Rosemary, fresh-ground black pepper, and kosher salt are all I needed just now. Dang. For those of you in more idyllic climes, we poor chumps in Minnesota have been experiencing some crazy low temperatures this week, and, frankly, it’s been getting me down.
Last night I was feeling real whiny, but this morning I decided to do something about it! I cleaned my room (even took some pictures for posterity), walked to Eastside co-op to buy some pantry essentials, and spent way too much time browsing apartment therapy for decorating ideas for my next place. Oh yeah, and made fries.
I don’t know why people and publications are always claiming that oven fries are a difficult thing to do. Or maybe my standards are way too low? All I did was slice up some potatoes, coat them in olive oil and seasonings, and popped them into the oven for a while. Flipped them over after 20 minutes and then forgot about them. When I finally remembered, they were done!
One month until spring… right? I can’t wait for picnics, bike gangs, farmer’s markets, late night carousing, swimsuits, asparagus…
Ooooh, victory tastes so good. While the Obama campaign did lend itself to the donut-and-bacon combo, that wouldn’t have been enough to keep our hangovers at bay. I wonder, what kind of puppy is Barack going to get the kids? Thanks to you, America, I can spend my morning thinking about the First Puppy rather than mulling over desperate plans to live off the grid. America’s cool again!
My victory breakfast consisted of garlic-and-rosemary fried potatoes, an overeasy egg, locally produced bacon (not pictured) and green onions sauteed in bacon fat. Oh baby!
Also, some additional news: I’ve started contributing to another blog that has absolutely nothing to do with food! On the Freesound blog, you’ll find a series of interviews that I’m doing with bands and musicians on my college campus. If you like my writing here, you might like this stuff? I’m still updating The Kitchen Bitch though, so it’s ok if you don’t care about music so much!
My project this summer has been to experiment with pasta sauces, and I haven’t had a really satisfactory result… until today! Tonight I made a sauce loosely based on vichyssoise, or chilled potato-and-leek soup. I actually prefer the hot version of the soup, which is sort of heretical, I guess. Does that disqualify it from being called “vichyssoise”? Does it matter? Culinary conventions tend to be somewhat strict, but you know what? FUCK YOU, BITCHES, THIS IS VICHYSSOISE PASTA!!!
I was really surprised by how well this turned out, for being a completely ad-libbed dish. I’m sure that the quality of the dish owed a lot to the ingredients, though: the leeks and pasta were organic and I grabbed the French fingerling potatoes from the Union Square farmers’ market just a few hours before. Or maybe I’m just that good? (Yeah okay.) I guess you don’t actually have to use fingerling potatoes for this recipe, but I really liked the way the slices looked in the sauce. Maybe I miss hotdog Spaghetti-Os, or this is some backward Freudian thing where slicing fingerling potatoes makes me feel empowered.
I had this with a glass of 2007 Paumanok Riesling, and subsequently broke the wineglass in the sink. (Sorry mom!!!)
- olive oil
- leeks, sliced
- fingerling potatoes, sliced
- heavy cream
- chicken stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- linguini (I think it looks really nice, is all.)
- shaved Parmesan, to garnish
- shredded parsley, to garnish
1. Throw the olive oil and butter into a small sauce pot over medium heat. Once it gets going, throw the potatoes in and let them sit for a few minutes. Once they’re about halfway there, toss in the leeks and stir the whole thing around a little.
2. Start the water for the pasta now! (Don’t forget the salt!) Once the leeks and potatoes are tender, pour in some heavy cream and chicken stock. Season it with lots of salt and pepper and let it all reduce for a bit, until you get the thickness you want.
3. Cook the pasta, and toss it with the sauce. Throw the parsley and Parmesan on top, and eat that shit!
Yesterday the Farmer’s Market in Grinnell opened for the summer; they sell a modest assortment of vegetables and baked goods along with creepy blankets and soy-based candles. Sojourn Farms, which is based in Brooklyn, IA, was selling both purple and green asparagus at their stand for $3 a bunch. Asparagus is their specialty, so I didn’t mind the price so much. I don’t think that there’s very much of a difference between green and purple asparagus other than regionality: French asparagus is purple while American asparagus is green, s’all.
Since I work during dinnertime, I figured I’d make something that wouldn’t get all weird sitting in the fridge: soup! I’ve never been a big soup-maker, but maybe that’s something that should change. I bought purple asparagus at the market, but the color seemed to shrug off during boiling. Ah, well. I have another half of a bunch that I can roast or something.
The matter of seasoning was a tough one. I had used leftover pho stock, so it was already infused with fish sauce, star anise and other pho spices. But even then it was missing something. I dug around in my bootleg spice rack and tried a whole bunch until something stuck. Sage seemed like a pretty weird thing to add, but it imparted a really interesting and deep smokishness to the soup, which I really didn’t expect. Besides that, I ground a while bunch of black pepper into it. The soup ended up being a really nice mixture of refreshing and filling; a great meal for a chilly spring afternoon.
Asparagus and Potato Soup
- Half a bunch of asparagus (color doesn’t matter a whit)
- Three or four potatoes, diced
- Two to three cups of chicken stock
- Sage, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste (I didn’t use salt, but if you’re using regular chicken stock you might want to add it.)
Snap off the ends of the asparagus and discard them. Chop up the asparagus into manageable pieces and throw them into a pot with the chicken stock and potatoes. Have it all boil until the potatoes are cooked through. Puree everything in a blender. Season accordingly.