Saturday, September 5, 2009

Roasted Summer Vegetable Soup

Portland woke up this morning to a VERY rainy Saturday. I was pretty excited, because I adore the rain, and it would mean that the only people at the farmers market would be die-hard foodies and farmers. The down side, of course, is that on rainy days the farmers make very little money, so I tried to do my part, threw on my hooded jacket, put on actual shoes, and headed to the market. And ended up having to make two trips back to the car.

The Rainbow Connection of produce!

If I have learned anything so far from this year of CSA eating, it is that one person does not need a whole share's worth of vegetables. On one hand, I've been attempting to eat a weekly box of vegetables meant for a family of four, and it's been a challenge. And I might be insane. On the other hand, I regularly cook for my friends, who are more than willing to help out with the weekly bounty, and it has given me the opportunity to stash away a lot of food for the winter. Rather like a squirrel, if squirrels ate yellow curries and roasted eggplant, tomato, potato, corn and chile soup. A freezer full of food is not a bad thing to have when facing the looming winter months. It isn't too difficult to remember last winter's long stretch of beets, winter squash, potatoes, and kale, and that at times all I wanted to do was run to a big box store and buy a mango. Or ten. In short, even if I feel absolutely ridiculous carting home a giant box of produce for me, myself, and I, I know I won't be freaking out in a couple months when I'm stuck inside and the city is shut down due to a half an inch of snow. Nope, I'll be eating this soup.

My tried and true summer use-up-the-veggies-from-last-week-so-theres-room-in-the-kitchen trick is a big ol pot of roasted vegetables. I just rough chop everything, throw it onto a grill or into a 400 degree oven, and wait until everything smells amazing. This hasn't happened this summer as much as usual, because I moved, don't have a grill, and haven't wanted to turn on the oven. What with the rain, I didn't feel too bad about warming up the kitchen and sipping on some Irish breakfast tea while the veggies roasted.

I used an eggplant, peeled and quarted, halved tomatoes (I put them cut-side down and the skins will pucker up and come off really easily), a big onion, two heads of garlic, a bunch of little yellow fingerling potatoes, two ears of corn, and some chiles. I also threw in some green beans for snacking on, because, heck, if the oven's on, I might as well throw in everything I can. I'd ususally eat everything just like that, warm or cold, but I want to freeze some for later, so I made some soup. This worked out really well because I was able to throw the scraps, peels, and my overflowing garden herbs into a pot and made stock while the veggies roasted. I felt like a superhero, using every little scrap of garlic skin, onion tops, and one sad squash that was a couple days past its prime. I kept the seasonings of this soup really simple, just salt and peper and the herbs in the broth, but you could jazz it up a couple ways. Curry powder would be great, or more italian herbs. Experiment! Roasted veggies are very forgiving.

My new kitchen, still stuck with an electric stove. Ah, renting.

When everything was done, I threw the veggies into another stock pot, added the hot broth, and pureed the hell out of it with my immersion blender. I topped off one bowl with some yogurt, and let the rest come to room temperature and froze it in leftover containers from the deli-counter. It had a perfect amount of spice because of the chiles, and was super creamy because of the potatoes. If you don't have an immersion blender, get one. If that's not going to happen, this would be just as delicious as a chunky soup, you'd just need to chop everything up a bit more first.

It's been a hell of a summer, one full of twenty-something adventures and catastrophes that I'll be talking about for the rest of my life. Long story short, blogging wasn't priority #1. It was great, but it also feels wonderful to have made it to September. School has started, and the rain is still pouring down, so it really feels like fall is around the corner. I'm ready, soup in hand.

Eat well!


  1. There's my girl! It takes a rain and abundance of veggies to come out with a new blog! Thank you for the time and effort it takes you to produce lemonbasil. love you always, your first admirer! Country Rhodes

  2. I love the farmer's market best in the (light) rain, too. We don't get much rain down here so I don't deal with it too often, but I feel like a real insider when I do. I LOVE roasted vegetables but haven't made any this summer. Looks good.

  3. What a great amount of produce to play with!

  4. Beautiful! I love the flavor roasting the veggies brings!

  5. Mmm, looks gorgeous. I love love love adding a nice dollop of greek yogurt to any veggie soup! Yum.

  6. Why didn't I ever think of this? Great idea...tomatillos, onions, garlic, peppers, chilies, and turnips from my garden are roasting as I type.