As you plant you are reminded of your grandparents' gorgeous gardens, either planted behind the big two-story farmhouse they once owned that had the attic that was kept just for you to play in, or the littler plots tucked in beside the smaller mobile homes they lived in once they decided to downsize. Always, there were zucchini. So much zucchini. Gramma's zucchini bread was a marvel; zucchini was served steamed and buttered, and there was always some to take home. At home, you would walk out the back door to climb your favorite tree and settle in with a book, only to trip over the mountain of zucchini that the mean, scary old lady who lived next door that positively HATED children would leave piled up on the back steps because she had far too much for herself, and even though she hated the children that lived next door she figured the parents of said awful children were fond enough of them to feed them, so why not give them zucchini? (And tomatoes...and cucumbers...and apples from the tree...and persist in stating very loudly how much she hated children. And, yes, she was a very scary lady.)
So anyway, you are well aware that any more than, say, five squash plants is a recipe for disaster, or a surfeit of chocolate-spice zucchini bread (which isn't a terrible thing, really), so you plant accordingly. What you do not anticipate is that your little sister the chef will also plant squash and unload it on you, or that your mother's neighbor will plant squash and unload it on your mother, who will share it with you, or that your little sister the chef's boss will ply her employees with squash, resulting in you coming home from work one day to find a bag of golden-yellow summer squash in your mailbox on top of your Glamour, Self and SageWoman magazines; nor do you anticipate that your husband's various family members will all gift you with squash. Yeek.
Currently the zucchini population in my house is a zero; however the summer squash population appears to be rising daily. And so, for dinner tonight, along with Italian bread, New York Extra-Sharp Cheddar cheese, and sun-dried tomato and basil chicken sausage, I will be fiddling around with Anna Thomas' recipe for zucchini and basil soup from her excellent book Love Soup.
Zucchini and Basil Soup
Wash, trim, slice zucchini and put in a soup pot with 3 1/2 cup water or soup stock, salt and rice.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered for 1/2 hour
Heat the olive oil, chop the onions and add to oil with salt
Cook onions slowly stirring often until they caramelize - about 1/2 hour
When onions are tender add them to the soup pot
Grind black pepper into the soup
Add 3 cups of vegetable stock and fresh basil leaves and simmer another 2 minutes
Puree the soup with immersion blender
Add a little more liquid if it seems too thick
If you like it vegan serve as is
For a dairy meal a little goat cheese melted in is delicious and you can add a little lemon to taste
It is delicious hot or chilled.
From Anna Thomas, Love Soup
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