Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
More (Fragrant!) Bulbs...OR...Don't Just Feed a Cold; Suffocate It!
When my daughter was little, one of her first (and only) attempts at gardening was to plant a few cloves of garlic one fall. The following summer, we had a bumper garlic crop so impressive that it would have made any farmer (or vampire slayer) proud. When I asked my daughter what she planned to do with all that garlic, she shrugged. Turns out she doesn’t actually like garlic; she only wanted to see if it would grow. Enter this soup recipe, which requires an impressive 44 cloves. The roasting helps keep it from tasting like Death by Garlic. Really. Still, I’m sure it’s plenty pungent.
Can’t say for sure, though…. A long time ago I discovered that it has marvelous expectorant properties, so I’ve begun making it when I have a cold in order to ward off the evils of congestion. I’m convinced it dispatches those strength-sapping viruses tout de suite. A side benefit is that you can’t smell the garlic at all when you’re that stuffed up. My biggest concern was that the little Girl Scouts might pick this weekend to deliver our cookies and faint at our doorstep. (They didn’t.)
By the way, though it’s many years later, my daughter’s garlic patch continues to produce each year…mainly because we just never pick it all.
Note to Girl Scouts: The air has cleared here! We’re ready for you!!!
Roasted Garlic Soup
26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 T olive oil
2 T (1/4 stick) butter
2 ¼ c. sliced onions
1 ½ t. chopped fresh thyme
18 garlic cloves, peeled
3 ½ c. chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
½ c. whipping cream
½ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 T. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over med-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 18 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Puree soup until smooth in blender (in batches), or use a hand-held blender. Add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated at this point.
Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve. Serves 4.
"Good soup draws the chair to it." Ghanaian Proverb