Monday, October 13, 2008

Experimenting with Autumnal Soupage (and some bad news)

I'll start with my bad news. This blog is going to go unillustrated for a little while. Saturday night was my 20-year high school reunion. There was much merriment and frolicking, fueled by an open bar. There was a need to joyfully greet each new/old face one saw, even if 20 years ago we were pretty sure we never wanted to see said faces again (the open bar probably helped lubricate those moments). So in the midst of the drinking and hugging and photo-snapping, I accidentally flung my camera from my hand and it hit the floor lens-down. It was turned on, so the lens was extended out, and the impact of the blow set it permanently askew, so it won't retract into the camera as it should. Although I can salvage the pictures I took prior to the accident, I can't take any more pictures with it. I'm on the hunt for a new camera.

Since I'm a terrible food photographer anyway, I like to think people read my blog for my witty prose and delicious recipes and no one will care about the missing photos.

On to today's recipe...

I have said many times that I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into fall because I love summer so much. Still, once fall becomes inevitable, I do give in to the season and enjoy the foliage and the good riding weather and, of course, the fall produce. What says fall more than apples and cider and root vegetables and soup? I decided to experiment this week with a soup that would celebrate the distinctive flavors of fall.

Since this weekend was my reunion and my best friend was in town, I stayed home all weekend. (On the down side, I missed the great foliage I would have seen in the mountains had I spent the weekend with the horses.) This meant I could go to a lot of places I don't have a chance to go to very often.

One of those places was the Rye farmer's market on Sunday morning. It's a small market, but has some great vendors. This is a problem. The vendors are too good. This place is DANGEROUS. I went there looking for some fruits and veggies and cider. I came back with the fruits and veggies and cider along with a jar of homemade dill pickles, a wedge of raw sheep's milk cheese, and a jar of chocolate-hazelnut butter (sort of like nutella, only grainier and less sweet). I spent way more money than I intended to. Oops. Oh well. I have some good snacking.

And my soup? It's a parsnip and apple soup. One things I was able to do with the extra hours at home was cook up a huge amount of homemade stock, so I put it to use and made something I could have for lunch for the next few days. I don't know what inspired me to mix apples and parsnips in a soup, but I wanted to try something a little different from all of the squash soups and carrot soups out there.

The recipe calls for big parsnips. Do not underestimate the word BIG. The parsnips I bought were massive (it's times like these I miss my camera so you could see how big they are). They could have doubled as clubs. They were big enough to cause damage if you hit someone one the head with one.

My soup was kind of thin. I would encourage anyone who wants to try this to experiment with adding some bread or some cream. I was trying to save a few calories.

Parsnip and Apple Soup

1 Gallon chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
2 BIG parsnips thinly sliced
2 medium onions cut into pieces
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbl. fresh thyme leaves
1 cup apple cider
1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

Set stock to a simmer and add parsnips, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook until soft and add apples and onions and cook until they are soft.

Remove bay leaves. Add cider, sage, and almond meal and puree the contents of the pot with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or a blender, just don't try to blend it all at once.

Serve and enjoy.


Bellini Valli said...

Parsnips would make a delicious soup paired with the apples. They are both sweet and so appropriate for fall:D

Lo said...

Oh, yes -- this soup looks fabulous... and it makes great use of all the dangerous excess you find at the farmer's market. Bravo!

On the other end of things, I'm so sorry to hear about the demise of your camera. I know how nekkid one can feel trying to blog without it, so I'll pray for a quick recovery!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

So sorry about the camera! Hope you can find one you like soon. Glad you had fun at your reunion. I personally like thin soups so I'd like this one!;)

Adam said...

Too bad about your camera Rach... I saw some of the pics you put up, and they were funny (open bar induced, perhaps)

All pictures aside, I really dig parsnips and think your soup sounds awesome. I'm a calorie saver too at night, so it's perfect :)

cook eat FRET said...

see? this sucks. you found me on TNS and in turn i just found you via your comment and now i have to add your blog to my reader and well, i am already reading too many...

all this to say your blog is groovy. and yes, i used that word.

i just read down about 6 posts. very cool indeed.

Sue said...

Good news that you had so much fun at your reunion, bad news about the camera.

Apples are a wonderful idea with parsnips. If you can add them to butternut squash soup (which I do all the time) why not your clubby (lol) parsnips? The almond meal is interesting. Was that supposed to be a thickener?

You could also have thrown in a potato to make it thicker OR Julia's trick, I think I mentioned this sometime or other, of adding 2 tablespoons of long grained rice to the soup. Cook it and then when you puree it, it thickens without cream or flour or even potatoes. It's magic.

noble pig said...

Parsnips are my favorite root veggie..of all time. This sounds amazing and I'm really sorry about the camera.

Emiline said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry about your camera. I would have started crying.

I like to keep a parsnip in my purse for a weapon.

The soup sounds delicious. Wonderful fall flavors. I've been eating a lot of soup lately.
What if you made a creamy parnsip soup, and then topped it with a spoonful of apple chutney? Or you could top it with some toasted pumpkin seeds? Doesn't that sound good? I think so.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Thanks for all of your camera condolences.

Val - They do blend well for the season, don't they?

Lo - Nekid blog! Yes! That's just how it feels.

Cookie - I did have fun, so at least only the camera was lost. I found when I reheated the soup for later use, it was thicker than expected, but it still wasn't super-thick.

Adam - Glad you liked the photos I was able to take. The open bar definitely induced a lot of craziness!

CEF- I am very flattered you found my blog groovy. Glad you dropped you.

Sue - The almonds were just an experiment because I like almonds with apples and I still have a lot of almond meal to use up. They didn't add as much to the soup as I had hoped, so if I made this again, I will probably leave them out.

The rice suggestion is a good idea. Thanks.

NP - You should trade places with my husband. Sir Pickypants HATES parsnips. I'm the only one eating this soup this week. He needs people like you to tell him they're not that scary.

Em - Yes, it does sound good. I like your suggestions.

CECIL said...

Hope you get new camera soon! :) The 20 years reunion sounds so exciting!! Next year will be our first reunion from HS and ooohh..I can't wait!

For now, I'll just envision the soup in my head ;) and it just sounds yum!

Dee said...

Oh no, poor you! I'm going to miss the photos (you are so NOT a bad photographer) even if I do appreciate your clever prose :)

The apple and parsnip soup is very clever!