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Soup Time

2011 October 5
by Thehousedaddy

Last week was hot and rainy, but this weekend it turned into fall in a blink of the eye. Saturday we woke up to torrential rain showers and cold weather. I couldn’t believe soccer wasn’t canceled, but I guess so many games have been cancelled that we needed to fit one in. Players and spectators alike were soaked to the bone and freezing in a 45-degree downpour. It never let up and it took hot showers and tubs to get our body temp back to normal. It felt like soup outside. It didn’t seem like it was going to happen this year, but hot rain has turned into cold rain. We love soup and make summer soups all the time. I didn’t have enough time this year to post the summer soup series, but I will do it as soon as the weather gets warmer. Hopefully it won’t be too soon.
Since we make lots of different soups depending on what we have in the fridge and what Twin Springs has, even the fall soups are seasonal. We generally let the market decide what we make and this time of year is amazing since you get to have some of the summer stuff still hanging on and a preview of the fall veggies at the same time. This really is the most bountiful time of year for the local growing season.

There are very few things we freeze or keep for out season use, but one of them is fresh local corn. Corn feels wintery to me for a number of reasons so when the season comes to a close we always buy a few dozen of what Maryland/Pennsylvania does better than anyone else. The white and bicolor corn this year was amazing and it has still been around for the last few weeks. To freeze we first shuck the corn and cut off the kernels. I have written this before, but it is really easy to lay the corn on a cutting board and work from tip to tail with a sharp knife. It isn’t hard to do, and we always fight for who gets to gnaw on the cob since the corn is so good it doesn’t even need to be cooked. We then put the corn in ziplock bags and freeze. Generally we use it for corn bread and corn muffins during the year.
What is different about our last shucking is that we also use the cobs to make stock. I break them in half and put them in a large pot with water, salt and pepper. I have made other more traditional stocks, but the last two years, this has replaced almost all of them. It is so easy and so good that I have a hard time making anything that requires more work. You also get a great feeling that nothing is wasted. You just need to simmer for a few hours and you get the most amazing, rich golden stock you can imagine. You can drink it as is, but this is what we freeze and use all winter long in soups and risottos and whatever else needs a flavorful stock. Like most of what we do, it takes very little attention. Even if you aren’t freezing the corn, you can save some cobs in the fridge during the course of a week’s use of corn and make a stock with the gathered cobs. I made two different batches with about 24 cobs this year so the freezer is full.
Since I couldn’t fit anymore in the freezer, we made a soup from what was left in the pot and some of the other great fresh veggies. We usually decide between rice and pasta as a starch addition to most of our soups. Some times we have soup as a starter, but we often times make it a meal unto itself. We always make sure that we have a protein packed into the bowl. Depending on the soup and what veggies we’ve included, we often make a salad to go with it which is always a nice cool contrast to a hot bowl.
For today, time ran out. We needed to do it all at once so we took advantage of having local tomatoes, local onions, and local potatoes all from Twin Springs (and our corn stock with some fresh corn). Since the stock was so plentiful I had to take out some white beans that I cooked and froze a few weeks before. I always like to have beans ready to go so we can add to a soup or make a sauce without having to start the soaking process from scratch each time. This gave the soup not only a great Tuscon twist, but added the needed protein for a complete meal. Twin Springs also had some fresh sage and thyme so they went into the pot as well. I added a little bit of olive oil and some baby Portobello mushrooms that the kids love to pick up when we go to the organic grocery store for our staples. When the veggies were almost done, we added some potato, brown rice and soy macaronis. I like to cook the pasta in the soup since the starch from the pasta water makes soup naturally thick.
We each had multiple bowls and felt full and warm from the steaming broth and the addition of our house made hot sauce that goes on everything. We also had a glass or two of Rose to cool off our mouths. I can’t believe how versatile dry Rose’s are with food. This one was a fantastic bottle from Provence with bright flavors and perfect acidity for the warm bowl. By the end of the meal we all had to mop our brows and take off some layers. The soup did the trick and we were warm and full.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. sherry pyle permalink
    October 6, 2011

    Oh my goodness…I love this picture! I miss you all so much. Hugs and kisses all around!:)

    • Thehousedaddy permalink*
      October 6, 2011

      We miss you terribly. Might come by for a squeeze Thur. and to drop off apples from the market.

  2. October 13, 2011

    This is the exact info i’m looking for, thanks! Arron

  3. judy beltz permalink
    October 23, 2011

    Your pictures are edible. I can envision those gorgeous
    children eating those delectable lunches.
    Would you consider making one more lunch to go for your next door neighbor?
    I love your blog.
    I remember the bread you brought me after my hip replacement…too many years ago. And all the wonderful Virginia treats this past year.
    I love living next door to you and your magnificent family.

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