Friday, February 26, 2010

Eating Right

How well I remember trying to get dinner on the table when my children were young. There was something about 6 p.m. that made it "the witching hour" in our household.

Kids were cranky, I was tired and dad was arriving home from a long day at work, stressed-out and hungry.

If I managed to get something pulled together before we all fell apart, it was a minor miracle. Like Jean Shepherd's* mom from "A Christmas Story," I swear I went years without tasting hot food. And if we all managed to bolt down the calories before someone (possibly me) spilled their milk, threw a tantrum or starting racing around the dining room, it was a good night.

So I really feel for the mom who tried a noble experiment: One month of flash-frozen, takeout dinners versus then one month of "slow food" food.

Her conclusion: If eating real food is to become the goal, everyone needs to share in the task. Working women already do the vast majority of the housework. Making them feel more guilty because they don't also bake bread and make cheese is ridiculous.

Of course, now that my kids are out of the house, I have a lot more time to do things like bake, cook and garden. I've got some broccoli ready to harvest, in fact. Anybody know how to make broccoli soup that doesn't involve cream/milk, so my lactose-intolerant husband can enjoy it too?

(h/t to Paula for the link)

*If you haven't read Shepherd's books, they are fun, light and quintessentially American without being sappy. I'm a big fan.


  1. I have a recipe (I haven't tried it) for broccoli soup poured over goat cheese. I assume the soup melts the cheese, and the cheese thickens the soup. You might substitute tofu and run it through a blender. I'll email it.

  2. I've got one. It's my one signature soup that's guaranteed good for anything that ails you. And you don't miss the milk:

    Sautee onion and garlic at bottom of stock pot. In this order, after cooking each ingredient in a bit: Add one head of broccoli or more. Add head of cauliflower if you've got it. Add three or so cut up potatoes. Add hot peppers (if you like that). Add bun of spinach. Add three cups chicken stock. Cover pot and let the whole mess cook down.

    Puree (or not. I like to.) Then add another two or three cups water until it's the consistency that appeals to you. You can also put in some ham, if you want some meat with it.

  3. That sounds really good. Potato would make it creamy, I suspect.

  4. Here's the one I emailed to Karen:

    broccoli soup
    serves 4

    s 1/4 lb broccoli
    sea salt and pepper
    4 slices soft goat cheese or 4 baby chevres (or tofu, we're thinking in this case)
    1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts, lightly toasted
    extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

    cut the broccoli into florets
    bring 3 1/3 cups salted water to a boil in a pan, add the broccoli and simmer for about 4 minutes until tender but still bright green.
    drain, reserving the liquid.

    whiz the broccoli in a blender with enough of the liquid to half-fill the goblet, to give a velvety texture.
    here you might blend in the tofu. this is where you have to decide which way you want to do it.

    reheat the soup in the pan and adjust the seasoning.
    put the goat cheese (or tofu, if you didn't blend it in) slices into warm soup bowls and pour in the soup, to one side.
    top with the nuts, grind over some pepper and drizzle with olive oil to serve.

    I've never tried this and I think I like Hiker's better. Sounds heartier.

  5. OOoohhh! Two possibilities. I have lots of broccoli, so I think I'll try both. Thanks!

  6. Oh god, mine sounds like such a peasant soup compared to yours. But you are right -- it's the potatoes that give it the creamy texture. New potatoes would be the best, but you'd need -- probably -- eight of them. Unpeeled.

  7. A neighbor gave me the recipe. She's a great vegetarian cook, home decorator, fashionista, etc. Like I said, I haven't tried it yet. I always mean to get around to being those things.

  8. Okay, I tried AH's recipe, having baking potatoes and spinach on hand but no tofu.

    It was really yummy. I will confess to adding a chunk of butter at the end to kind of smooth it all out, though. ;-) Thanks for the recipe!

    Petrea, yours goes for the next broccoli harvest.