This week's meal planning began while traveling home in the car after a weekend visit with my brother and sister-in-law. What does one make for supper when one has no microwave (and therefore can not thaw frozen things on a whim), has not gone grocery shopping, won't arrive home until 4:30 PM and has a toddler who appears to be coming down with yet another virus?
My husband had the answer. "What about that garlic soup?" he said. That just might be something we have all the ingredients for, since during my annual Christmas grocery hoarding, which involves picking up extra of everything just in case I run out, I had overstocked in the garlic department...and the perfect winter sicky option. Garlic soup and cheese toast, it is.
The garlic soup recipe comes from Dan Jason, owner of Salt Spring Seeds, a heritage and heirloom organic seed grower on Salt Spring Island in B.C. My husband once spent a weekend on the island and spent a lot of time at Dan's farm, learning about his business. He came home with a cookbook, The Really Whole Food Cookbook, and has since picked up a newer one, The Whole Organic Food Book, which is more about growing food as well as cooking it, and more or less contains recipes from the original book. Garlic soup is in both books.
The original recipe is vegan, but we had chicken broth in the fridge, and some drippings in the freezer from last week's roast chicken, so ours was not. You may worry that this will be overwhelmingly garlicky, but I don't find it to be. It's more tangy and richly flavourful than noticeably garlicky.
2 garlic bulbs (you read that right--BULBS, not cloves), peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 T. olive oil
2 t. minced fresh basil (I used some from my garden that I blended with olive oil and froze in tablespoon-sized portions)
1/2 t. minced fresh tarragon
4 c. chopped tomatoes (the original recipe calls for them to be peeled as well, but I didn't do that. It would make for a smoother soup)
4 c. broth or water
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté garlic and onion in oil over medium heat, being careful not to brown them. Add tomato and herbs and stir for two more minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste.
My husband and I have decided that this should be the base for any soup we make. It is beautifully flavoured on its own, but would be even more delicious turned into a minestrone, with beans and pasta added to it. I especially enjoyed it with some cheese toast made from day-old Christie's Bakery pagnotta and Balderson double-smoked cheddar. I laid the toast in the bottom of my bowl and ladled the soup over top. Yummy. As for the sicky two-year old, he spent more time on the cheese toast, but once he was cajoled into trying a spoonful of soup, he picked up his bowl and took a healthy drink and said he liked it, before losing interest in it and tearing his toast to pieces.
And now for the rest of the week:
By hubbie's request: beef and bean burritos
Avocado and cucumber dressed with lime and sea salt
Broccoli and toasted garlic pasta (that's right—I STILL have garlic to use up!)
Asian-style roast chicken
Napa cabbage with dried shrimp and straw mushrooms (I have some Napa cabbage that really needs using, and I discovered a stir-fry recipe that has some obscure ingredients that I actually have on hand. It's not every day I find an excuse to pull out my bag of dried shrimp and open a can of straw mushrooms. I'm looking forward to trying this and exploring the website that it was posted on.)
Steamed brown rice
I won't have time to cook Thursday, because we have a 4:30 appointment to meet with a kitchen designer about renovating our kitchen. This is so exciting!! Food-wise, we'll likely go out somewhere. We may also track down some friends who might want to meet us for dinner, to turn our family night on the town into a socializing opportunity.
Leaning towards a pizza night, which may also be a socializing opportunity; more on that later.