Project For A Stormy Day - פרויקט ליום סוער
The weather outside is miserable. We have been experiencing near hurricane winds and rain. The forecast is for an El Niño system to hit the Mediterranean this winter. Unheard of, but we live in an age of rapid and extreme climate change. There have been floods and general mayhem in Tel Aviv. We thought we had survived the last onslaught of horizontal rain and hail with little damage but a day later small drops of water began to form on the ceiling of the bathroom and the plaster on one of the exterior walls began to bubble, producing what looks like, tiny mushrooms. We have a feral tree growing out one of the downpipes, blocking the drain. No point scraping the walls. It will be like this for a couple of months and then פתאום (suddenly) it will stop and the heat will return with a vengeance.
In the meantime, the wadis in the Negev are filled with raging waters. There have been at least 3 tragic deaths from drowning. All school trips are cancelled. We are warned that it is not safe to drive in lowlands and to take caution on the roads. Glad the warning was issued. Doubt that Israelis will slow down or stop tailgating. It is an exercise in anxiety control travelling on the roads here.
So what to do on such a dowdy day? Yes, cook. Make something hot and comforting like chocolate chip cookies, which is the default bad weather activity in the U.S. But I am not a cookie maker (maybe because I don't eat them), so I turn to soup.
A quick look in the vegetable bin produces a plethora of "well past their prime" items. Leftover coriander, dill, scallions, funny looking potatoes- 3 varieties - and a couple of old fennel bulbs unsuitable for salad. Without giving it much thought I take everything but the potatoes and fennel, wash off all the really bad bits and stick them in a pot. I add a little salt, an even littler amount of sugar, 4 whole cloves, red peppercorns and fresh time. Cover the lot in cold filtered water and let it cook on low.
So now I had a stock. But the stock is green and smells like fresh herbs. I think I'll make a potato herb soup. But that is so monotonous - potato, potato, potato. If I want that experience I am better off making a mash. Ken likes potato leek soup and so do I, and I do have a couple of leeks so I go to the sink and wash them and then I change my mind. I don't want potato leek soup. Too stodgy and heavy. Too much like the day.
I look at the leeks and then I remember the fennel. The bright green of the leek, the light green of the fennel and the dark green of the stock tell me that on such a dreary day, go for fresh.
As with all the recipes it will be also be published later under a Creative Commons License. The attribution is important to me. If you enjoy the soup, let me know and don't forget the shout-out.
Green Soup, Green Pot - recipe below
BT's Leek and Fennel and Potato Soup (Hebrew version coming soon)
1 bunch dill
1 bunch fresh cilantro
6 large scallions
4 whole cloves
tablespoon whole red peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Cold filtered water
Put all ingredients in a small pot. Cover with filtered water - enough to completely submerge the ingredients. Turn on high. When water begins to boil, reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a sieve, strain liquid into bowl to cool. Discard vegetables.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large leek - green and white parts
2 small fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons Arak (Ouzo or Raki will also work)
1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
6 medium potatoes
Cold filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Use heavy gauge pot.
Rough chop leeks.
Rough chop fennel including the feathery herbs at the end
When oil comes ups to heat add leeks to pot. Sauté until they become translucent
Add fennel. Continue sautéing vegetables. Add salt and 3 or 4 grinds of pepper
Add Arak and reduce heat. Let alcohol burn off
Add vegetables stock and enough water to equal 6 cups in total
Wash and peel potatoes. Dice and put in pot. Raise heat to medium
Cook soup for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender
Remove soup from heat. Blend will wand blender being careful not to overprocess or potatoes will become gummy. Strain soup into bowl using fine sieve. Return soup to original pot. Add lemon juice.
Salt and pepper to taste.
2 medium tomatillos
1/2 red onion
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
Dice tomatillos into small cubes
Dice red onion into cubes the same size as the tomatillo
Add pinch of salt, pinch of sugar and lime juice
Finely chop cilantro and add to the mix. Refrigerate.
Serve soup warm or hot. Garnish with the salsa. (can use croutons, labane, cucumbers)