Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mid Fall

It's a contemplative time of year - the shortening days, the beauty of plants even as they fade into senescence, the intensity of the fall colors in the fading light of the early sunset. Trees and other perennials aren't dying. They are sucking their life force, in the form of sugars, into their roots to wait for spring. Annuals are setting seed that will also lie dormant and wait for the earth to spin past the spring equinox.

We are not perennials; we don't come back from dormancy. We are more like annuals; we leave seed that recreates our lives - not our individual lives but copies of our lives, with variation and sometimes error. Evolution is amazing. Genetics is amazing. Life and the universe are far more complex than any religion so far invented has imagined.

So drink or smoke a toast to the world as it says good-bye to another season of growth and enters another season of rest. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. (Starhawk)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Soup Blogging

Some of the ingredients

Ready for the pot

Beautiful and delicious
What better than soup on a chilly, wet October day? This is a delicious amalgam of New England and Asian ingredients. (It was supposed to be fish soup, but turned out to be tofu soup since the fish had turned.) One thing I would do differently would be to add the tofu earlier, to give it a chance to soak up more flavor.

The corn, tomato, and bok choy came from the farmers market. The tomato was 'Sunburst,' a variety I hadn't tried before. It turned out to be very meaty, with a very good flavor even though this was an end-of-season fruit. It also wasn't just large, it was honking huge; even after trimming out some bad spots, it yielded almost two cups. I used half of it for the soup, and saved half for another recipe. I also saved some seeds; I'll try it in the garden next year.

End of Summer Fish Tofu Soup

1 pint chicken stock, homemade
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
3 or 4 thin slices ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and pounded
1 large tomato, chopped, skinned and deseeded if you prefer.
2 cups tender greens, sliced: use spinach, bok choy, chard, tender inner leaves of mustard or turnip
3 or 4 scallions, chopped in .5” pieces
kernals from 1 ear of corn
1 small hot chili, deseeded, cut into fine strips
.5 lb catfish nuggets
.25 .75 lb pound pressed tofu, in pieces about .25" x .25" x .75"
cilantro - generous handful, chopped
soy and/or fish sauce to taste

Bring chicken stock and 1 quart water to a low boil in a large soup pot. Add garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, season lightly with soy or fish sauce, and simmer just a few minutes. Add tomato, greens, scallions, corn, and chili, bring back to a low boil and simmer until veggies are just done. Add fish and tofu; simmer just until fish is done. Taste for seasoning and stir in cilantro.