Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apples and Cheese

I am currently having some troubles getting my computer to acknowledge that my camera has photos on it, so that's holding up a few good blog posts (namely... I went to the arboretum... I got some awesome vegetables from my CSA... and I went to an orchard!). So, this is mostly just a quick hello.

As I say hello, I should tell you that I am eating a Cortland (if you aren't familiar with this type of apple, do yourself a huge favor and go find one to eat), alongside some Cabot Cheddar. Omigod. I have recently been able to obtain Vermont's delicious Cabot cheese here in the mighty midwest, and their funny ad campaign here is something along the lines of "lucky New Englanders have been eating this cheese for years and years - here's some for you to enjoy!" and I must say that they have a point. It's $9.99/lb at my chain grocery store and a bit cheaper than that at the one Trader Joe's that had it, last I checked. It makes midwestern cheddar look so silly. Like thickened milk. That someone dyed orange. If you can access Cabot Cheddar, I highly recommend that you do so. As soon as possible.

PS If you are a lucky New Englander, you know that Cabot cheese is simply the non-generic cheese option at the grocery store. And that it is significantly less than $9.99/lb.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick, Easy and Oh So Tasty!

My number one essential purchase at my weekly farmers market is a bouquet of fresh flowers. My farmers market has five stands that sell flowers, and I like to browse them all each week and see who is favoring what flower. Most bouquets are only $5, and they are huge, so I always get one of those, then at home disperse the bouquet into 4 vases of varying size. Anywho. Once I've spent my $5 I like to grab a few bunches of vegetables that are only $2 or $3 each, as most of the flower stands also sell a few vegetables. This week I was about to get beets (a favorite of mine) and to their immediate left I noticed the pile of leeks. I looked down at my feet that were happily inside socks and shoes. I looked down at my chest where my scarf hung. I thought. Hmmm. I think this cool weather merits some soup! So I grabbed up the leeks with images of potato leek soup in my mind and waited for the right day. Today was a cool fall day, so I grabbed a russet potato on the way home and voila, I had my ingredients! To add a little fancy to the meal, I got a loaf of french bread too, so I could make some crispy garlicky toast slices, I want to call it bruschetta, but I didn't put anything besides garlic and butter on the bread, so I'm going to stick with 'crispy garlicky toast slices'. I used Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a guide, but I'm putting my version below.

Potato Leek Soup with Crispy Garlicky Toast Slices (makes about 5 cups of soup)

1 lb (about 1 large) potato, peeled and diced.
3 leeks, sliced lenthwise in half, rinsed, and thinly sliced.
2 quarts water
1/2-1 T sea salt
3 T butter softened
1/4 cup milk

Directions: Combine potato, leeks, salt and water in a stock pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes until potato is tender. Drain about 1 quart of water and reserve. Use a hand immersion blender to puree the remaining ingredients in the stock pot. Add butter and milk and puree or stir to blend. Add salt (and pepper if you like) to taste, and use reserved broth to thin the soup to your liking. Sprinkle with parsley or chives to garnish.

For bread, slice french bread into thin slices and place on a tin foil lined baking pan. Melt butter in a small pan and press garlic into melting butter. Stir and pour onto bread slices. To make this healthier, pour olive oil over bread instead. Toast in toaster oven.