Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Yesterday was a really great day. I woke up early feeling refreshed, and immediately went to work in the kitchen. Wednesdays are Abigail's ballet class, so supper is a crock-pot affair. For yesterday's offering, I determined that Vegetable Soup would be the best possibility. All these trips to the farm stand have my fridge and counter overflowing with goodness, so I needed to use some of these vegetables. I chose a recipe as a guideline for seasonings, but really just used what I had on hand. It literally was a chop-n-drop affair. I had that soup in the pot in about 15 minutes. It contained carrots, potatoes, celery, corn, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, green beans, bell pepper and diced tomatoes. It was rounded out with a little beef broth, but it certainly could have been made with a veggie broth. It was quite good. The directions stated to cook on high for 8 hours. That's a lot of high cooking, and so I had it on high for the first four and then turned it down to low. It was perfect, and actually made a lot, so now I have two more dinners of vegetable soup tucked into the freezer. The only change I would make, is that I think I could have upped the herbs a bit. It could have used some rosemary, and actually would be fantastic with some fresh herbs stirred in at the end.

To accompany this rather unadorned soup, I thought I would surprise Andy by making some homemade bread. I just made my standard whole wheat sandwich bread, but he was extremely pleased with the offering. And in fact, today for lunch he's having a ploughman's type lunch with a hunk of bread, hunk of cheese, and some fruit with the remainder of the bread.

A quick perusal of my fridge brought to life four red plums that needed to be eaten immediately or used for something. I remembered that in the recent issue of Everyday Food there was a section on plums, and immediately chose a Plum Upside Down Cake. This cake was excellent! First butter is melted in a pan and then sprinkled with brown sugar. The plums are layered on this, and then a cake batter is poured over the top. The juices from the plums meld with the melted butter and sugar to create a fantastic caramel sauce, and the cake itself is lightly spicey and moist. The only thing missing from it was a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, as I didn't have any on hand. This cake is definitely company worthy. The directions state that you can serve it warm or cool- but one thing is certain. The cake must be flipped out of the pan while it is still warm. I let the cake cool completely after flipping it out, and I really think that allowed the caramel to settle into the cake itself- further gilding the lily, so to speak. Yesterday's cake and soup recipes are in the Trove for anyone interested.

And the beauty of yesterday's meal? I was finished with it by 10:00 in the morning. :-) By that point, the cake was baking, and the bread was rising for the second time, awaiting it's shaping and final rise. It was one of those mornings where I just found my motivation and kept going. It was great. It allowed me to spend the rest of the day as I wished, without dinner hanging out there needing to be prepared or worried about. It was great. I need to come up with more meals that I can prepare in advance like that. Not today though. Today we are on our way out the door this morning. I have a little girl who needs to finish her school shopping, so we will be doing that today. It will be fun, she loves clothes shopping, and especially loves trying on clothes. And after yesterday's dance class joy, it will just add to the pleasure of having her around a few more days before school starts. So off we go.


Claire said...

The soup looks great! I LOVE soups and slow cooking is good for me because I am in medical school! I tried a chicken recipe earlier this week but wasn't that excited about it. If you have any recipes that turn out great, let me know! BTW, I think it's GREAT that Abigail is in ballet. I took ballet until I started Jr. High (I had to pick between that and band) and LOVED it! Oh, nice bread, too!

Erika said...

I think this soup is really versatile. I like the proportions of liquid to veggie- on the chunky side.

And every Wednesday something is going in the crock pot...

So far, Abigail loves ballet. This last class it was such a joy to watch her. She followed along as best as she could, but the big thing was that she was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. Priceless.