Cooking at the Farmers’ Market will many times turn up surprises. I often set out to prepare a particular dish and am thrown a curve when perhaps another option presents itself. Yesterday, I arrived at the market to find a milk crate full of potatoes, yellow squash, onions and corn. Faye apologized for the state of the vegetables: the corn might have a worm, the yellow squash grew too big overnight, the onions might have a soft spot, and the potatoes we awfully small and might be too green. She let me know that if I couldn’t use the veggies, she would feed them to her chickens.
So my plan to make a Turkish Lentil soup with tomatoes and spinach was cast aside for a Summer Vegetable Soup using the produce that had been gifted me. My tent mate and life mate, Tony, asked me if I brought the broth base that I use for soups, but no, I had not. We’d have to make the broth flavorful enough with the aromatics and herbs available. I had picked a handful of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, basil and chives prior to leaving my own homestead and set out to make a pot of soup.
The morning was overcast with a light breeze, but even if it had been a warm day, soup is almost always appreciated at the market. We bartered the promise of a large cup of soup for a cup of half and half from the Sunergos coffee supplier and some wonderful large garlic cloves from Fred Holden. With mise en place, Tony began stirring up our POS concoction.
Summer Vegetable Soup
2 Tbls olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/3 cup minced green pepper
2 1/2 cups diced new potatoes, unpeeled
3 large yellow squash, seeded and diced
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
4 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbls of fresh herbs of choice
1 cup half and half
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until softened, adding a bit of salt and pepper to draw out the moisture in the vegetables. Add the potato, stirring often until the potatoes begin to brown a bit. Add the garlic, stir for about a minute or two. Pour in the water and bring the soup to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are nearly tender. Add the squash and cayenne. The soup will be really thick. Cook a bit longer until the squash begins to soften, then add the corn. Cook for about 5 minutes longer at a low simmer. Stir in the tomato and fresh herbs and heat thoroughly. (I used a mixture of rosemary and thyme, but basil, dill or tarragon would be great too.)
Remove from heat and finish by adding the half and half. You can temper the half and half prior to adding if you like, but don’t bring the soup back to a boil after adding the dairy. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional herbs or salt and pepper.