Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back from the dark side

The dark side being tv dinners.

I've never been one to avoid fast food, although prepared food has always somewhat stumped me. Canned soup, okay, although soup is so easy to make, but mashed potatoes or stuffing out of a box? This seems bizarre to me. Although my daughter is a big fan of Kraft Mac and Cheese, but there is a kind of American primal response to it.

But up, at last, from my week-long bout with maybe-the-flu I wanted to cook. Last night I combined the best of both worlds making one of those Asia-in-a-box meals, with my own fresh vegetables and pine nuts. This morning I took my giant stash of fresh parsley (grown from seed, yay me) and dried half, then made a pesto with the other half. Parsley is one of those things that for some reason I hate to buy. It seems like cheating somehow.

Moving on to lunch, I recall my brother's amusing comment that there was a spy in my tomatoes, and thought, hmmm. So here's another Xan original.

Tomato-Apple Soup with leeks and chard

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
3 small apples, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 c. leeks, chopped very fine
3 cups loose of chopped chard (about 9 large leaves)

Place the apples and leeks with the stock in a medium saucepan,simmer. Blanche* and seed the tomatoes and conserve the water. Add the tomato meat to the stock. Run the seeds and skins through a food mill to extract every bit of delicious juice, add to pot. Simmer 30 minutes or more, until all vegetables are completely broken down. Puree (easiest way is with a hand held submersible blender, although you can also use a food processor or blender). Blanche the chard in the conserved water, drain and add to the soup just before serving.

Serve plain or garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

* This is how you peel tomatoes. Drop each one in boiling water for 15-20 seconds. When it comes out the skin will slip right off, leaving all the meat for eating.

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