Saturday, October 01, 2005

Happy Food! 

I made what I thought was a lazy meal tonight. I had leftover soup and a head of Romaine lettuce, so I thought: Yes. Soup and salad. The end. As an afterthought, I made some popovers, and as we sat down at the table, I looked at the spread and was filled with an inexplicable happiness. For whatever reason, this meal jelled so perfectly together, that I thought, damn, I totally pulled this off. Best of all, the light custard popovers only took 10 minutes to prepare and 30 to bake.

I highly recommend this meal to anyone who's in the mood to make themselves feel like hot shit.

Here's what you do: make the soup the day before. I made Gypsy Soup, or Stone Soup, or whatever kind of soup you make that combines the vegetables in your garden with what's aging gracefully in your crisper with the frozen veggies in your freezer.

Gypsy Soup.

2 tomatoes
2 T olive oil
2 C chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stalk celery, minced
2 C peeled, diced sweet potato
1 t salt
2 t paprika
1 t turmeric
1 t basil
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
1 bay leaf
3 C water
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 C cooked chick peas

1.) Heat a medium-sized saucepanful of water to boiling. Core the tomatoes, and plunge them into the boiling water for a slow count of ten. Remove the tomatoes, and peel them over a sink. Cut them open; squeeze out and discard the seeds. Chop the remaining pulp and set aside.

2.) Heat the olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, celery,a nd sweet potato, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt, and saute 5 minutes more. Add seasonings and water, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.

3.) Add tomato pulp, bell pepper, and chick peas. cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until all the vegetables are as tender as you like them. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.

Okay, so, if you make this the day before, or two days before, all you have to do is reheat it for this meal. Next, make the popovers.


2-3 T melted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/4 C milk (lowfat okay)
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 t salt

1.) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the insides of 12 muffin cups with melted butter or margarine.

2.) Beat together the eggs and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add the flour and salt, and beat with a whisk until reasonably well blended. It's okay if the batter is lumpy.

3.) Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full. Bake 30 minutes. Try not to open the oven door while baking.

4.) Remove the popovers from the pan immediately, and prick each with a fork to let the steam escape. These are great with butter, and so good with grape jelly it brings a tear to your eye.

While the popovers are baking, make the Caesar salad. Set two eggs to boil for 2 minutes.

Melt 2 T butter in microwave. Add 2 T olive oil, and 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half. Heat in microwave 20 minutes more, then set aside for 10 minutes. Discard the garlic. Toss the butter mixture with 3 slices of bread that has been cut into cubes. Spread bread cubes on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Mash together in a small bowl until a paste is formed: 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 1/2 t salt. Whisk in 2 t lemon juice, 1 t Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. (Here's where two mashed anchovies go, if you can stand it.) Add 1/2 C olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

In a salad bowl, toss croutons and lettuce together with dressing. Toss in cooked eggs. Sprinkle with 1/2 C Parmesean cheese.

By this time, your soup should be hot and your popovers should be done.

Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself some iced tea.

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