Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 6- Cream of Asparagus Soup

The alarm went off at 7 am this morning, and I awoke to the sound of Christmas jinggles. Half-asleep, I fiddled around looking for the snooze button. I was seriously having second thoughts about getting up. Screw the parade. But then I thought about the giant snoopy I would miss, and I dragged myself out of the nice warm bed.

Darien and I walked to 58th street and Broadway, to watch the Macy's Day Parade. It was 8 am and the parade was supposed to start at 9am. This is the conundrum of living in New York. Yes, there are so many cool things to see. But there is also a million plus people who also want to see them. Thus, whenever there is an event, you must line up a minimum of one hour before to ensure you get some sort of view. Last New Years we attempted (and failed miserably) to see the ball drop at 10pm, and we got as close as Columbus circle-30 blocks away- and saw absolutely nothing.

A couple of people from Canada were standing in front of us - I could tell by the Canadian paraphernalia- and I started talking to them. It turns out that they were from Fredericton, New Brunswick, where I lived for a few years as a teenager and where my parents still live now. It is always nice to meet people from back home.

We watched the marching bands, colorful floats, and big inflatable characters precariously handled by 20 people. At any moment, a strong gust of wind could slam the gigantic snoopy into a building. That same wind was causing me to shiver violently.

I am truly a pathetic Canadian. There I was dressed in winter boots, long coat, hat, gloves and scarf and I was cold. The temperature was around 40F or 6C, far from freezing. Then I started to get hungry. The dancing cupcakes were teasing me, and I thought to myself if I see dancing hot chocolate next, I'm done. We stayed until 10:30 am and that was as much as I could handle. At least I could check this off my New York to do list.

I grabbed a hot chocolate and some macaroons from Le Pain au Quotidien on our way home. We were both looking forward to having some soup to warm us up. Surprisingly, even though some days I have soup for lunch and supper, I am not sick of soup yet. I guess I could survive one of those liquid Hollywood Detox diets after all. Its always nice to discover new things about yourself!

Chef's disclaimer: I was missing onions so I replaced them with celery and onion, and I also did not weigh the asparagus, so I actually had a slightly more liquid soup then I would have liked. So know the weight of your ingredient and adjust the stock accordingly.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Source: Remembrance of Things of Paris
Sixty years of writing from Gourmet.

2 lb green asparagus, trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of crème fraîche or heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Cut tips from 12 asparagus 1 1/2 inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish. Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of broth and simmer covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. While soup simmers, cook reserved aspargus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain. Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth, with immersion blender. Stir in crème fraîche or heavy cream and add remaining stock until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and whisk in remaining butter. Add lemon juice and garnsih with asparagus tip.

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