Tuesday, October 7, 2008

End-of-Season Garden Soup

The garden is closing itself down, I'm afraid. The sunflowers, once boasting heights of 12 feet, have toppled, or are listing, and victims to the crows. There are tomatoes, but many are only half-ripened, and the vines are starting to shrivel. And the squash are calling it quits. There will be no more growth on the butternut, or the acorn, or the spaghetti squash.
So we're harvesting. We found a few beautiful zucchinis, a bucketful of greenish-red tomatoes, fistfuls of fennel seeds, a few perfect banana peppers, and some bright green herbs.
The herbs are my favorite, I must admit, and so I was glad when we decided that the perfect dinner would be an end-of-season garden soup, heavy on the basil and cilantro.

Here is the recipe. If there were a taste for green, this soup would be it.

End-of-Season Garden soup:

1 cup fresh basil and cilantro
1 package fresh rice noodles
1 cup half-ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cups carrots (baby carrots or carrot slices)
1 small zucchini, julienned
4 medium banana peppers, chopped into rounds
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 avocado, chopped into 1-inch dice

Chop the vegetables and the herbs. Divide herbs in half, setting one half aside for the finish.
Heat the broth, water, vinegar, sugar and salt until simmering. Add the vegetables and the first half of the herbs, cook for 15 minutes. Add the noodles and cook at a low boil for 10 more minutes, or until the noodles are soft.

When the noodles are done, the broth is finished. I like to serve the soup in bowls that are filled with the avocado slices and extra chopped herbs. If you can wait, this soup is even better the next day, as the flavors have a chance to blend...

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