A Valentine composed just for you, dear reader:
Roses are red
Soup can be, too
I love soup
But soup loves YOU
(Awww, come on, Soup! Why don't you love me back? (I'm getting loopy. Take away my keyboard (Oh, the classy, sophisticated stuff that happens on this blog, friendos.)))
Right, sorry about that. Justine and Josh joined me to sup on some cheese and bread (of course), shredded carrot salad, and roasted beet and asparagus soup. For dessert? Spongebob Squarepants Conversation Hearts, complete with Spongebob's libertine grin in relief on one side--basically the only conversation they started was what a creepdawg Spongebob apparently is.
There was a bit of non conversation-heart-driven entertainment in the eventing as well, with a joy-infested viewing of the screen gem Last Holiday (shuddup it is SO a gem).
A lovely way to spend Valentine's Day, IMHO: low-key, relaxed, at home, with a heart-shaped mound of cheese floating on your soup.
The inspiration for this soup came from my favorite lunch menu item in Cincinnati: The roasted beet and asparagus salad at Fountain Square eatery Via Vite. I crave it on the reg, so, I thought, why not try to soupify it? I must say, I think I did a darn good job. I didn't have it with the salad right next to it, of course, so I can't say which is better, but the flavor was similarly cravemongering.
Not only did it look just like Valentine's Day should, but it tasted exactly how I wanted it to (and that's what I call true love).
It even made my hands look like Valentine's Day! Or am I thinking of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre?
Love is a battlefield, y'all.
I think the below is a pretty good approximation of what I did to prepare this soup. I totally endorse it--if, and only if, you like beets, you should try it. I'll also use this time to endorse the practice of experimentation in the kitchen. I don't do it often enough, and it's always a gratifying experience (even when the experiments turn out to be inedible). All it takes is a little faith in yourself. Get in there, champ!
Roasted Beet and Asparagus Soup with Creamy Goat Cheese
adapted from my brain
5 medium beets
1 pound asparagus
a handful of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups water
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 small bay leaves
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
creamy goat cheese
thinly sliced crusty bread
Preheat oven to 375F and wrap beets tightly in foil. Roast beets for about an hour, then test with a fork to see that they're tender. Throw them back in if they're not quite done.
While beets roast, prepare your asparagus by cutting off the woody ends, then tossing with some olive oil and generous sprinklings of sea salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.
When beets are tender, pull them out and let them cool a bit, then peel. Reserve half of one beet, and chop the rest roughly.
Heat oil over medium in your soup pot. Throw in the onion and celery and cook for about ten minutes. Stir in ginger, allspice and pepper. Add water, beets, 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast asparagus at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes, checking for doneness. Throw your thinly sliced bread in the oven for a few minutes too, to toast.
Chop reserved half beet into a small dice and save for garnish. Cut a few spears of asparagus to about three inches from the tip, and reserve to use as garnish, chop the rest into one inch sections.
Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaves from soup. Puree with an immersion blender, then stir in yogurt. Stir in chopped asparagus and taste for seasoning.
To serve, ladle into bowls, then place a piece of toast on each bowl, topped with reserved asparagus spear and goat cheese (in a heart-shape if you want). Sprinkle some of the diced beets around the toast, then drizzle some olive oil. Throw on some coarsely cracked black pepper and fresh thyme leaves, too, if desired.