8: The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook — Summery Zucchini-Lemon Soup
It’s hard to get motivated to cook when it’s a million degrees outside, but here we are, folks. Let’s slot this one in the W column for the week (not so fast, Chicago Bears) and dig into the goods…
I’ve had this book for a shamefully long time, folks. Truly shameful. Roughly a decade. I’m guessing I picked it up around the time I discovered KCRW’s lovely program Good Food, hosted by the brilliant and engaging Evan Kleiman. Amelia Saltsman is a prolific cookbook author (who rocks the hell out of some silver hair) and frequent guest of the program. I’m going to guess that I heard the book mentioned on the program as part of the Market Report with Laura Avery. For the uninitiated, it’s a delightful segment in which Avery interviews vendors, chefs, and generally gets the scoop on what’s in season and, if we’re lucky, how to enjoy some specific item. (It’s very food-nerdy stuff and I freaking relish the hell out of it.)
This book is a lovely resource for anyone who walks through a farmers’ market and gets seized by overwhelm. LOOK AT ALL THE PRODUCE. WHAT SHOULD I GET. WHAT DO I EVEN DO WITH THAT. I vacillate wildly between that farmers’ market feeling and the other end of the spectrum: SPEND ALL THE CASH I HAVE AND FIGURE OUT THE REST WHEN I GET HOME. Honestly, the book is good for the aftermath of that one as well. And since this is a farmers’ market cookbook, it seemed only right to source my produce the right way. (And to pick up some pretty flowers too. Because flowers.) This is the Studio City Farmers’ Market, because I just needed zucchini and an onion, and I was not driving to goddamn SaMo to get ’em.
The Recipe (directly from the book, which you should buy):
Things to Note About the Recipe:
I’ve been putting this recipe off since the weekend that I made nothing. I just wasn’t in the mood. I know “summery” is in the title, but it’s still soup. And though it’s cooled down a tad in recent weeks, it was still not really soup weather… but this weekend would be OK, right?… Right?
Wrong. Heat wave. Very much not soup weather. “But Dana, you can serve this soup chilled!” Yah, but I’m probably gonna want some right away, and it’ll still be hot then, so *shrug emoji*.
Only thing to do is wait ’til sundown then cook.
(“Why are you being so dramatic about this?” Have you met me?”)
This is a super simple recipe, folks. Under an hour, very healthy. If you’re burned out on smoothies by this time of year and need some other way to trick yourself into eating veggies, this is a solid option. I very much like the idea of taking a veggie puree soup and kicking it up with fun spices and fresh lemon for a non-boring spin on a green soup.
PLUS, it utilizes one of the MVP tools of my kitchen: the immersion blender. I love this thing. I don’t even have a regular blender, just one of these. If you don’t have a lot of countertop space but do have blending needs, I highly recommend getting one.
Hot tip (literally): Don’t be afraid to throw an ice cube in your too-hot soup.
How did it taste?
This soup tastes so healthy, y’all. It’s OK. It’s not my fave, but I’m not mad that I have a whole potful to eat over the next week. This is mostly a soup of function, not fun. This is weekday soup. Eat-your-damn-vegetables, tastes-pretty-good soup. We’re-eating-this-way-so-that-you-can-eat-the-junk-food-that-you-like-on-the-weekend soup. That said, I like the spices, am iffy on the lemon, wish the soup had something to make it feel more substantial, and keep adding more salt to taste.
Would I make this again?
Like, maybe? It really depends on how I like it served cold, which is how I imagine I’ll be drinking it the rest of the week. (I mostly selected this recipe because it was one of the few I could find that I could make and eat during the final week of this healthy-living competition that I’m doing.)
UPDATE: I like it better cold and after the flavors have had a day to meld!
Do I recommend this cookbook?
In spite of my lukewarm (why do I keep talking about temperatures?) response to the soup, yes. I love the concept of the book, and the other recipes look bomb. I need to get reacquainted with this cookbook as I try to cook more veggies in interesting ways.
What’s the next recipe I want to make from this book?
One of the recipes I ACTUALLY wanted to make, like the Strawberry Shortcakes, or the Seared Nectarines and Burnt Honey, or the Grilled Fig and Market Ham Salad. (Eating healthy can be such a fucking bummer.)
Another one done! Good for me! What am I gonna do now? I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!