The first weeks of September have been hot, like August. Stella’s customers aren’t sure whether to order hot coffee or iced coffee. Everyone knows this weather cannot last, and are reluctant to let the summer go, but the calendar says fall is just around the corner, and beyond that, winter. The school kids are eager to wear their new school clothes but fuzzy sweaters, crisp blue jeans, and the latest boot styles will have to wait a bit longer in the closets around town. Stella’s daughters, Zoe and Kendra are still wearing their summer dresses, shorts and skirts to school, along with their friends and classmates.
Stella knows from experience that even though the weather says ‘salads and cold sandwiches’, the human subconscious, especially in Canada, begins to turn naturally to comfort food as soon as the routines of fall resume. Although the thermometer outside will climb to 30 degrees this afternoon, many of her customers, particularly the elderly couple who come for lunch most Fridays, will be after soup with a side of warm bread.
So, this morning, Stella is making a pot of her famous Carrot Ginger Soup. Today’s special will be the soup with a generous slice of Zucchini Cheddar bread. When it is time for her break, however, she’ll be having a crunchy, cooling salad.
Carrot Ginger Soup – adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook
Bring to a boil:
- 2 lbs total of a mixture of mostly carrots with either sweet potato or butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups stock (or hot water with vegetable broth cubes added)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1-2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes. Let cool a bit.
Saute in 3-4 Tbps. butter (or coconut oil) with a little salt, until onions are clear and tender:
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped cashews or almonds
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger root – added just before the onions are finished cooking
Puree everything together in a blender until smooth, in batches if necessary. Return the puree to the pot and whisk in one of the following:
- 1/4 cup of either: coconut milk, yogurt and a tsp honey, or milk
Reheat soup gently, stirring often
Zucchini Cheddar Bread – from Joy of Cooking
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:
- 3 cups all purpose flour (or half and half whole wheat like we have done here)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Add and toss to separate and coat with flour:
- 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup minced green onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill, or 2 tablespoons dried
Whisk together in another bowl:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) warm melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
Add to the flour mixture and mix with a few light strokes just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.