Romance is so not dead. I was just rooting around for chocolate (a habit I inherited from my Dad, who used to do this after dinner any night that there wasn’t a little dessert to be had – now he keeps the makers of Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate busy) and mentioned how much I would love to have a Drumstick right now (the ice cream kind), and Mike walked to the corner store and just handed me one. I think he may be hoping for some kind of payback later.
It was some sorta crazy weekend. Friday night ended at 1am and Saturday morning began at 6:30 with W flicking/Lou licking me in the head. It was Gallery Calorie day, which was wildly successful and (almost) went off without a hitch, but had me out the door before 9 and home at close to midnight again. Sarah came and met me, and took a photo of our stunning pasta and bruschetta we ate on the patio at Il Giardino with her iPhone, but the computer keeps telling me it’s broken and won’t let me open it. So that, technically, was dinner, along with a few raspberry martinis (not a good idea in close vicinity to a silent auction), beef and beer pies, cupcakes, and bacon-wrapped scallops. (Dinner was grazed upon between 2 and 7 pm.)
This afternoon we spent at a barbecue and got home at dinnertime, all disoriented after having just eaten burgers and hot dogs a couple hours earlier. Why is there no afternoon equivalent to brunch that marries lunch and dinner?
But H had walked across the street this morning with a little basket of freshly picked spinach leaves – straight from her garden – and I was not about to leave them to languish in the fridge or for W to use as confetti in the living room. I haven’t even managed to plant my spinach yet, let alone harvest it.
(I don’t hate her because she’s beautiful, I hate her because she can plant stuff and not kill it. Which come to think of it is a handy sort of neighbour to have.) So I quickly sautéed the lot in a slick of olive oil and dab of butter, with a smashed clove of garlic, and as soon as it wilted tipped an egg into the hot pan. There is no better quick meal with a good slab of buttered toast.
I also reheated some asparagus-cauliflower vichyssoise for each of us to sip as we went about doing what needed doing. I didn’t make it to Edgar Farms’ Asparagus Festival a couple weekends ago on account of W’s fever; luckily I managed to stock up on plenty of the stuff, some of which I made into a large pot of soup. Vichyssoise is the hoity-toity name for far more humble sounding leek and potato soup, when it is puréed and served chilled. Very Garden Party. It was always my Dad’s favourite soup – he’d request it on birthdays and other occasions during which his input was requested. I hadn’t made it for ages but thought asparagus might make a nice addition, and then as I was making it discovered half a head of cauliflower that needed using, and both worked swimmingly.
This soup, by the way, is just as good served hot as cold or anywhere in between. And although I am not much of a garnisher, I dabbed a bit of jarred pesto on top for the photo because the pale green puree just wasn’t cutting it. It’s optional, but delicious.
1 Tbsp. each butter and canola or olive oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, chopped (white and pale green part only) and then washed in a bowl of cool water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1/2 half & half or cream
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the stock and cook for 20 minutes, until everything is very tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.
Purée the soup in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or do it in batches in the blender or food processor until very smooth. Serve warm, or chill and serve cold. Serves 6.
One Year Ago: Puffed Apple Pancake