As I look at my post calendar, I’m seeing a theme.
In November, there was roasted garlic soup and spicy white bean stew. Today there’s going to be this broccoli–cheese soup. And in the not-so-distant future, there’s going to be French lentil soup and Tuscan bean soup and onion soup.
We’re big on soup here. I hope that’s okay.
Other things I’m big on, at least this week:
- Jonathan Coulton’s song “Ikea.” It’s everything you ever wanted in a song about everyone’s favourite elegantly furnished maze.
- A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton Porter. Sure, it was published in 1909, but its themes of familial loyalty, independence, and staying true to oneself are as pertinent as they ever were. If you haven’t read it since you were a kid, try giving it another shot — I was amazed by the new nuances I caught this time around.
- Bath & Body Works’ Purple Amethyst lotion. Here’s how the pros describe the scent: “A hypnotic blend of Italian bergamot, rare camellias & exotic sandalwood.” Here’s my analysis: “Strong on the unicorn tears, with top notes of summer moonlight and the Jazz Age and a faint afternote of Nicholas Sparks.” Bottom line: It smells good.
- “Winterspell“, by Two Steps from Hell. Would you find tasks easier to accomplish in this dark, cold month if they were accompanied by a sweeping dramatic score? Look no further: Two Steps from Hell has your back. (Other favourites: “Spirit of Moravia“, “Cassandra“, and “Men of Honor Part II“.)
- The 2013 version of The Great Gatsby. This is preemptive praise — I haven’t actually seen it yet; it’s just been sitting in my “borrowed items” stack for longer than I care to admit. But given the reviews, I fully expect to enjoy it when I sit down to it tonight with my bowl of soup.
(adapted from Peas and Crayons’ recipe)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced finely
- 2 c. broccoli flowerets, diced finely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. dried basil
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 c. vegetable broth
- 4 c. water
- 3 T. butter
- 3 T. flour
- 1-1/2 c. milk
- 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
- Warm oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion. Cook 2 minutes.
- Add carrot and broccoli. Cook 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, spices, and salt. Stir to combine and cook 2 minutes longer.
- Add bay leaf, broth, and water. Increase heat and cover pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- In separate saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour to form a thick paste. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Continue to heat and stir until mixture has thickened.
- Add cheese to saucepan and stir until melted and incorporated.
- Ladle some broth into cheese mixture and stir. Gradually add more hot broth, stirring between each addition, until saucepan is full and cheese sauce’s temperature is similar to stockpot’s temperature.
- Pour cheese sauce into stockpot and stir to combine. Serve with green salad and crusty bread. Garnish with grated cheese, crackers, or fresh parsley if desired.