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soup's on!
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2 3

After six years of living in the hot desert southwest, I'm having my first proper autumn in a long, long time. As I sit in my new home office in my adorable new flat, bundled up in a cozy red sweater and typing with chilly fingertips, I can see the remaining yellow leaves of the now half-naked tree outside my window. Here in Edinburgh, my toes are always cold and my nose is perpetually stuffy, and when I wake up in the mornings now, it's still dark out. And though I complain about these things from time to time, I have to admit: secretly, I think, I sort of like it.

In Tucson, I was always having to impose seasons where they didn't really exist. This time of year, it'd still be shorts and t-shirt weather in my world. But on the magazine shelves at the supermarket, I'd spy winter clothes in all the fashion spreads, cuing me into the fact that in the rest of the country, at least, we'd moved on from summer. Back at home, I'd start rummaging through the closet for my tall boots and fall coats, pretending it was actually cold enough to need these things. And when it came time to start thinking about dinner, I'd tell myself it was too late in the year for grilled goodies and other summer foods, and hanker instead for hot soups and hearty stews, never mind that the temps were still hovering in the high 80s most days.

These days, I can finally stop faking it: autumn's definitely here, with winter fast on its heels. And in my kitchen, there's a big pot of soup all ready to warm me up, filling my apartment with the smell of good, hot, home cooking…

cream of broccoli
Though there's nothing novel about cream of broccoli, it's always been one of my favorite soups. This recipe cuts down on the usual horrifying amounts of cream required by using a little rice to thicken up the soup instead. If you're not worried about the extra calories, a heap of good, sharp cheddar cheese makes a very tasty garnish for the finished soup.

1 big head of broccoli, enough to yield about 4-5 cups florets and stalk
1 medium onion
1/2 cup white rice
6 cups stock, or a combination of stock and water
1/3 cup cream (you can also use milk, but the end result won't be quite as rich)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
plenty of salt and pepper to taste

time 30 minutes
serves 3-4 as a light dinner

1 Break up the broccoli into florets; peel off the fibrous outer skin with a paring knife. Slice off the dried-out end of the stalk and toss; peel the remainder of the stalk, then chop it up into chunks. Peel the onion, and chop it up as well.
2 Glug some olive oil into a pot and heat it up. Toss in the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or so, until it's soft and yummy-smelling.
3 Add the broccoli and give it a good stir, cooking for a minute or two. Add the stock/water along with the rice. Bring the mixture to a bubble, then lower the heat till the liquid's gently simmering. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the rice and broccoli are good and tender.
4 Remove the soup from the heat. Zizz up the soup, working in batches if you have to (don't fill up your blender too full, and make sure to hold on to the cover with a towel before you switch it on).
5 Return the pureed soup to the pot, bring to a low boil, and stir in the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

keep on skedaddling for more soup!


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