Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cucumber Zucchini Soup

I love soup any day of the year but my favorite soups are the ones my mother made with vegetables from our garden. Now that the farmer's markets have re-opened in Hoboken, I look forward to making huge pots of these to enjoy on even the hottest of summer days.

This particular soup solved an ongoing dilemma in the Schmitt household - what to do with the onslaught of zucchini plucked from my father's garden. In particular, what to do with the extra-large ones that were left to grow a bit too long. Because of their large, inedible seeds, they were assigned to dishes like this one by discarding said seeds and using the flesh alone.

Choose your weapon

3-4 medium zucchini (or 1 jumbo!), sliced
1-2 medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced
2 scallions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt & pepper
1 cup heavy cream (or milk, yogurt, sour cream)

Simmer zucchini, cucumber, celery and scallions with herbs in broth until soft.



Let cool slightly. Puree in blender or food processor.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cream.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Favorite Chef

Most of the food I make I learned from my mom. I remember clearly the first thing she taught me to make on my own was scrambled eggs (with a dash of milk and salt & pepper). From a small age, wearing our mother/daughter matching aprons, to present day, I was always eager to help in the kitchen and learn from the Master herself.
My mother cooked a balanced meal every day of the week (except for an occasional pizza Friday) and never made the same thing 2 weeks in a row. There were no chicken nuggets or Lunchables in our house - only roast chicken, homemade tomato sauce, brie sandwiches (!), meatloaf, etc, etc.
Yet, sometimes its the littlest things that stick with you - little tips and tricks that you learn from Mom. I'll never be as good of a cook as my mom. Everything she makes just seems to taste so much better ! But I like to think there is a little piece of her in everything I whip together.
Like a simple grilled cheese sandwich made the way her mother made it with a little bit of mayo spread on the inside of the bread.

Or her famous Egg on Bread (which my nephew confirms that she makes better.)

Even her tuna fish salad tastes better (onion, celery and a dash of milk!) and always made in the same little bowl that my grandmother made it in.
There is something about Mom's cooking that soothes the soul and warms one's inner being. The recipes I've been documenting here are no doubt delicious, but its their passing from mother to daughter - from my grandmother, to my mother, to me - that makes them extra special.
Happy Mother's Day to My Favorite Chef !