When the air turns cold, I tense up. The “holidays” with images of family, of routines, of ideals that the “good will be rewarded” and images of cookies and cocoa and flying animals, my anxiety naturally awakens. Living in a world where most people value extroversion and the loudest often get the most attention, it is easy for a single gal living 3000 miles away from family and my intimate circle of friends, my heart aches for comfort, for a sense of belonging to something, for….
Remember that my wonderful mentor sent a remarkable Christmas package that contained a gift that surprised me: a cookbook. I have been out of favor with cookbooks for the past five years now, in the past two years relying solely on revised concoctions mused from online sources. Yet this one, stole my heart. Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. A Benedictine monk authored this beloved edition that relies heavily on French cuisine and a sense of soulishness. What I cherished about this cookbook was that many of the selections felt foreign to me, and featured seasonal fare plant based and flavorful. I promised to make a soup from each month following the recipe exactly as written with no substitutions or creativity.
I am soup crazy right now, pouring out FOUR in the course of a week. First up? My cookbook November Selection:
Zuppa alla Pavese
Bread Soup from Pavia
Fry up a slice of bread in 1 tsp of butter until golden
Boil some water, then reduce heat. Break egg into a cup…and then, gently drop it into the water. Using slotted spoon, keep the white together close to the yoke…and cook until egg sets (about 4 minutes)
HINT: It took me 4 tries to easy poach these suckers before getting the hint of putting a jelly jar ring in the water to “contain” the eggs
Boil 1 cup of broth (I used beef broth!)
Slide egg on top of bread in the bottom of a bowl, pour broth over it. Set for 2 minutes, sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.
This is a soup that doesn’t sit for a day. You eat it. You slurp it. You marry it. WITHOUT HESITATION.
OH. HEAVEN. Gone in 2 minutes almost. Like sweet french toast at the bottom of maple bacon, for some strange reason the earthy-ness of that egg in the salty brine of the beef broth, transformed the liquid into molecules of manna. I LOVED this easy-peasy dream concoction and was DEVASTATED that it was gone. The best appetizer I’ve whipped up in IONS.
Seriously? this might be my favorite BY FAR. It certainly lambasts the corn, parsley and asparagus soups of late.