Autumn Greetings, Friends!
Living in a university town makes us keenly aware of the changing seasons, especially when fall arrives. You can just feel the youthful energy of the returning students in the streets. Freshmen (looking younger every year) clump tightly together as they walk the sidewalk wide-eyed and giddy with expectation, upperclassmen run up to each other anxious to reconnect, graduate students equally bunched are wearing their excitement for new connections behind a mask of ennui which quickly melts at the pub. My husband and I love this time of year, and we make a point of strolling down Nassau Street every possible evening to drink it all in.
Autumn has its way of reminding us of the passing of time as it reminds of of our own passages. It is a time that invites us to reflect on how we want to age, and how our lifestyle choices reflect our desires.
Food is at the center of that as are the long strolls. Both are the building blocks of well-being, and we are reminded how much cooking at home has been so central to our home life. We often think back on the dinners we’ve enjoyed at our house and the dinners to come. As I feel the passing of time, I sense the growing desire to align my cooking habits with a care for health, and I’ll be spending some time with Dorothy Mullen’s Suppers Programs around that.
Dorothy asked for my help to make healthy food interesting, delicious and easy to prepare. Like me, she understands the importance of people cooking and eating together with intention. Cooking good healthy food is much like writing a sermon, you know. As much as one might love the subject, the finished product still has to appeal to the unconvinced.
Artistically, I’ve felt drawn to two things of late…
I’m drawn down to the grain in its whole unadulterated glory fueled by Alice Medrich’s new book The Flavor Flours and by my current obsession with a Danish sourdough bread that respects the grain like nothing I’ve ever made before. (There will be more on that next post.)
And those vegetables! They are really calling out to me now. How could it be otherwise? Late summer brings the best of the harvest forward, and the farmers markets are full to bursting. Also, those vegetables form the cornerstone of healthy eating. They make every part of your body happier.
The late season russets are out now, and in my very scraggly little herb patch the sorrel is singing its final song. I’d say it’s time to put them together for one last hurrah.
Potato Sorrel Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks or white onion
1 stalk celery
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 qt chicken stock
1 large russet potato, diced
2 cups sorrel, roughly chopped
¼ cup parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
small handful of herbs such as thyme or basil
a drizzle of olive oil or dollop of sour cream for garnish
Marigold petals (if you can get them)
In a stainless steel pot heat the olive oil. Add the leeks or onion, celery, and salt. Cook until tender. Add the stock and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender. Place in a blender with the sorrel and herbs. Blend in batches until the soup is a bright green and very smooth. Adjust the salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled, depending on the weather. Garnish just before serving.