Early this week I found myself thinking about the Onion Squash I had at home, plotting my return home to roast, puree and doctor it up into a nice soup. Well, I did, but I put too much salt in and true to my trade called it an opportunity rather than a failure. The addition of cream and water and a couple of cooked potatoes and the squash flavor re-emerged from hiding under the thick layer of salt. And it was scrumpy. But having this much soup to eat with not a lick of space in my freezer meant a lot of repetition.
I decided to take a page from a fashionable gal in NY who is doing what is called The Uniform Project, and to use the soup as a base for many other things I would make and float on top.
Day 1 was the original meal I had planned. A dear old friend, Anne, was coming to dinner and I needed something easy that I could assemble while I bounced the toddler on my knee (well, practically). So I slow roasted some pork belly slices in apple cider and then cooked up some kale and chard in the juices. Ramekin formed bed of greens, pork belly slices on top and soup as a moat. Voila! Impressive meal. And easy.
Day 2 A semi impromptu lunch with brand new expat Kelly. And it was conveniently on the day our fishmonger comes. One a tiny amount of chopping and a dirty mixing bowl later and we had crab cakes on top of the squash soup. The only repetition was the soup and only for me, so what did I care? I love seconds, even if they are 16 hours apart.
Day 3 A pre-planned lunch with neighbor Yuriko who is also a fish lover so I made Hot Smoked Salmon cakes abundant with herbs and did a little fine oil drizzle. This was by far the best presentation.
Who says a girl can't get clever with her soup? Truth be told, I'm glad I'm not having the soup again tonight or tomorrow or for a while. It's all been used up. But I'm terribly proud of my craftiness at making all three dishes. I may not be cooking for a living anymore, but I think I haven't yet lost my chops.