My husband loves to cook, and I’ll admit he’s pretty good t it. His white chicken chili will put a smile on your face. However, like all cooks he has his disasters. Now when the wife cooks, you eat the food and say something like…”That was interesting dear, but really not my favorite.” OK, she gets the picture. However, never, never, say that to your male cook. His artistic talents would be hugely insulted. So, you muddle through guacamole with peanut butter, cod swimming in skim milk, and other novelties. When asked what you think, you say something like, “That was a real creation with a unique taste.” You may get it again, but it beats days of silence, or…”Well if you feel that way I’m never cooking again.” (Which may be a good thing.)
Now Leo Worthington Stanton, a fictional character in Contact Creede, and Take the Train to Tucson (out June 2014), doesn’t have a cook problem. She has Maria, a feisty, commando-type Mexican woman who cooks heavenly French gourmet food at the Crooked Button Ranch.
For those of you who want to add a bit of classic French flare to your cooking, be you male or female, here is a simple receipt for a favorite soup filled with good vegetables. It will bring complements, not vague comments.
French Vegetable Soup
This vegetable soup is a favorite of Marie’s. It is easy and nourishing. In France, this is served to all ages, including babies. This keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, in fact its flavor improves as it sits. You can also serve this soup cold.
3 cups chicken broth
As much water as needed
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 medium size carrots, cut in chunks
½ onion (optional) you can substitute 1 leek
1 cup cut green beans
1 tomato quartered
1 cup of a green leafy vegetable of your choice, cut in chunks for easy blending.
Rounds of toasted French bread
Grated Parmesan cheese (or slices of a soft melting cheese)
Place all vegetables in large pot, cover with liquid, and bring to a boil. Simmer until vegetables are cooked. Puree in blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For hot soup, reheat to serve. Add either a shot of sherry or ¼ cup of milk or cream to mixture, stir well, and serve. Before serving, place a slice of toasted bread covered in grated cheese. Bon appetite.
Serves 4 – 6