Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer squash soup with fresh herbs

Sometimes, at the end, or near-end, of a long week, all you can do is make a simple soup.

First of all, the husband and I have basically been sick for a week. Then, as you know, I've been selected for jury duty. You'd think in a city of more than 800,000 people, the odds of me being selected three times in about six years would be slim to none. A fellow juror remarked after I told her this, "Well, you have a good face for it." I'm not sure if my face reads "wise" or "chump" but here I am, serving on a criminal trial.

It's been more interesting than the previous civil trials I've served on. This one has spurred some emotions. There are four charges, two of which are throwaways, and two of which are important. In deliberations, which began yesterday, I've gone from feeling proud of the great weight with which we all seem to carry our duty-- to frustration with some jurors who seem practically goofy--to impressed with the rigorous minds of some of my peers--to shocked at how people can see evidence so differently. It's been eye-opening.

We've been serving some half days and some full days. As luck would have it, my office isn't far from the courthouse, so it hasn't been too much of a hassle to check in in the morning and sometimes at lunch. But, it's still made for a lot of running around.

Last night when I got home, the husband was already there, stretched out on the couch, watching baseball. I sank into the couch next to him and let the day roll off me. We were at the start of a long weekend, which is a good thing, but both of us felt exhausted.

"Soup tonight," I said to the husband, and he nodded.

My basic recipe is from Mark Bittman, though I doubt he came up with it either. Saute onions or shallots in butter and oil, add whatever vegetable you have, along with some potato to thicken it, cook for a bit, add stock and seasoning, simmer. Puree. Add cream or not.

What I had vegetable-wise was a ton of gorgeous little yellow summer squash. I softened a diced purple onion, added the squash and banana fingerling potatoes, some garlic, and let it go. After blending it with my handy-dandy immersion blender, I added the final touches--a bit of cream, and grated nutmeg. Hunting through the fridge, I unearthed some chives and basil, which I snipped and chiffonaded respectively.

Served in shallow white bowls, the soup was a mild, buttery yellow, brightened by the fresh herbs. Slabs of levain on the side for dipping, glasses of wine. A soft finish to a bit of a rough week.


  1. The soup sounds delightful. I love Mr. Bittman. Love him!

    Jury duty sounds not so delightful.

  2. I love pureed soup, so simple and you can get creative with what you have. Yours look great! BTW, I always get called to report for jury duty but I NEVER get selected, always dismissed. My face must say "convict." ;-)

  3. This entire post made me want to make this soup, but it's really the last paragraph that did it. That and the amazing squash at the market this weekend. Tonight, I made a summer squash soup varietal and the lovely cake you recommended from Gourmet. All in all, a great meal. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Cee: Bittman's book is my go-to for basics...he is always sensible and reliable!

    Single Guy Ben: Thank you for the compliment and for checking out my site--I've been enjoying yours as well. I need to work on my "convict" face.

    Ash: Glad the cake turned out well, and your soup! Hey, we need to get together and eat. :)

  5. terrific soup! i’m getting to the point where i put squash in every dish i can think of, but i haven’t done a soup. this version sounds great—the nutmeg (and cream…) would make all the difference!

  6. Grace: You should try it! Yes, cream makes everything better.

  7. Your photo is beautiful. I could almost taste the soup! Also a nice story line. I too keep getting called to jury duty. I'm actually considering law school, it might be a refreshing change to be on the other side of the bar!