I'm all set to be an old person with no teeth. Actually I think my love of soup began in first grade when I had very few teeth. It all started with Rita, the girl in my class who was a little naughty. The teacher would not allow Rita to go to the bathroom by herself, another student needed go with her. On this particular day it was my turn to chaperone. As we entered the bathroom Rita casually turned to me and asked, "Hey, do you want to see who can hold their breath the longest".
The gauntlet was thrown down in my 6 year old heart. I'm just a wee bit competitive.
It's important to remember through the rest of this story that I won. Remember that.
Well one thing led to another and before I knew it, I passed out. Cold. On my way down I hit the mirror, the stainless steel sink, and then the tile floor. In my defense I didn't know that such a thing could happen to a person. It's not like Mrs. Hurlbut thought to pass on this information as I left the class with Rita the hooligan, "Now girls, don't hold your breath, it might cause you to pass out".
This is the part where my parents just shake their heads. I knocked most of my teeth out. Thankfully they were baby teeth. For many years I was very close friends with my dentist and orthodontist.
But I won, so I had that going for me.
Anyway, without teeth there isn't much you can eat. I became a huge fan of Campbells anything. Cream of Tomato, Chicken Noodle, Chicken and Rice, even split pea. I had a thermos in my lunch box that my mom filled with soup. For some reason I also remember her putting in a few pieces of Almond Roca toffee. I think she was trying to give me a treat but didn't fully think that one through.
Flash forward to now, I am still a soup fan but I lean more toward homemade soups. I make one or two pots of soup every Sunday to have on hand for lunches throughout the week.
One of my favorite soups is creamy broccoli soup from the Rebar Modern Food cookbook. I was first introduced to this soup by my friend Becky. If you make it, you simply must make the almond pesto as well. It elevates an ordinary broccoli soup to another level. And, if you're feeling a little naughty you could also serve the soup with some crumbled bacon and grated cheddar cheese.
I bet Rita would.
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Almond Pesto
Adapted from Rebar Modern Food
8 Cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
6 garlic cloves chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 ½ tsp dried
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground red pepper
1 large potato peeled and diced
4 heads of broccoli, stems peeled and broccoli chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves washed and dried
1 C half and half
½ tsp cracked black pepper
Heat oil in stock pot, add onion and sauté until wilted and lightly browned. Add garlic, salt, thyme, and ground red pepper. Sauté until garlic is lightly golden, do not burn the garlic. Stir in the broccoli, potato and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the broccoli and potato are very tender.
Puree the broccoli and broth in batches until smooth. If using a blender, remove the center of the lid as hot liquids will explode in a blender. Cover the hole in the lid with a clean dish cloth.
Reheat the puree and add the half and half. Season to taste with salt and pepper (last time I made this it needed an additional 1 tsp of salt)
½ bunch of Italian parsley stemmed and chopped
½ C toasted sliced almonds chopped finely
2 cloves garlic minced
½ C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare pesto, place olive oil in blender, add remaining ingredients on top of oil and process until combined well. The pesto should not be completely smooth but should also not be really chunky.
Serve soup with the almond pesto, grated Cheddar or Colby cheese, and diced crispy bacon.