Never is a dining table bare in our house. To see an empty surface is one of those things that makes me feel out of sync. Yep, that’s an idiosyncrasy, but we all have them…..at least I hope that’s true!
Walking in the Houston house after being absent for several months, the first thing I noticed was a table that had passed its season. Before I unpacked my suitcase, I got to work on the table replacing the warmer weather runner with a embroidered one that speaks more of nippy fall days which Houston is actually having.
Placemats turned lengthwise to drape off the round table complete the linens.
A few pumpkins and paper turkeys from Michaels and this table is ready for dinner with friends in a couple of days.
Typically, these dishes don’t see the light of day until Thanksgiving day, but I’m cheating a little because the bowls are just the right size for the soup I’m thinking of making.
A salad plate, green Fostoria glasses, silverware, a napkin and all is done in a flash once again proving that every day tablescapes are nothing but easy. Oh, those clementines? Our friends are off sugar so they will be dessert, not a great replacement for a caramel/rum glazed spice cake or apple dapple cake!
Not only are they off sugar, this couple is vegetarian. Luckily, there are lots of good soups to satisfy that dietary need, and I’ll share one of my favorites from a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.
Creamy Potato Kale Soup
1 c. finely chopped onions
2/3 c. finely chopped leeks
1/2 t. salt
1 T. canola or vegetable oil
4 c. vegetable stock
4 c. coarsely chopped potatoes
1/4 t. fennel, seeds or ground
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
2 T. while wine
1/2 t. dried dill
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 T. minced scallions
1 1/2 T. fined fresh basil
1/2 c. milk or half and half
4 c. loosely packed shredded kale
salt and pepper to taste, a squeeze of lemon if desired.
In a large soup pot, saute onions, leeks and salt in the oil on low heat until tender. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, fennel, celery, wine and dill. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Puree the soup until smooth. (This is where a handheld immersion blender comes in very handy.) Stir in mustard, scallions, basil, milk.
In a separate pot, gently boil kale in just enough water to cover. When it is barely tender, drain and stir into the soup. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice if desired and gently heat until all is hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
When I make this soup, I always hope for leftovers because it’s mighty good the next day for lunch. Should you want to modify if for meat eaters, all you have to do is add slices of Polish sausage.
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