Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

keeping it real

Today, I'm proud to offer you Cauliflower Soup. 

Each day gives us something, I said when I started this blog, wanting to write about it all.  I think I've uninhibitedly done so and once this recipe is proofed, I'll be posting my two-hundredth entry.  


A decadent dessert would seem more celebratory but today gave us cauliflower not cake, and I once again chose to make soup.  Really good soup.

Hope you'll try my recipe. 

Hope you'll like it. 

Most of all though, I hope you've enjoyed FROM3906 and that you'll come back for more.

Cauliflower Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium size head of cauliflower, trimmed,
and florets cut in half if large 
white pepper
10 very small white potatoes, (the size of new potatoes) peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 pinches of dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegetable stock *
1 large or 2 small ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
leaves from several sprigs of fresh thyme

In a large soup pot over medium heat,
cook the onion in the butter and oil.
As it begins to lightly brown, add the cauliflower florets,
and season with salt and pepper. 
Cook several minutes until the cauliflower starts to soften. 

Add the potatoes, garlic and pepper flakes, and bay leaf, stirring to heat for just a minute.  Add stock and enough water to almost fill the pot.  Boil softly, adding water as needed, until the amount has reduced and the vegetables are tender.

Transfer 2 cups of the soup (mostly vegetables)
to a bowl and set aside.
Puree small amounts at a time in a blender, transferring each batch 
into a new pot or puree with an immersion blender in the same pot.

  Add the corn kernels, red bell pepper, the cups of soup set aside,
thyme, and additional salt and pepper.  
Simmer until the corn is cooked.

* vegetable stock posted
   "in four acts"  12.1.11

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

friends and strangers

There's instant gratification for those who enter the Dallas Museum of Art from Harwood Street; the Jackson Pollock painting Cathedral, 1947, hangs on the left wall.

I've a fascination with Pollock's work; how the method in the madness produced such intricately balanced paintings.  In Cathedral, lace meets lunacy in my mind's eye.

My friends and I talk about such things when we get together, our enthusiasm making up for our limited knowledge.  Such fun it is though and how often these interesting conversations seem to take on a life of their own and continue in time, in wonderfully unexpected ways. 

At Ann's on one of our wine sipping evenings together, I brought a magazine article which featured a painting by Edouard Vuillard titled The Little Restaurant.  I had been instantly and intensely drawn to the painting the night I saw it, my socked feet resting on the coffee table, Jeannie Bryson singing softly in the background. 

My attraction was puzzling for aside from Madonnas, angels, and one sketchy Picasso drawing, there are no people in the art on the walls of our house.  I'd see them as strangers and though senseless, I can't bring myself to welcome them into our home.  (I may one day make an exception for Renoir's Dance at Bougival because my mother loved it and when I look at it, I think of her.)

Passing the magazine to them, Cindy thrilled when she recognized the artist's name and she then told us of an excursion she took many years ago with her cousin Monta who is a very talented artist.  It was a clubby bus tour of private homes in San Antonio and though some details have faded, Cindy recalled the striking presence of a huge painting by Edouard Vuillard in one young woman's home. 

That was interesting enough and the coincidence might have ended there but as seems to happen with our trio, it didn't. 

A few weeks later, I was in the Dallas Museum of Art gift shop, passing time before an event by stocking up on correspondence cards.  They've a great collection of cards, some featuring the museum's own collection and some of world famous art.  I mail the cards to friends for all occasions but I also like to prop a few favorites around the house. 

That night I spotted in the rack, a card from the museum's permanent collection; The Little Restaurant by Edouard Vuillard!

I couldn't rush to locate the painting that night but I bought three cards, one for each of us.  Mine rests on a kitchen counter ledge, a muted peek into a lovely cafe, diners' faces (thankfully) blurred but a clear reminder of how connected I feel to these dear friends.

Edouard Vuillard, The Little Restaurant, 1894
Dallas Museum of Art, oil on board
The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985

Monday, September 3, 2012

the postman

The hearse moved slowly down the narrow street where small brick houses lined each side, large shade trees hovering over their roofs.  My grandparents had lived in a house looking very much like these and not so many streets away.  

A stately magnolia consumed their front yard and in the back, a rose garden neatly sectioned, bloomed in full sun, for my grandfather, the man in the coffin, tested hybrids for a rose company.

Placed near the front walkway was a statue, a red-vested, lawn jockey.  Though still common in the south at the time, even as a child I found the fixture offensive and escaped it by entering the house through the back porch which smelled a bit musty but also of fresh peaches. 

This house is where my grandfather remained until age required he move, by then widowed and well into his nineties.

I enjoyed that plush ride to the cemetery.  In the deadly quiet, I had time to observe unfamiliar streets in the city of my childhood.

I spotted a postman.  At home, it seems we've a different mail carrier each day and those afternoons we'd offer shelter from a sudden summer downpour or leave a note to ring the doorbell for hot coffee on frigid mornings, are a thing of the past.  Is it here also, I wondered. 

He saw us too and I watched, a few seconds in slow motion as he turned, positioning himself on the slightly rounded hill of green grass to face the funeral procession.  He then removed his hat. 

I then cried.

That was a July day but I think of the postman each Labor Day, the federal holiday which sometimes falls on but always near, my grandfather's birthday. 

If the postman is still working, I sincerely wish him a very happy day off.