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NOTE TO READERS:  THE BLOG AND I ARE NOW ON VACATION UNTIL YOU HEAR FROM US AGAIN. Enjoy your summer. Eat all the tomatoes you can.  Drink all the ice-cold margaritas someone else will make you.  Garden as possible, hike, or walk in the park.  Get to water while the sun shines and simply look at it if you’re not climbing into a kayak.

Party leftovers engender their very own meals and why not?  This morning there were 10 leftover egg whites (from lots of ice cream making), a tray a veggies, pulled pork, tortillas, and salsa.  A few minutes later there were breakfast tacos. I did find a little bacon to start that whole thing off.  I now love pulled pork breakfast tacos.IMG_3664

Dave’s retirement party, which came just a day before his 63rd birthday, came off without a hitch.  Brother Bill made 35 pounds of smoked pork. Aunt Carolyn was the party-photographer!  Friends and other family brought their loved selves along with too many bottles of Scotch to count along with a myriad of cards and good wishes. Marigold Cafe and Bakery baked two gorgeous cakes. I made salads. (I swear that’s all I did.) The grocery store provided vegetables, fruit, and cheese trays.  A little keg showed up.  Bottles of beautiful wine.  IMG_3665 We had lots of family….13524423_10209901701887986_5168471170309546394_n lots of friends…IMG_3694 Along the way we had brunch with the grandkids——IMG_3695 and a few other much-loved people.IMG_3703In the end there was still a bite left to eat, so we shared it at Jeanne and Tony’s house for the 4th along with the brats and burgers. No complaints there and full tummies all around.

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When I came home to a last forlorn veggie tray in the beer fridge, and both a good friend and our youngest were a little under the weather at the same time, I knew it was time to make a pot of soup despite the July date on the calendar.  I used all the vegetables from the tray except the cucumbers, which I snacked on as I cooked.  A few potatoes came along for the ride as thickener and a big onion took a dive into the pot for flavor.  A splash of cream and a few grates of cheese rounded the whole shebang out.  Try this:

CREAM OF VEGGIE TRAY SOUP WITH CHEESE

serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup each:  baby carrots and celery sticks
  • 1/2 cup each cherry tomatoes and sliced red and yellow peppers
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Handful fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large peeled and chopped potatoes
  • 1 cup each chopped broccoli and cauliflower or a little more
  • Hot sauce, a drop or two, optional (just give the soup a bit more flavor–not enough for heat)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, optional–plus a little for garnish

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart soup pot; add onion – fresh ground pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are about half-way tender–about 15 minutes.  Pour in water and chicken broth, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Reduce heat to simmer and, stirring occasionally, cook until all vegetables are very tender indeed. Shake in a drop or two of hot sauce, if desired.

2.Purée using an immersion blender or carefully, in batches, in a blender or food processor.  Return to heat if using regular blender/food processor and reheat until quite hot. Stir in cream and cheese and whisk until cheese is melted. Do not boil. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve hot garnished with cheese, if using. You might need a little more salt if you’re not adding the cheese.  

(If warming later or next day, heat over low flame, stirring, being careful not to boil the soup or the dairy products will separate.)

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PRINTABLE RECIPE: Recipes-Soups-CREAM OF VEGGIE TRAY SOUP WITH CHEESE

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See you when we’re back from here, Alyce