French peasant soup, potage parmentier is simple and delicious.
The traditional recipe calls for leaks, but plain yellow onions work just as well.
Time for 2 servings: about 26 to 30 minutes. Recipe for 2 servings: gather together about 1/2 a potato and 1/2 a medium onion. You want to have about equal amts of potato and onions after you slice and dice them. Slice the onion into 1/8 inch thick rings. Peel and slice (or slice and peel) the potato into 1/4 inch think slices. (10 min) (Steam them both together in enough water to steam them, in a snug-coverd pot -- start w/ about 1/2 inch of water n the botton of a 2-quart sauce pan. Steam for about 12 minutes -- until the potato slices easily break apart with a fork. Boil most of the remaining water away. (12 min) Mash. (1 min)
While potatoes are cooking, in an electric blender, blend about 2 tablespoons of thawed frozen-sweet-corn kernals in abt 1/2 cup of water. Takes about 20 seconds to blend. Not nec to make it really smooth. (Kernals take abt 30 seconds to thaw -- heat in another pot, with a 1/4 cup of water).
Add pureed sweet corn to the mashed potato onion mixture. Also add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste, along with a tablespoon of plain olive oil (extra virgin is too strong-tasting for this dish), and some chopped cilantro or parsely (optional). Cilantro is preferable. Add a little more water, if needed, to bring soup to a nice consistency and adjust salt as you adjust water. Heat to boiling hot. Gently simmer about 15 seconds -- long enough to cook the black pepper and cilantro. (Time for this step -- adding the water, corn puree, and seasonings, bringing to boil, and simmering, estimated at 3 min)
Voila. That's it. Your basic soup is done. Now, if you're a French peasant, you just add some butter and cream from the family cow. OK, for la cuisine vegetaliene (spelling? Avalon?), we add almond puree instead. I honestly believe this has a more interesting flavor and character, in combination with the potato-leek or potato-onion soup, than butter or cream, or both, of any quality or quantity. Almonds of course are a good source of dietary oils, fats, that pose much less atherosclerosis risk than dairy fats. In fact, I've heard they may actually reduce one's propensity toward atheroshlerosis, as compared to simply leaving out this almond oil from one's diet.
The almond puree, like the corn puree, can be made while the potatoes and onions are cooking. Rinse out the residue of corn puree from the blender. To make almond puree blend one cup of blanched almonds in about 1.5 cups water -- for about 3 minutes, at fairly high speed, until the almonds have no discernable "pieces" left. Use unchlorinated water. Chlorinated water seems to react with something in almonds and make the puree taste distinctly different than if it was made with non-chlorinated water. 1 cup of almond is the smallest amout a typica blender jar will make. You will have more almond puree than you will need for the amount of soup you made from 1/2 a potato and 1/2 an onion. Suggestions for what to do with it -- later.
Ladle soup into soup bowls. Add about 2 tablespoons of the almond puree, to each bowl, swirling it over the surface, and sort of mixing it in just a little, mixing it in partially, swirling it around a bit. "Marble" your soup with the almond puree. Or just drop a dollop onto the soup, somewhere. Use your visual artistry here.
Diners may want to mix the almond puree more or less thoroughly, as they prefer. Or you may serve the almond puree separately and let diners decide how much to add, as well as how thoroughly to mix it in. There is something to be said for never mixing it in thoroughly, and having a contrast of temperatures, as well as flavors, between the hot potato-onion soup and the partially mixed-in almond puree. The orig French traditional recipe (I adapted this from a Julia Child recipe, who claimed it was a traditional french peasant food, and that they sopped up the bottom of their plates with chunks of bread) calls for adding butter and cream instead of almond milk.
I also make split-pea-barley-white-bean soup. I keep frozen blocks of it on hand. Plus I have a third soup which calls for combining the split-pea-barley-bean soup with the potato-onion soup, and leaving out the almond puree and using sesame oil instead of olive oil and adding a dash or 3 of Tobasco sauce -- not enough to make heat!
I never saute anything, fry anything, or cook in plain oil, in any way, except perhaps for brushing a light film of oil on some things that I bake. At least -- not for my own consumption, in quantity. I think heating oil in the bottom of a pan, directly over a flame or burner, is just a nutritionaly bad idea. Oil gets very hot. Water won't get any hotter than 212 degrees F, it's boiling point. Any hotter -- and it isn't in the bottom of the pot any more -- it turns into a gas. So cooking in water prevents your food from getting much hotter than 212 degrees. Oil, however, will rapidly go to 400 degrees, and food sitting in it will get that hot too -- a bad idea i think. I don't see any flavor advantage, either.
Note that this is a fairly high-protein meal. Yea, it is kind of a whole meal if you serve it with a chunk of bread, or bread and soilmans-sesame-spread, and maybe a small green salad, or a small separate serving of simple steamed vegetable, with olive oil and salt. 5 or 6 asparagas spears maybe, perhaps with a little bit of soilmanssesametahini dressing instead of plain oil and salt. The potatoes have a goodly amount of protein, and the almonds are rather high in protein. The corn has a little protein.