t in any great rush to buy more, seeing as I’m not due to get a cold for another couple months at least.
Still, when I saw honey at my neighborhood Greenmarket, I figured, oh, what the hell; it’s only $2.50, and bought this:
In short, I love it. I don’t know what it is — maybe because it’s buckwheat instead of clover honey? — but the taste is different enough that I’m eating it on whatever I can think of.
Also, I love that it’s packed by Paul and Barb.
Good ol’ Paul and Barb, with their bees, just hanging out, putting honey into jars.
Now the question part: I need a better way of dispensing this honey. I like these bottom dispensing ones, but the Amazon reviews for it are less than stellar. I admit I am intrigued by this bee-shaped one, although it looks like it would make a tremendous mess.
Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage
- 1 small head red cabbage
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
Shred cabbage. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Add cabbage. Reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for one hour. Serve as is, or with a little sour cream.
I’m just so pleased with this recipe. Years ago, I ate something much like this â€” in, of all places, Restaurant Akershus, in the Norwegian section of EPCOT â€” and I thought about it for the rest of the day; how it was sweet, sour, and bitter without being overwhelmed by any of its elements. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of recreating that here.
Plus, I’m really glad to have a new way to make cabbage, because I’ve had enough local, seasonal freakin’ produce to last me for quite some time.