After three years of Colorado living, I’ve made peace with the difference between spring here and in Alabama. While my Facebook feed rolls along with photos of family and friends gallivanting on the beach or showing off the first subtropical blooms in their gardens, I’m still wearing layers to bed and hugging my dog for warmth. (She’s the most cost-effective version of an electric blanket I’ve known.)
We settled in to blowing snow on Saturday afternoon, the kind that makes a snow globe of our backyard and has me reaching for another cup of hot tea. Yesterday, though, the day turned warmer and sunny, the sky was so crisp and blue I wanted to dive into it and doggy-paddle my way to one of the clouds holding steady over the mountains.
Front Range spring is wool hats and thick socks, new running shoes and the Highline Canal, charcoal grills, and warm soup, a study in contrasts. Living in a place where you weren’t born is investigating the nuances of that place and allowing its foreign geography–physical and cultural–to wend its way into your soul. Whitman never said it’d be easy to contain multitudes, but that nuance is a gift you can appreciate if you open yourself to receive it.
No matter where you live on this side of the equator, today’s soup recipe will fortify you for the longer days ahead. Soups from the pages of the Longevity Kitchen emphasize fresh vegetables, nutrient-rich broths, and seasonal eating. Ms. Katz’s spring-themed recipe, Julie’s ‘Spring is Busting Out All Over’ soup, combines the vivid greens of spring vegetables (asparagus and green peas) and herbs (dill, chives, and mint) to bring together a soup packed with the promise of warmer days.
Julie’s ‘Spring Is Busting Out All Over’ Soup
(adapted from a Longevity Kitchen recipe)
Makes 6 servings
– 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
– Sea salt
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 1 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
– 1 TBS finely diced shallot
– 2 tsp minced garlic
– ¼ tsp dried thyme
– 2 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, then cut into ½-inch pieces
– ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
– 6 cups vegetable broth
– ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
– 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
– Organic plain yogurt, for garnish
– 1 TBS chopped fresh mint, for garnish
– Chive Oil (see Note, below), for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper, and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the leek and shallot and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme. Add the asparagus, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the peas. Pour in 1 cup of broth to deglaze the skillet, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the asparagus is just tender. Remove from the heat.
4. Pour 1½ cups of the broth in a blender. Add 1/3 of the vegetable mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat and repeat the process two more times, using 3 cups of the remaining broth.
5. Stir in the dill, lemon juice, ¼ tsp sea salt, and the remaining ½ cup broth. Cook until just heated through.
6. Taste; you may want to add a squeeze of lemon juice and a couple of pinches of salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of the mint, and a drizzle of Chive Oil. To save time, I chopped fresh chives, mint, and dill and combined for an herb topping.