Although we have had brief glimpses of warm spring days (picnics along the river!), winter is doing its best to keep a stranglehold on the city past his official season. With the exception of two amazing weeks, mid-March, the city feels like it is trapped under a wet blanket – cold, grey and persistently damp. Not exactly what the tourists had in mind when they booked their spring break in the City of Light.
There are a few hints that spring is on its way. Radishes, spring onions and lettuces have popped up in the panier and offer a crisp, fresh glimpse of things to come. Yet we are still receiving plenty of cellar goods (sigh, kiwi) – including more potatoes and carrots than you can shake a stick at (side note: can someone fill me on where that saying came from?). To be completely transparent, this was last week’s take – this week the vegetables are taking their spring break, hopefully somewhere warm and dry. In preparation for the return of the panier, hopefully filled to the brim with vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet peas, succulent cherries, artichokes and zucchini (let’s not get too carried away), I took advantage of the week off to empty the larder of all their leftover, cold weather cousins.
(when I said ‘extra brown’, I meant it – that apple caramelization is the key)
Much has already been said (re: shouted from the proverbial rooftops) about this applesauce. I will not bore you again except to, one last time, entreat you to make this – I know it is currently storming something vicious in California and this has to be the best cold weather salve invented. Make it now (I have a second batch in the oven as we speak). ‘Nuff said.
Beyond the overflowing apples, the mountains of potatoes, bunches of leeks and bags of carrots also need(ed) to go. The carrots will go to soup later this weekend, with curry and ginger, I’m thinking. I chose to tackle the potatoes and leeks first.
First up was this potato and leek soup. I did not grow up a big soup fan. Maybe being raised in such a temperate climate did not allow for that cold-weather appeal of a big bowl of soup to catch on, or, more likely, it was a texture thing. Yet, as most childhood pickiness issues, this has faded with age and, more importantly, I have made the happy discovery of how easy, fortifying and fun a big pot of soup or stew is to make (and eat) on a cold winter’s (or, spring, boo!) night. This one was shared with a good friend and complimented by those radishes and an excess of bread and cheese. Perfect.
The rest of the leeks (and remainders of various hard cheeses – I’m on a ‘use it or lose it’ kick) went into my standard quiche recipe; the aging cauliflower was revived by a stint in the oven. Crispy brown edges, flaky salt, pepper and a squiggle of Siracha and a quick Friday night dinner was ready to go…
Now to get back to those apples…