Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer soup for the Harvest Moon

Tonight we were treated to a once-in-three-decades event: a full moon on night of the Autumn Equinox. Every year, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the equinox, but this year "closest" means "five and a half hours" rather than "ten days".

We began by making a hearty whole-wheat bread. Combine three cups whole wheat flour, one tablespoon wheat gluten, two teaspoons salt, and one tablespoon yeast. Also mix in one cup cooked wheat berries. Our flour and berries are from the always excellent Massa Organics, and after tonight's bread, we need to buy more of both. Then slowly add about one and a half cups water, mixing while you go. Knead a little bit and let the dough sit for a few hours. Bake the bread for about fifty minutes if you make it all into just one loaf, and let cool ten to twenty minutes before slicing.

Our soup was really more of a vegetable stew. Begin by sauteing half a red onion and some garlic in salted olive oil. Then add two bunches turnips, thinly sliced, and three quarters cup wine and six cups water, and adjust the salt. Bring to a boil and add one cup dried French green lentils. The lentils should cook a total of about thirty minutes, so take a short break and do dishes.

In a separate fry-pan or wok, heat some olive oil into which you have ground some black pepper. When the oil is hot, fry about half a pound thinly-sliced summer squash. Add the squash to the soup.

Also add the corn cut off of two or three ears, and one bunch greens (some quick-cooking kind: red chard, which is what we used, is particularly pretty; alternately, use the greens from the turnips if they are still fresh). Cook about ten minutes while you finish setting the table. Right before serving the soup, stir in two very fresh heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges.

Serve the soup with the whole-wheat bread, butter for the bread, grated grana padamo for the soup, and a chilled white wine.

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