Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cooking up a spring tonic

Earlier this week, I made asparagus and sorrel soup. Both main ingredients came from my garden. I threw in a left-over leek, some dill, and some homemade chicken broth. It was quite tasty.

Ed and I are meeting Mary in Frankfort tomorrow night for dinner and I wanted to take her some soup, but didn't want to drive into Shelbyville for groceries. Instead, I headed out the front door and foraged for what I needed.

I started in my garden, snapping off a dozen or so asparagus spears before moving over to my raised bed and snipping off a handful of lemony sorrel. The sorrel comes back year after year and I have to work hard to figure out how to use it all. As soon as I cut it down, it comes back – and lasts deep into the fall. It's the first thing that comes up in my spring garden.

While in the garden, I realized that I needed to thin my pea shoots. Rather than throw them on the compost pile, I added them to my soup ingredient list.

From there, I headed down to the creek where I spied some ramps last week. Ramps are a perennial wild onion that usually grow along creek banks. I think these are the ones that Maggie transplanted a couple of years ago. There are only a dozen or so plants and I want to encourage them to spread, so I took only a few of the leaves, leaving behind the bulbs and roots with the hopes that they will send up new shoots and come back bigger and better next year.

I also picked some wild garlic to add to my soup.

Once my "shopping" was done, I headed in and sauteed an onion, diced up potato or two, added a carrot, a celery stalk and a bay leaf. Then added some vegetable broth, the diced up asparagus, the wild garlic and the ramp leaves. Once the vegetables were tender, I ditched the bay leaf and used my immersion blender to blurr-rr-rr it up. I turned off the heat and added the pea shoots and the sorrel and then blended it for a minute more. After tasting it, I decided it needed a bit of salt, some white pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

Voila! The perfect spring tonic – and made without a trip to Kroger.

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