It’s another cold day here in the panhandle, even though it’s May 2nd. We have freezing warnings in effect again for tonight. That means 1 thing: Soup for dinner!
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about making vegetable stock. It’s super easy and I love that I always have it on hand. In a nutshell, here’s what you do:
1. Wash and save all the trimmings/scraps from your vegetables. Place them in a bag or other container in your freezer. (I use tops of carrots & peppers; zucchini, celery, beet ends; onion skins; stems of mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, parsley…)
2. When there is enough to fill a large stockpot, throw it all in until it’s covered with water:
3. Then bring it to a boil, and simmer for about an hour and a half ( or however long you have, really).
4. After it has cooled, strain it. I measure mine into 4 cup increments, place in plastic freezer baggies and put in my freezer until I need it.
It’s that easy.
Now that you know how to make your soup super-bitchin’ by using your own stock, you can check out this awesome soup cookbook that my mom sent to me for my birthday back in March:
“Central Coast Farmer’s Market Soups” is written by a girl, Stephanie Burchiel, who owned the cafe located inside the health food store where I used to shop. I was in love with the tempeh taco salad and the tofu/avocado scrambled breakfast burritos she served. When I realized it was her book, I was super excited.
This book is awesome for a few reasons: 1) The recipes are delicious (more on that in a minute); 2) the photography is breathtaking; and 3) It’s very user-friendly and everything is vegetarian or vegan! She concentrates on using local and seasonal produce to provide the essence of the flavors, which result in mouth-watering, nourishing soups.
She kick-starts the book with a little back story of the climate and agricultural production of California’s central coast (on the water, half-way between LA and San Fran). Stephanie ruminates about the “unique and wonderful place and its bounty.” The thing I love most is the way it is sectioned into seasons:
And it’s all accompanied by the beautiful photography of Sam Peck. This book is the best of many worlds for me: When I am homesick, I can peruse the pages for pictures of the coastline. I can dream of all the farmer’s markets that happen in San Luis Obispo’s county. And best of all, I can make these awesome soups even in Texas.
This book is her love letter…
Stephanie has a section in the back of the book that shows all of her techniques and tricks (which also includes different flavored veggie stocks for different soups!) :
What recipe did I try first? The Romanesco Cashew Cream of course! I have to say that it was delicious. BUT….Romanesco, this guy pictured here:
…is a little harder to come by in Amarillo. SO, I subbed regular old cauliflower and it turned out amazing! My husband and our friend Andrea thought it was so cool that the actual flavor of the cauliflower was preserved. It was not just a “creamy something or other” soup. It was so rich and flavorful even in the absence of dairy!
I e-mailed Stephanie to see if she would be cool with a feature on my blog. I asked if she remembered me, and she said, ” Of course I remember you! I actually still have and use the adorable bag you made me for my graduation party =).” We had mutual friends and they all had a college grad party together, which I’d completely forgotten about. And I had made the girls purses as gifts…
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book, and I hope all of my friends and readers will consider investing in such a delightful cookbook. You can purchase and see more inside of her book here.
Check out Sam Peck’s photography. Here is a beautiful glimpse of the central coast from his book “Coastal Zen”: http://www.farmersmarketpublishing.com/coastal-zen-book/
I would love to hear about your favorite soup recipes...so please feel free to share. If you live or are visiting the central coast of California, make sure to look for Stephanie’s soup booth at one of the many farmer’s markets during the week. Happy “souping” 🙂