Reader: I have married a man who is 98% averse to my cooking. He has many things to say about this, but the bottom line is: he won't eat it. I tried cooking to his tastes, but that run from one end of the 7-11 aisles to the other. And there they end. Refried beans in a can? Yes. White corn chips? Yes. Homemade salsa? Yes I'll give a bit of credit here, he does make a pretty good salsa. But a family cannot live on salsa alone. Vanilla ice cream? Yes. Lemonade? Yes.
I am not sure where this diet came from and I'm not certain that I need to find out. Our children don't do much better. He brings home white bread from the store and they go crazy for it. I slather it with butter and hope for the best. All I know is that I cook and hope that at least one other person (than myself) will eat it.
Tonight I did well. Very well, indeed. I served Asparagus and Pancetta soup with Black Pepper and Rice. AND THEY ATE IT!! THEY ATE ALL OF IT!!! I'm still in shock. Before I pass out from crazy amazement, I'll share this S&P award winning family recipe with you.
Asparagus and Rice soup with Pancetta and Black Pepper
– serves 4 – from The
Zuni Cafe Cookbook
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onions
1/4 cup white rice *I used brown rice*And they still ate it!!
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
8 ounces trimmed asparagus (woody ends snapped off)
3 to 4 ounces pancetta, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper
1. In a heavy 4 quart saucepan, heat half the oil (2
tablespoons) over medium heat, then add the onions and sweat gently for
about ten minutes until translucent but not browned, stirring
2. In the meantime, dice the pancetta and slice the
asparagus on an angle into 1/8-inch slices. Don't worry too much about
uniform width, since the resulting unevenness in cooking will add
pleasing textural differences.
3. Add the rice, stock, and water to the onions,
then bring to a simmer and cook, covered tightly, until the rice is
tender, 15-20 minutes depending upon the type of rice used.
4. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining 2
tablespoons oil over medium-high heat, then add the asparagus slivers
and pancetta and stir to coat. Cook untouched until the edges begin to
color, then stir and cook again, untouched, repeating the process until
everything has nice color and has shrunk by about 1/3.
5. Add the pancetta/asparagus mixture to the soup,
along with incredible amounts of black pepper. Boil for 1 minute and
serve with crusty bread.
**I also topped the girls' soup with a nice sharp cheese, grated and about a 1/2 T. of butter. Viola! They loved it. I'm clearly in awe.