Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here's Some Creamy Potato and Leek Soup for You to Love On



Love on was one of the first phrases I heard when I moved to Alabama.
And this is one that I have truly embraced.
It means to show someone affection.
As in: 'Come here you cute thing, lemme love on you.'




Corollaries to this would be hug on or brag on.
And I'm certain there are more.

Don't you just love it?!

Whenever I see someone I love I just want to embrace them in my arms and squeeze.
Love on.




When the babies were born, many new friends I had made called to see what they could do to lend me a hand. 'Bring Food!' was my most common answer.
And when they arrived with arms full of num nums I would trade their gifts for mine.
They all would say,"oooh, lemme love on those babies"
Holding them and smothering them with kisses,  I would taste their offerings then feed them (the food, not my new friends) to the rest of my clan.
Who can eat.
A lot.




It made a potentially difficult time quite wonderful.
I am so grateful to all of you...so lemme just love on you.




What does this have to do with potato and leek soup?
Nothing really.
But, just as I have embraced this new lingo, I have also come to love making smooth soups.
And this one is smooth.

Potato and Leek Soup

10 yukon gold potatoes. peeled and quartered.
1 onion, peeled & quartered
1 leek stalk (white & light green part only) chopped into 2 inch pieces
3 celery stalks (peeled at cut into 2 inch pieces)
2 cloves of garlic (keep the skin on while roasting, remove before blending)
olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 32oz carton chicken stock (Kitchen Basics, my favorite)
water (to thin out soup if too thick)
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes


After I get all my vegetables washed, peeled and cut, I put them in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
I don't know why I use the vinegar, I just do.
I probably saw it TV.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in a 425degree oven to roast for about 40-45 minutes.
It's a good idea to do your best and get those pieces the same sizes. This will allow them to cook evenly. If you don't do that, the earth will open up and swallow you whole.
Just kidding.
Actually, nothing bad really happens. Just keep it to yourself.
Once they are soft and slightly brown, transfer them into your blender.

{Allow me to brag on mine for a moment: I have a Vitamix. If you have never heard of this blender, allow me to introduce it: This is the Rolls Royce, the Mac Daddy, if you wish of blenders.
It has a jet engine motor.
It will pulverize anything in seconds flat.
It is loud.
It has a cult following.
It has changed my life.
I do not get paid to say these things, but ask around and I'm sure you will find a convert.
Okay, I'm done.}

Add the chicken stock and blend away.
Pour the silky smooth lusciousness into a pot on the stove and season with salt and pepper to taste.
After you have achieved season-nirvana, spoon into bowls.
Saute up some thinly sliced onion until nice and crispy.
Sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top.
A dash of curry is nice as well.

Slurp.
Repeat.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I might could make you some chocolate milk




Here's another phrase I hear a lot down in Alabama: might could.

It's difficult to remember the first time it was said to me, but rest assured, I was confused.
I'm certain the exchange went something like this:
me, " Can you babysit next Friday?"
babysitter, "I might could...lemme check my schedule."





The meaning? I might be able to or I probably can
I'm not sure what's funnier: the screwed up look on my face, or the sweet babysitter trying to translate this for me.

The best is when I see it written in an email.




Of all the local language I have heard thus far, this one is by far the most foreign.
I have yet to use it in a sentence, other than in lovingly teasing said babysitter.
But hey, you never know.
Stranger things have happen.
One day I just might could.




Chocolate Milk

seriously?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thoughts on Southern Dialect and Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Curry and Goat Cheese




One thing that becomes evident when you move from one area of the world (like, say NJ) to another (Alabama comes to mind) is that people speak differently.
And I'm not simply referring to accents.

I'm talking about local or regional idioms.
(side note: my kids LOVE that word idiom. Unstoppable, Gut clutching guffaws)
So I thought I would share some vernacular I have picked up as a Northerner living in the South.




I'll begin with y'all;  perhaps the most obvious and ubiquitous of them all.
Although you will hear this up North, it will only be spoken by transplanted Southerners.
I kid, but we Northerners shy away from that phrase, preferring you guys or everyone or simply you.

There's a sweetness about the word y'all.
It's familiar, like a well worn sweater wrapping itself around you.
Cozy.
It makes you feel good when you hear it.




The meaning? Well, it's obvious. Short for you all, it means everyone.
As in, "Y'all see that tornado pass through last night?"
or, "I'll bring the wine, y'all"

It was the first Southern term my children picked up rather quickly.
My oldest, J, picked it up first and uses it effortlessly.
I, on the other hand, feel like an impostor when it slips out of my mouth.
Even though it will be the perfect phrase. Short, all encompassing.
Other terms like you guys or you ladies seem vague or don't quite hit it.




With Y'all being the comfort food of idioms (snicker snicker) I thought it would be fitting to share this soup I recently made.
Afterall, what is more comforting than soup?
(well, besides mashed potatoes and grilled cheese...)
This is a creamy soup unlike ones that I make more frequently like vegetable soup or squash soup or minestrone .
Honestly, I tend to make chunky soups because I'm lazy inspired by the natural beauty of foods in their original state.
Also, I hate doing the dishes.

But like the word y'all, a creamy soup feels good on the tongue.
It's both smooth and sexy.
And believe you me, these Southern women can make y'all sound smooth and sexy!




Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Curry and goat cheese

2 heads of cauliflower (cut into medium sized pieces)
garlic (a few bulbs left in their skin)
1 onion (cut into thick wedges)
chicken stock- 1 carton
curry
cream (or half and half)-1/4 cup
goat cheese
salt & pepper

Toss the cauliflower, onion and garlic bulbs with some olive oil and salt then roast in a 400degree oven until it's browned and the smell is beckoning you like a Siren. Place in a blender (remembering to squeeze the garlic out of its casing first) and add enough chicken stock to cover. Blend on turbo speed until smooth. Add more water/ or stock if you feel it's too thick. Personally, I like it thick enough to scoop up on a piece of crusty bread.
Here is where I transfer it to a pot and keep it on a low flame so it stays warm. Add cream and curry (1 tbsp-ish).
When serving, sprinkle goat cheese on top and a little more curry. Salt and pepper to taste.
This is also fabulous with goat cheese spread on top of a toasted piece of french bread.
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