Orange Soup, Red Apples And Many Vegetables On The Big RigThu 12 Dec 2013
Story by Cherylanne Farley
The holiday time of year always brings out favorite holiday movies and at the top of my list is “Elf”. Buddy the Elf travels to New York City looking for his father and meets his family for the first time. The dinner table meeting is memorable to say the least. Giant plates of spaghetti and with a perfect finishing touch of Maple Syrup! Yikes! How does this all fit in with healthy cooking? Catch a glimpse of Buddy’s smile and doesn’t he remind you of Jamie Olivers face? Sharing a twinkling eyes, a love for food, family and friends although we must admit Jamie got a little closer to reality than dear Buddy.
Continuing to admit the chilly change in seasons reminds me of our last warm cooking time on the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) Big Rig. We created two great soups to push back our cold, grey skies—the first a sunny colored butternut squash soup with just a hint of local sweet apples. Our mountain communities are known throughout California for the wide selection of apples they grow. Sweet Honeycrisp, juicy Fuji come to our town just hours off the tree. The fresh and crispy taste of late autumn and early winter apples add the perfect mild and natural taste of sweetness to our sunny soup.
The next was a hearty, filling Minestrone. Our guests preferred a strictly vegetarian version so we left out the bacon. However the guests enjoyed the technique of cracking the dried pasta allowing it to cook faster and provide plenty of flavor. Using our can of chopped, organic and unsalted tomatoes cooked down to a thick, savory broth guaranteed to warm tummies and bring satisfied smiles to our faces. One guest also cut the kale into narrow, short strips, which increased our soup consistency and thickness too. Topping our masterpiece was a snowfall of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Our guests were impressed that our room temperature parmesan cheese kept its shape. We told stories of how many Italian grandparents thought the best use of leftover parmesan cheese rinds was to drop them into a bubbling pot of Minestrone soup. We shared laughter and jokes as we tried to come up with a name for this “secret” addition. Would it be a “parma-rooni”? Or how about”Bean-mesan”?
As our family group of three girls and their Mom, put their coats on and headed out the door into the chilly, grey day the little girl turned and told us - “Nope. Not ready to go yet. I think this weather calls for more souptime!” And I couldn’t agree with her more.
About the author: Cherylanne Farley has been a fan of Jamie Oliver and his cooking philosophy since even before the “Food Revolution”. As a classroom teacher of troubled teens for over a decade she saw first hand the negative impact a school day—from breakfast to lunch—of poor quality school lunches could have on student learning. She was notorious for fighting for teen Moms to have additional school nutrition during the day to provide maximum nutrition to high-risk babies. She smiles when she remembers how the cafeteria staff applauded on her last day but is not certain if the applause was in support of her ideas or relief that this troublemaker was finally gone. Cherylanne has finished Culinary Arts training and is now a working Chef at restaurants and in homes.
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