Tuesday, September 2, 2008

winter favorites

September: changing leaves, apple picking... spring?! For the southern hemisphere, yes, and the first 2 wonderful things that I've associated with the month are going to have to change to blooming flowers and farmer's markets. Weird. Not to mention that Santiago's spring supposedly lasts 2 weeks and then it's summer weather already. Finally, that season is long overdue in my book! In the mean time I've been enjoying a few of my winter Chilean favorites...

Mainly my all-time fav, Sopa Minestrone, which was last night's dinner. I really cannot get enough of it. I wonder if I can get my "mom" to make it once more before it heats up and I stop craving it. Eh, scratch that, the odds of me not craving it anymore are about slim to none ;).
Afterwards I helped myself to 2 big servings of these salads. I love ending meals with a light course like this, it's common here and in Europe (la france, par exemple) and I feel like it cleanses my palate. I've also heard that it helps with digesting the meal, anyone know for sure?Anyway, back to this past weekend... as you could tell from the pictures, everything was gorgeous and we were busy with outdoor activities trying to bask in the beauty of it all for as long as we possibly could. Most of our meals were made with fresh, basic ingredients from the market down the road and assembled in our cabin's postage stamp kitchen. One simple meal was my French host-sister's Cream of Asparagus soup that she taught me while she was living in my house during our senior year of high school. It's not the quickest soup to make and requires some prep work but with 10 people to help out it was a nice dinner solution for Saturday night. Here's the recipe Hil...

Crème d'Asperges
1/8 lb of fresh asparagus
1/2 large onion
3 tbsp butter
4 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
Spices to taste
1. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pot
2. Slowly cook onions until soft, be careful not to brown them
3. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil
4. Cut 2 inch tips from 12 of the asparagus and set aside
5. Slice the remaining asparagus into 1/4 to 1/2 pieces
6. Add the asparagus pieces to the broth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the asparagus is very tender
7. Cool for 10 minutes and then puree the soup in a blender
8. Return the soup to the pot and stir in heavy cream
9. Season with salt (and pepper if available)
10. Add asparagus tips, bring soup to a boil, and whisk in the remaining 1 tbsp of butter
11. Add lemon juice (and baked croutons if you wish)
12. Serve warm or cold

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