Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Comfort me with apples: garlic soup and gruyere croutons

What with one thing and another I have missed a couple of rounds of Cook the Books Club - I don't enjoy Annie Proulx's books so I skipped That Old Ace In The Hole, and I read Sustenance and Desire but didn't find it at all motivating to cook. Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me With Apples got me back in the saddle.

Funny, warm, occasionally devastating and moving, it's part of Reichl's memoir, charting her rise from Berkley co-op restaurant cook and commune dweller to respected restaurant critic. It's an impressive accomplishment in a memoir: at times she manages to portray herself as unlikeable but it doesn't come across as false modesty.

Unusually for one of the Cook the Books Club challenges, I had no trouble at all deciding what to cook. Among the many delicious-sounding meals she describes, Alice Waters' famous garlic dinners stand out.

The mention of garlic soup reminded me of the delicious, pungently wine-flavoured garlic soup we'd had in Switzerland, back in 2007 when I was but a baby blogger. I've tried a couple of different versions but I've never quite nailed the combination of fresh-tasting but cooked garlic and dry wine that I remember.

This time I tried a version from one of my favourite defunct food blogs, FX Cuisine. Such a great blog but no activity since 2009. Anyway, in his version you roast the garlic with quite a lot of oil, then use that garlic and oil to make a roux before adding stock to make the soup. He also adds noodles to it. I used some dry white wine as well as the chicken stock, and used sourdough olive bread croutes (nothing says "San Francisco" to me like sourdough!) smothered with gruyere cheese to make it substantial enough to be a meal.

It was completely delicious, but still nothing like the one we had in Wengen.
SouperSundays I'm also sending this over to Deb for Souper (Soup, salad and sammie) Sunday.

16 comments:

Joanne said...

I've been meaning to check out Reichl's book...glad to hear it's a worthy read! And the soup looks lovely...pairing apples and gruyere together is always a good idea.

grace said...

i will never not salivate at the sight of gooey melted cheese. yum.

Kavey said...

Looks fabulous. I really liked the book of hers I read, garlic and sapphires. Shall add this to my list. And yes, such a shame about fx cuisine, I used to read it too.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Glad to see you back in the saddle for this round! ;-) LOVE this soup--it perfectly captures both the Ruth and Alice vibe. (And having to make garlic soups until you find one like the one you had in Switzerland doesn't sound like a bad undertaking to me!) Mmm... ;-)

Let me know if you want me to add it to this week's Souper Sundays roundup too.

Deb in Hawaii said...

And, I neglected to mention how fabulous those Gruyere croutes look too!

Rachel said...

I love that garlic soup. Haven't made any garlic soup in a while so that sounds just the ticket.

Your comment about Reichl portraying herself in less than a wonderful light is interesting. I found her story interesting but agree that she herself is someone I wouldn't want to hang around much, even if she had lots of freebie fine dining experiences to share.

Kelsey said...

absolutely fantastic!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I remember FX cuisine! That was the first food blog I ever fell in love with. He is so incredibly dedicated to making exquisite food.

Barbara said...

Haven't read the book yet...have it on my list though. Pleased to hear you enjoyed it.
Garlic soup is something I've never tried, but your photo makes it look so delicious I have to try it. Love that combo!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Joanne - it's great! I want to read all her others now.

Grace - oh I know. Best foodstuff in the world.

Kavey - fx was so good and then... nothing.

Deb - yes please!

Rachel - more garlic soup has to be a good thing.

Kelsey - thank you!

Leaf - and he had such lovely photographs without it being contrived.

Barbara - the soup is good! And the book is better.

Tina said...

Roasted garlic is amazing, isn't it❤️ Actually love all forms of garlic in recipes, so delicious. Wow, your soup looks great but those croutons are wonderful!

Wendy Klik said...

Welcome back....I have never had garlic soup and your version looks lovely.

Delaware Girl Eats said...

Well I often cook with garlic, and gruyere cheese is among my favorites, so a winner here! cathy from Delaware Girl Eats

Claudia said...

I did wonder what happened to that FX Cuisine guy. And don't believe I've ever made a garlic soup. What a great food goal - to find the one as good as the Swiss soup you remember. Don't give up!

Amy CookingAdventures said...

This sounds completely amazing! I love garlic, so garlic soup sounds heavenly!!

Simona Carini said...

An intriguing recipe. I was reminded that it was in Berkeley, not too far from where Reichl used to live, that I saw a whole head of roasted garlic for the first time in my life.

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