Friday, April 18, 2014

Stone Soup

I'm sure you've heard the fable of the stone soup, in which a hungry traveler tricks the townspeople in a somewhat stingy town into contributing something to a pot of soup by saying the stone she added first is magic. Well, recently, we have come up with our own version of stone soup, in our neighbor's kitchen.

While our splendid new kitchen is in the building stages, our neighbor Doreen offered us the use of her even more splendid kitchen when we need it. What we have discovered is that it's more enjoyable to cook and eat together. She supplies the pots, pans, dishes and stove, and we supply the makings. She is a wiz at dessert, too, so she often contributes the sweet at the end of the meal. We don't impose on her every day but it's fun when we do.

This time, we made a fresh chicken vegetable soup. We started with a recipe from Sunset magazine which we had both seen and wanted to make. This soup. Doreen and I chopped companionably each of the ingredients, while My Beloved prepared a shrimp appetizer, and our Cora and Doreen's Sandy milled around our feet, hoping for spills. What emerged was a very fresh and springlike soup - I might have called it Zuppa di Primavera, except it had carrots in it.

We did do a few substitutions - snow peas for snap peas as my market didn't have the latter this week. Half-and-half for the heavy cream for a lighter finish, but we all agreed that we'd use the heavy cream next time, as directed. It was wonderfully colorful and fresh, with crisp peas, tender poached chicken, and a hint of licorice from the tarragon. Most soups are simmered for a long time to draw out all the goodies from the ingredients; this one's magic was all about the freshness of the vegetables - the crunch of the peas, the just-yielding firmness of the carrots.The wide noodles provided a little heft and the fresh parsley gave it an extra zing of green. It needed salt and pepper at the table but was otherwise quite delicious.*

Having eaten so healthfully at dinner, we felt we could splurge on Doreen's delicious peach pie with the cobbler top and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. A great ending to our dinner of stone soup. We like our version of stone soup and are finding that, contrary to tradition, too many cooks actually enhance the broth.

*The recipe made a big pot of soup, so My Beloved and I finished it off a couple of days later. Reheated quickly in the microwave, the broth had had time to get to know the veggies and was even better. When I make this again, I will likely make it one day and eat it the next. The veggies were still al dente but that broth had gained depth and character. I'm also going to try a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese next time.


Blogger Three Dogs BBQ said...

Sounds great. My Mom used to make me Stone Soup after I had read the fable (Disney version of course). Brings back memories. Thanks Zoomie.

Friday, April 18, 2014  
Anonymous jann said...

Sounds like a win/win situation to me
with shared kitchen and shared meal.
Good reprieve from the war zone.

Friday, April 18, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Three Dogs, I'm always interested in how strong is the link between food and family memories.

Jann, it has been less of a hassle than I expected, thanks to friends like you and Doreen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014  
Blogger Diane said...

I am enjoying your eating adventures while you await your new kitchen. what a lovely solution.

Saturday, April 19, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Diane, it is an interesting experience and has brought all kinds of kindnesses.

Saturday, April 19, 2014  
Blogger Greg said...

Sounds like a fun neighbor. Most of mine I don't like ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, I actually wasn't too fond of my neighbors when they first built their house next to ours (too close!) but we have all mellowed over the years and helped each other through tough times, so now we are good buddies.

Sunday, April 20, 2014  

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