"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cucumber Soup with Wasabi Avocado Cream and Melissa Triumphs Over Technology

Here's the risky thing about deciding not to go out of town (Rockport) to shop. You're stuck with the IGA and what it has to offer, which is limited and eccentric.

Still, I thought, the shopping list for Cucumber Soup with Wasabi Avocado Cream was simple, because I had most of it. I had luscious, ripe avocados from last week's organic produce box, I had wasabi powder and plain yogurt...I had everything, in fact, but three seedless English cucumbers, a lime, and chives. I was a little galled at the thought of buying chives because we have tons at work in the herb garden...but it's such a small list I thought I'd suck it up and shell out 3 or 4 bucks. It's just money, right?

Did the IGA have English cucumbers? Yes they did. One.

Did they have limes? Yes.

Did they have chives? No.

So I bought the one English cucumber and two fat waxed ones, and my lime, and thought hard about chives. Suddenly I remembered that my neighbor Don Rittenburg has a long back yard that abuts ours filled with what he calls "onion grass" and when he mows his lawn it smells like onions.

So I went foraging when I got home. See the sunlight on the other side of those trees? That's where I was going. But I had to climb over this berm type thing:

And there was a whole patch of it, uncut.

Ha. Just call me Euell Gibbons.

Now, I had to be sneaky about using this so-called onion grass, which means to say I couldn't tell Don (my husband, not my neighbor) where I got it, because he claims that the foraged "chives" give him a stomach ache.

This is due to his deep-rooted suspicion of anything not found in a supermarket. My husband is the guy who, when we were vacationing at Small Point, Maine, really really really did not want to eat the mussels I picked off the rocks for dinner because they hadn't been refrigerated first. Like in an 18-wheeler on its way to the supermarket.

So shhhhhhhhh. Don't tell him. Here are my final ingredients, lined up:

Once they're peeled and seeded, all cukes look pretty much the same. A full blender

reduces to very little liquid!

By far the best component of this recipe is the wasabi avocado cream. Oh my god, people! I could eat bowls of this every day of my life. The only thing I was worried about (and still am) is that I never was quite confident that the wasabi paste got thoroughly incorporated into the avocado and yogurt. It's possible that sometime soon I will bite into a little wasabi ball surprise. I suppose a food processor would eliminate that worry but then you'd be dirtying two appliances and unless you're making buckets of this, what's the point?

Anyway, here's the soup and avocado cream, ensemble:

By the way, if you're going to try this, please follow the directions and use kosher salt, not iodized table salt! If you use the latter, it will be too salty. Or I suppose you could use LESS table salt, but kosher salt is really so much better, honest to god.

Oh, what did my husband think? He took some to work today. If he has a stomach ache I am so busted, but I predict he'll think it was heavenly.


Melissa Triumphs Over Technology!

Little have you readers known that I have been laboring under a handicap with my snazzy Sony Cyber-Shot camera, which is that when I got it I immediately started fooling around with the settings and as a result, for the last half year, every setting except two (Low Light with and without Flash) have given me these weird stop-time movies. I'd press the button and it would give a little chirp and say "Recording". Who wants to record Deviled Crab? It stays on the plate!

Grrr!!! So vexing. And I COULD NOT figure out what I had done wrong, because all those little symbols in the window are completely meaningless to me and I couldn't find the manual.

So I've been having serious photo envy at these other food blogs, and when I complimented Ryan at Nose to Tail at Home on his photos (along with a few whines about my own camera), he suggested I find the manual online. He even offered to do it for me! Ah, chivalry.

Well, if I can pump my own gas I can find my own PDF manual, so I wandered around and found not exactly what I was looking for but enough to get me to understand that I had activated something called "multiburst".

And I turned it off. So now I can take photos on every setting, and even though I still think I'm a lousy photographer at least I can take lousy photos in dark rooms and outside in the sun. Yay me!!

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